Two weeks from today, my favorite NFL team, the San Francisco Forty-Niners, will meet the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. Both teams had an interesting road to New Orleans.
The 49ers finished last season one game short of the Super Bowl, so this year promised great things. They began well, but QB Alex Smith was injured during the November 11 game against the Rams. Would University of Nevada grad Colin Kaepernick, in his second year in the NFL, be able to continue the Niners winning trend? Kaepernick impressed right away. And after being named starting QB, his confidence increaased. Other players seemed invigorated by Kaepernick and the team looked stronger each week.
Kaepernick has faltered slightly at the beginning of each playoff game. But that was only until he learned the rhythm of the opposition. After that there was little stopping him. In last weekend’s playoff against Green Bay, Kap set an all-time NFL QB rushing record. Last week he was on the cover of “Sports Illustrated.” Today the Atlanta Falcons neutralized Kap’s running game, but his passing and Frank Gore’s rushing secured the Super Bowl berth for San Francisco.
Baltimore is the playoffs’ Cinderella team. No one expected them to beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos eight days ago, but the Ravens pulled off a last minute victory. The odds were against them again in today’s match-up against the New England Patriots, and that prediction seemed the likely outcome given the score at halftime. But the Ravens were on fire in the second half (or the Patriots were tired?) and scored three unanswered TDs, guaranteeing Baltimore a trip to New Orleans.
Before the Ravens-Patriots game, I was hoping for a Baltimore win, thinking that would make a Niners’ Super Bowl win more likely. But the Ravens have stunned two teams, and looked much stronger this week, so I’ve changed my mind. A number of recent Super Bowls were blow-outs, but I’m expecting this one to be as closely contested as most of this season’s playoffs.
We’ll see a strong team led by a relatively inexperienced QB facing a team that is on an emotional high and is hitting its physical peak. Just to add to the fun, the two head coaches are brothers! Older sibling, John Harbaugh has led the fairytale flight of the Ravens. Jim Harbaugh, like his pick for QB, is in his second season with the Niners. Super Bowl XLVII should have something to interest any viewer, whether you watch for the game itself, to cheer for the underdog, or for the fun and trivia.