For football fans, the Super Bowl represents the biggest game of the entire year. On Feb. 3, millions of pigskin fans will be watching the final showdown featuring the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
Many have already started to nickname Super Bowl XLVII the “Harbaugh Bowl” or the “HarBowl” or “Bro Bowl” because of the two opposing head coaches: Jim (49ers) and John (Ravens) Harbaugh. This is the first time that two head-coaching brothers will face off against each other in Super Bowl history.
If there’s any story bigger than that going into the game, it is Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis playing his final NFL game. Lewis announced earlier this season that 2013 would be his last year on the field. It is the opinion of this writer that he is one of the best players to play the game at his position.
Lewis was the 26th overall draft pick out of the University of Miami (Fla.) by the Ravens in 1996 and has spent his entire career with the team. Over his 17-year career, Lewis has been in 13 Pro Bowls, the only player to have at least 40 sacks and 30 interceptions, won and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 and was named to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 2000s.
Even though he was convicted of murder following a Super Bowl party in 2000 and pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice, many still see him as a huge inspiration and a great idol.
Since these events, Lewis has been heavily active in charities, opened up a barbecue restaurant in Baltimore, Md., and was given the Act of Kindness award in 2006 for his contributions to his community.
On the offensive side, Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco has been earning some recognition as a very good playoff quarterback throughout his career. Eight of his ten playoff wins have come on the road. He’s no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but some NFL analysts are starting to put him in the category of “elite” quarterbacks. This postseason, he’s thrown for 853 yards, eight TDs and no interceptions.
While the 49ers are being led by remarkable young quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who will make his 10th start this year after jumping ahead of Alex Smith on the depth chart. In the postseason, Kaepernick has thrown for 496 yards, three TDs and one interception, while running for 202 yards and getting a pair of rushing TDs.
Both teams have stellar running backs in Ray Rice (Ravens) and Frank Gore (49ers), big time receivers in Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith for Baltimore and Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree for San Francisco. Both teams also have stellar defenses. Both are filled with hard-hitting playmakers, so it’ll be interesting to see which team starts to fatigue first and which will be the most durable through four quarters.
So if you haven’t already, start making plans for this big Super Bowl Sunday. Call your friends, get the party subs, grab some drinks and enjoy a fantastic finish to this football season.
(Editor’s Note: The Eastern Echo does not advocate underage drinking, and if you are going to drink, please do not drive.)