By Phil Steele
SUPER BOWL XLVII
6:30 pm • CBS • Mercedes-Benz Superdome • New Orleans, LA
The dominant theme for this year’s Super Bowl has been about family, with the brothers Jim and John Harbaugh facing off. Last year, both teams advanced to their respective championships only to lose in heartbreaking fashion. This will be only the 3rd time since 1970 that both road teams won their championship games. Both teams also made bold moves on the offensive sides of the ball which broke tendencies that opposing DC’s were unable to decipher. Kaepernick’s mobility and arm strength made the 49ers more aggressive while installing Jim Caldwell as OC had the Ravens use a more up-tempo style of play calling. Both teams represent more of the old school style of the NFL emphasizing a power run game that is backed by brutal defensive play. However, both coaches aren’t afraid to innovate with SF using the Pistol offense and Baltimore having 72 plays of 20+ yards on offense. The 49ers success the last two years has seen a shift towards younger front offices (CEO Jed York is only 32, GM Trent Baalke 46), mobile QB’s, and teams that are open to the concept of bringing in hot college coaching prospects (Chip Kelly/Doug Marrone) or young coordinators. This game also features QB’s from non-marquee schools with Kaepernick from Nevada and Flacco hailing from Delaware. With a win, San Francisco would be the 5th city to win the World Series and the Super Bowl in the same sports season. The bye week will be a huge benefit for both defenses as San Fran has one of the older 3-4 DL’s and Baltimore is one of the oldest teams in the NFL overall. The media has been all over Ray Lewis’ final game much like they were with Jerome Bettis. The Ravens also have Matt Birk, who has been one of the top tier centers in his career, along with FS Ed Reed whose contract expires, in what could be their final games as Ravens as well. The 49ers will be putting their perfect 5-0 Super Bowl record on the line while the Ravens will be compared to their 2000 season built around one of the best defenses in the modern era.