People, this is our final What to Know post of the season. Super Bowl Weekend has almost arrived, and with the joy comes the sorrow: this is the end of football for the next 6 months. (This blog, however, will remain active throughout the entire off-season. More details on that next week!)
However, there is a time to mourn, and a time to dance. And this weekend? We be dancin’, Mardi Gras style in New Orleans. Because it’s the BEST weekend of the whole year!!!
Here’s what you need to know about Super Bowl 47:
What to Know from History: These two teams have met before, and fairly recently: the first Harbowl was played two Thanksgivings ago, a 2011 game that the Ravens won. While there are plenty of lessons that can be learned from that game in anticipation of Sunday (a fairly sturdy one: expect more defense than offense), both teams are markedly different than when they met a year and a half ago. The Ravens have a new offensive coordinator (Jim Caldwell); the 49ers, a new offensive leader (Colin Kaepernick).
One piece of history that can’t be overlooked is the 49ers Super Bowl record: 5 wins, 0 losses. That’s a pretty impressive streak. The Ravens don’t have an L in their Super Bowl column, either. But they do have 4 less W’s. So, there’s that. But still, winning one Super Bowl > losing one Super Bowl > not even making it to the Super Bowl.
Another piece of history to note: a No. 2 Seed has double the chance of winning than a No.4 Seed does. Since 1975, eight No. 2 Seeds have gone on to win the Super Bowl – four No. 4 Seeds have won.
The Niners were the 2 Seed this year.
What to Know on Sunday: Colin Kaepernick will be making his 10th career start on Sunday. That’s insane. He doesn’t seem to scare easy (even though he seemed more than a little out of sync in the first half of the NFC Championship game) and he’s far from flying blind. Head coach Jim Harbaugh said this week that former starting QB Alex Smith, who was benched in favor of Kaepernick while playing the best football of his career, has been coaching Colin more than he has as a head coach.
That’s the epitome of character.
So Kaepernick doesn’t appear to be coming apart at the seams. The Ravens, on the other hand, might be fraying a bit. The Ray Lewis Deer Antler Scandal is one of the most mind boggling attempts at controversy in recent memory, but it’s a distraction nonetheless. (And just as an aside – is 2013 going to be the year of ridiculous animal-based sports stories? Catfishing? Deer Antler Spray? WHAT?) That might have been a passing storm, but Ed Reed’s comments yesterday about wanting to play for rival coach Bill Belichick might be the rumbles of an oncoming earthquake. It’s not that the Ravens are hopelessly derailed and doomed for failure. Not at all. But what’s preferable: trying not to be distracted by controversies, or not having any controversies to be distracted by in the first place?
But those are off the field issues fueled by the irrational level of hype surrounding Super Bowl Week. On the field? At this point in the season it’s pointless to talk about injuries: everyone is playing hurt. Justin Smith doesn’t seem to have been terribly hindered by the triceps that is only half as attached to the rest of his body as it used to be; ditto: Ray Lewis.
There are compelling arguments for how the teams match up and which players need to play best for each team to gain an advantage. I agree with Ben Muth’s thoughts about Michael Oher – he needs to have a great game for the Ravens running game to be successful. I also agree that for the Niners to win, their DB’s need to execute their complex schemes effectively to make it harder for Joe Flacco to throw and complete his signature deep bombs. If it comes down to a kick? Advantage: Ravens. David Aker’s 2012 success rate: 69%. Ravens rookie Justin Tucker: 91%.
I love reading about how teams match up against each other, but it usually comes down to this: the team that comes in most prepared and executes to the best of their ability wins the game. No matter how the teams match up on paper.
Who are you guys rooting for? I’ll be cheering on the Ravens, but I know that plenty of San Fran lovin’ friends who will be overjoyed if the Niners come out on top, so that would be fun too.
No matter who we want to win, I think we can all agree that Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, parents of Jim and John, are just about the best thing to happen to Super Bowl Week since…Super Bowl Week. They’ve been a light in a dark tunnel of media craziness. This transcript of their media day interview is absolutely worth a read, but at the very least, be sure to watch this video.
Ok, guys! I think that about covers it. I hope you feel ready to go! Enjoy Super Bowl Weekend!!!