Super Bowl XLVII
By Andrew Fish Fain
Back in 2003 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the Oakland Raiders 48-21, that was the last time the game wasn’t competitive. Since then, we have been treated to some of the most thrilling and awe inspiring games and plays in Super Bowl history.
Who could forget David Tyree’s amazing helmet catch? Or Santonio Holmes keeping both feet barely in bounds for the game winning score? Or even the ballsy call of Saints coach Sean Payton to start the second half with an onside kick?
The Super Bowl is a game that can make heroes of lesser known players (Timmy Smith, Larry Brown) and make goats of some all-time greats (Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly). Simple words can elicit amazing responses. Things like “Wide Right” or “The Guarantee” all mean something to Super Bowl Fans.
The game is known for more than just the play on the field. Eugene Robinson (Soliciting a Prostitute), Stanley Wilson (an all-night Cocaine binge) and Barret Robbins (disappeared into Tijuana) all had issues prior to the game, all three missed the game and all three of their teams were beaten. I am not so sure that is just a coincidence.
The halftime show has become an event in and of itself. Gone are the days when Up with People were there to make us all feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Nowadays, big name talent is the order of the day. From Bruce Springsteen to U2 to the Who to this year’s act, Beyoncé (I guarantee no lip synching here). But all of them fail to live up to, quite possibly the most life altering (literally) show of all time, Janet Jackson.
Had it not been for Ms. Jackson’s “Wardrobe Malfunction” the FCC wouldn’t be endowed with the power they now have to levy fines and monitor what is said and shown on television.
Then there is the other reason to watch. Not what happens on the field, but what happens when play is stopped, the commercials. They have become almost as big as the game itself. They have introduced us to the Budweiser Frogs, the “What’s Up” guys, the E-Trade Baby and the GoDaddy.com girls. It all started back in 1984 when Apple introduced the Mac personal computer through their 1984 ad, it is the only time that ad aired, and it is considered one of the best commercials of all time. It also started the trend of great Super Bowl ads (even though the Mean Joe Green/Coke ad came first), and now it costs $3 million for a 30 second spot.
But to paraphrase our good friend Bill Shakespeare, the Game is the thing. These years should prove to be a great one as brothers square off as head coaches for the first time in history. That’s right; Jim Harbaugh and his 49ers take on the underdog John Harbaugh and his Ravens.
The QB position is a contrast in styles as Joe Flacco and the Ravens are a pro-style offense, which has led to 8 TD passes in the post season. While Colin Kaepernik and the 49ers run the read option, which has enabled him to set a QB record for rushing yards, and allowed his wideouts to get open down the field.
The running game will be dominated by two studs in Ray Rice and Frank Gore. Rice is arguably one of the best all-around running backs in the NFL, while Gore has been consistently solid, and very tough to bring down when he builds up a head of steam.
Both of these teams are built around their stout defenses, with the 49ers having the slight edge, more because of their youth than their talent. I mean the Ravens boast one of the greatest linebackers in NFL History in Ray Lewis (playing in his last NFL game) and one of the game’s best safety’s in Ed Reed. But both of them are getting a little long in the tooth, and it is something the 49ers will continue to exploit.
Look for Baltimore to mix up their coverages to keep the 49ers guessing, and make the young Kaepernik have to make decisions. The Ravens best hope is that they can confuse him and force him into bad reads and mistakes.
On the other side, look for the 49ers to continue to play their stout defense and cover both Torry Smith and Anquan Boldin man up. If the Ravens O-Line has any weakness, look for the Smith Boys (Aldon & Justin) to take advantage. The Ravens will lose this game if Joe Flacco has a dirty uniform.
If it comes down to special teams, the 49ers may be in a bit of trouble. David Akers, who led the league in points last season, has been spotty at best this year and has missed way too many easy kicks. On the other side, rookie Justin Tucker has been awesome, including kicking the game winning 47 yarder against the Broncos in the divisional round.
Despite the lather the Ravens will work themselves up in to for Ray Lewis final game; I just don’t think it will be enough. The Ravens will hang with the 49ers for the first 3 quarters before San Francisco finally pulls away in the 4th. The final score will be 31-17 49ers. Enjoy the big game!!!!