As the saying goes, “This is what we play for.”
All of this year’s NFL action has led up to this Sunday’s showdown between the Baltimore Ravens of the AFC and the San Francisco 49ers of the NFC in Super Bowl XLVII. Blood, sweat, and tears have been poured in all year long by both teams to get to this point, but only one will become a champion. Who will it be?
It’s been over a decade since the Baltimore Ravens have been here – winning the Big One last in 2000 – but that will only make them hungrier, especially considering the young, fiery leader who guided that team to a championship will be playing in his final NFL game on Sunday.
Of course, that player is Ray Lewis. He will do one last pregame dance, deliver one last impassioned speech willing his team to victory, and will play one last NFL game before hanging up the cleats. So, you better believe he is going to leave it all on the field and give everything he has.
Although the players are the 49ers’ current roster have never been called NFL Super Bowl champions, their franchise is pretty familiar with the moniker. Before this season, San Francisco had been to five Super Bowls in its team history – most recently in 1994 – and guess what, the Niners won ’em all. So who’s to say they can’t make it a perfect six for six?
They certainly have the talent to get the job done. First, there’s the defense; a stout front seven and a physical secondary that allowed only 17.1 points per game this season and fewer than 100 rushing yards per game. Then there’s Frank Gore and the ground attack, which ended the regular season ranked 4th in the NFL. And of course, there’s Colin Kaepernick, the young dual-threat quarterback who has wowed the nation time and time again with his surprising amount of poise, throwing ability and running ability. The Niners are the real deal.
To top off an incredible match-up are the coaches. Both reached the doorstep of the Super Bowl a year ago, but both came up short in their respective conference championship games. And both are bothers. Jim and John Harbaugh have made Super Bowl history by becoming the first pair of brothers to coach against one another on the NFL’s biggest stage, but only one of them will be remembered forever.
There’s no question that Super Bowl XLVII has all the makings of greatness and then some. Some years we receive a less-than thrilling conclusion to the NFL season, but I don’t think that will be the case this year.