By KEVIN BOILARD
This Sunday, Feb. 3, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will meet in New Orleans, La. to square off in Super Bowl XLVII, a championship game that many consider the pinnacle of professional sports.
The annual duel for the Lombardi Trophy has mushroomed in popularity since its inception in 1967. 111.3 million people tuned in to watch the New York Giants topple the New England Patriots, 21-17, in last year’s Super Bowl, according to the International Business Times.
The dominant storyline drawn from this year’s Super Bowl match-up is the face-off between brothers Jim (49ers head coach) and John Harbaugh (Ravens head coach). It is the first time that two brothers have ever coached against each other in the Super Bowl, and the coincidence has major sports outlets like ESPN and NFL Network in a tizzy over what they’re calling the “Har-Bowl” or “Super-Baugh.”
However, Super Bowl XLVII lends itself to several other underrated storylines, including Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ hunt for a second ring in his 17th and final season, and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s unexpected rise to the top after spending half the regular season as a backup.
University of Mary Washington senior economics major and NFL enthusiast Max Dail believes that the latter is one of the most intriguing Super Bowl storylines in recent memory. Dail believes that if Kaepernick, a dual-threat quarterback, and the 49ers win on Sunday, the league, as we know it, will undoubtedly change.
“Proponents of the zone-option offense want Kaepernick to win this game,” Dail said. “It’s going to open up a whole new era of big, athletic quarterbacks that can run just as well as they can pass. Look at Robert Griffin III; look at Cam Newton.”
Dail, a self-proclaimed traditionalist, says he will be rooting for the Ravens on Sunday, as they field Joe Flacco at quarterback, a traditional pocket-passer with a cannon for an arm.
Luckily for most of us, you don’t have to know all the Xs and Os of the gridiron to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday. Senior sociology major Kyle Johnson explains that it’s the simple things that really make the game memorable.
“I’m from Maryland, so I’ll be rooting for the Ravens,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to my roommates and friends making some really good food. And a Ravens win, of course.”
Johnson is right—chicken wings and nachos have become just as much a part of football culture as touchdown tosses and bone-breaking tackles. The Super Bowl is a hyperbole, by far the most theatrical of all football games, and fans eat it up.
Some people don’t even need to watch the game to be entertained—between the side-splitting commercials and glitzy halftime show, there’s barely enough time to blink on Super Bowl Sunday. Sixteen-time Grammy-Award winner Beyonce will perform during halftime this year, while CBS sold 30-second advertising spots for up to $4 million, according to NBC News.
Still, others have very specific reasons to watch the Super Bowl, like junior physics major Josiah McDonald, who has been watching Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith compete ever since his days at Stafford Senior High School.
“It was pretty awesome to watch him play back then,” McDonald recalled. “I played tenor saxophone in the marching band, and, back then, he played quarterback. He was really good and really fast. I’ll be rooting for the Ravens because of him.”
Smith, Flacco’s favorite deep target, will certainly play a large part in Super Bowl XLVII, but it won’t come easy. While eyes are turned toward the Kaepernick-Lewis match-up, San Francisco sack master Aldon Smith and All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis will be scheming to slow down Flacco and his right-hand man, running back Ray Rice.
The Bullet’s prediction: John Harbaugh finally figures out Kaepernick’s Kryptonite, reducing older brother Jim to one of his infamous profanity-laced temper tantrums.
Ravens win, 23-17.