What to look forward to in Super Bowl XLVII
Super Bowl XLVII Much More Than Just a Battle of Brothers
John Harbaugh, meet your brother Jim. Jim Harbaugh, say hello to your brother John. All right, that's it. Enough talk of the Harbaughs for now.
I'm really dreading the next two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, one that pairs up the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens with the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. For one, that nuisance of a game known as the "Pro Bowl" serves as the only source of professional football in that span. Secondly, if you have yet to grow weary over talk of the "HarBowl" or "SuperBaugh," then you soon will.
Honestly, national news outlets, isn't there anything else you can focus on besides the two whiny, bad-tempered sons of Jack and Jackie going at it? Come on, these guys cry and complain more on the field than Philip Rivers.
The 47th Super Bowl is better than that, you see. Many other storylines deserve the limelight than the Harbaugh brothers are currently basking in.
How could you not begin with the one, the only, Ray Lewis? We may never know the full extent of what happened the night of Lewis' first Super Bowl appearance, but what we do know is that Lewis has been the best linebacker and one of the most endearing figures in the NFL over the last couple of decades. Sadly, it seems as if Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons is finally hanging up the cleats after 16 glorious seasons. The same cannot be said for another grizzly veteran in Lewis, who is just as fiery and passionate about the game now as he was at the "U." Lewis quickly rebounded from tearing his triceps in October and has led the Ravens in tackles in every playoff game this year. How cool is it that No. 52's last hoorah will take place on the sport's biggest stage, at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans? A lot cooler than hearing about the Harbaughs meeting for jambalaya and po-boys, I can tell you that.
Staying with the Ravens, how about the pride of the Delaware Blue Hens, Joey Flacco? Flacco became a punch line of sorts when, during an offseason radio appearance, he proclaimed himself as the best quarterback in the league. Now, if Flacco truly is the best signal caller in the NFL, then Lennay Kekua might just be the most beautiful girl that anyone has ever met. Still, all Flacco has done is silence the critics since his big proclamation. In the playoffs, he has been nothing short of spectacular. On Sunday at New England, Flacco made fools out of Patriot defenders like Marquise Cole and Devin McCourty. The road warrior's 240-yard, 3-touchdown gem once again outshined the great Tom Brady, and it's becoming more and more obvious by the week that Flacco is a top-5 thrower in the NFL. But calling him the best at what he does? Win a ring, Joe, then maybe we'll talk.
I recognize that Jim Harbaugh is probably throwing a hissy fit that his 49ers have barely been mentioned yet, so allow me to give San Francisco some love. The 49ers are another team rich with storylines, none of them more appealing than the controversial midseason quarterback switch. Out went the concussed Alex Smith, in came the tatted-up and run-first (or so we thought) Colin Kaepernick. I continue to feel sorry for Smith, who really did nothing wrong to lose his starting spot, butKaepernick has proven to be a dual-threat nightmare for opposing defenses and has made his coach look like nothing short of a genius in the process. On the road in the NFC Championship, San Fran quickly fell down 17-0 against the Falcons. The way Kaepernick kept his cool, you would have thought this guy has played 10 seasons. Instead, the Super Bowl will be just his tenth career start.
Another thing to keep a close eye on in the Super Bowl is the reemergence of a couple San Francisco playmakers. Running back LaMichael James, who has benefited from Brandon Jacobs being Brandon Jacobs and Kendall Hunter being hurt, rushed for 34 yards and a score in the win over Atlanta. James's explosive speed and quickness also make him dangerous in the return game and, unlike Kyle Williams, James prefers hanging on to the football in big games.
Vernon Davis had a nice coming-out party of his own against the Falcons after being a total non-factor in the early stages of the Kaepernick Era. Dating back to a November matchup with the Saints, Davis went through a seven-game stretch of being targeted just 15 times while catching seven passes. Heck, even Manti Te'o himself was beginning to question whether or not Davis was a hoax. Kaepernick found him early and often in the NFC Championship, however, as the two connected for 106 yards and a touchdown. Davis will undoubtedly be an X-factor against the Ravens, and his performance may dictate which Harbaugh gets to show off the Lombardi trophy at family parties.
Super Bowl XLVII provides us with an abundance of fascinating storylines aside from the Harbaugh brothers, and for that we should all be grateful. The game itself has all the makings of a classic, from two red-hot quarterbacks to two really solid defenses that get after it. Hopefully, we get to see Katherine Webb in some commercials and, if we're really lucky, we'll be able to watch Brent Musburger's reaction to those commercials.
As for my predictions? I have three for you: the Baltimore Ravens will win. Joe Flacco or Ray Lewis will be names MVP. And Ray Lewis will not be wearing an all-white suit after the game.
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