January 23, 2013 by ussportsfanuk
The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens both booked their places for Super Bowl XLVII last weekend with impressive comeback victories on the road. For both teams, their Head Coaches and certain players, it was just the penultimate chapter of their stories. For some it is the story of the season, for others the story of their careers.
Looking at the teams stories through the season, there appeared to be similarities. Both were obviously good teams, but were maybe under appreciated and, as a result, kind of went unnoticed by many. Certainly as the playoffs approached not many were talking about the 49ers as the Seattle Seahawks went on an impressive run, and the Ravens seemed to be stumbling towards the playoffs and were being written off. Both teams have raised their game in the playoffs though, have looked impressive, especially the Ravens after winning on the road at the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, and definitely deserve to be competing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
There is the story of the two Head Coaches, brothers John and Jim Harbaugh. This already has, and will continue, to generate further interest in the game being the first Super Bowl where two brothers will competing from the sidelines. It is also worth noting that both have suffered disappointment before in Conference Championship games, including Jim as a player, so this adds to the storyline as they both finally reach their first Super Bowl.
There are the players stories. The two opposing QB’s Joe Flacco of the Ravens and Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers have differing stories in their paths to their first Super Bowls. Flacco for years was considered a solid QB who always seemed to be given the job of doing enough on offense and letting the D win the Ravens games. This season, especially in the playoffs where he has been excellent, Flacco has been less constrained and played like an elite QB, completing a number of key passes including downfield and leading a late game tying drive against the Broncos. On the other team, Kaepernick came in for his first ever start part way through the season in what some considered a controversial move when Alex Smith was benched. He played amazingly on Monday Night Football and has not looked back. Not only can he throw with accuracy and power, he is a major threat when running the football, as the Packers found out in the Divisional Playoffs. That performance, and his calm play leading the 49ers back against the Atlanta Falcons, have added to his incredible story this season and silenced any doubters that he may not be able to perform under pressure in the playoffs.
The other players stories are those of two of the biggest names in the game. Playing in his second Super Bowl is WR Randy Moss of the 49ers. Moss has always been a controversial figure wherever he has played but it is clear that, at times and some would argue when he felt like it, he was unplayable. He has managed to put up some staggering numbers in his career but has not won a Super Bowl, many thinking this could be his last chance to do so. Also playing in his second Super Bowl is Ravens LB Ray Lewis, who is of course retiring after the Super Bowl. Lewis, unlike Moss, won his previous appearance and was of course named MVP in Super Bowl XXXV. It would be fair to say that Lewis’ announcement, as well as Lewis himself, has probably helped inspire the Ravens to perform as well as they have as they try to send off one of the greatest, if not the greatest LB ever, with another Super Bowl ring.
Those are the storylines that will dominate the build up to Super Bowl XLVII and the game itself. One more storyline that must be mentioned though is the location of the Super Bowl, New Orleans. This will be the first Super Bowl to be held in the Super Dome since the city and surrounding area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. It’s great that the city is able to host the Super Bowl again and hopefully this will be another step in the recovery of the area after the terrible events of 2005.
Which Harbaugh will win? Which QB will continue their impressive playoff run? Which of the big name stars will walk away a winner? We’ll have to wait until the Super Bowl for the final chapters to be written.