Super Bowl XLVII will take place between the Baltimore Ravens of the AFC and the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers on February 3, held once again at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Call it the Har-Bowl, the battle of the undefeated (neither team has a Super Bowl loss), or the geriatric bowl with senior citizens Ray Lewis and Randy Moss on opposite sides of the ball, but the matchups and story lines are very intriguing to say the least. Two stingy defenses and two offenses capable of big plays and quick strikes will be on hand, and the first ever brother versus brother head coaching matchup in Super Bowl history will take place.
San Francisco’s head coach Jim Harbaugh hopes to dominate his younger brother John who is coaching the Ravens, and a couple of impressive statistics show both brothers as deserving participants in this year’s Super Bowl. Amazingly enough, neither Jim nor John has missed the playoffs as a head coach, but neither one has won a Super Bowl either. Both are fiery competitors who have the respect of their players, and both teams have looked good thus far in the NFL playoffs. Both Baltimore and San Francisco scored 28 points apiece to win their respective conference championships, but with two stout defenses going head-to-head, will the high-scoring playoff trend continue?
And while you probably know that eventual Hall of Famer Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis will step down after this game, win or lose, you may not know that his counterpart for San Francisco is one of the biggest Ray Lewis fans on the planet. Patrick Willis wears number 52 in honor of the bad boy Ravens linebacker, and he can cover the entire field defensively the way Ray Ray did as a younger man. Having not played since October 14, Sugar Ray has been fresh in the playoffs, compiling 44 combined tackles in the three Ravens playoff wins. Not to be outdone, Willis had a team-high 12 tackles in the 49ers NFC championship win in Atlanta.
As far as quarterbacks go, Joe Flacco’s regular-season woes seem to disappear come playoff time. Super Bowl betting lines have quarterbacks Flacco and Kaepernick as early leaders to take home the MVP trophy in the 2013 Super Bowl, but Flacco has infinitely more playoff experience. In the AFC championship game, Flacco helped Baltimore beat New England at home for the first time in 68 regular and postseason games when the Patriots were winning at halftime. Flacco also has 8 touchdown passes versus 0 interceptions in this year’s NFL playoffs.
And although the toughness and experience of the Baltimore defense is not questioned, you have to think that San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Frank Gore cannot wait to get at a Baltimore defense that is allowing 128.3 yards rushing per game in the playoffs. But San Francisco’s defense is hardly a picture of perfection. No doubt they have one of the NFL’s best defensive units, but the Niners have only tallied 2 sacks this postseason, and that is going to have to change if the red-hot Joe Flacco is going to be contained. Drama and interesting story lines abound in this year’s Super Bowl matchup, and come February 3, we are destined to be presented with a memorable Super Bowl contest.