Tonight it is time for Super Bowl XLVII or, as most people are calling it, “the Harbaugh bowl”.
Brothers John and Jim Harbaugh are leading their respected teams, the San Francisco 49’ers and the Baltimore Ravens, to the Louisiana SuperDome in New Orleans as they battle it out to win the richest prize in American Football in front of over 100 million viewers worldwide.
The 49’ers won the NFC after a 11-4 regular season record and post season victories over, firstly, the Green Bay Packers and, most impressively, a 28-24 win away at the Atlanta Falcons.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh has instrumented a winning philosophy amongst his wide array of talented players as they bid to win a record sixth franchise Super Bowl.
Led by the nimble footed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the offensive line has produced a strong season and with receivers such as Randy Moss, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, backed up by running backs Frank Gore and LaMichael James, the 49’ers have an offense capable of scoring from any position and have proven to be a nightmare for opposition defences.
Defensively the 49’ers are arguably just as strong. Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner are two of the country’s top safeties, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman have shown the NFL that they never miss a tackle, Tarell Brown is the playmaker for the 49’ers whilst Aldon Smith leads their defence with 19.5 sacks for the season.
With a defensive outfit like this, led by coordinator Vic Fangio, the Baltimore offense will need to produce a special performance, similar to the one against the Patriots, in order to get anywhere near that precious red zone.
Baltimore Ravens are even more of a surprise package than the 49’ers, as a wildcard pick, they have beaten Indianapolis, Denver and New England to reach a second Super Bowl.
With legendary linebacker Ray Lewis’ announcement that he is to retire at the end of the season, the post season has been revolved around his seemingly destined final match at the biggest event of the year.
With his overwhelming passion and extraordinary leadership skills, he has become the focal point of a squad which has “team spirit” personified when it takes to the field.
Joe Flacco’s offense, despite not being regarded as anywhere near the best in the NFL, has shocked defences with the big play speciality.
Ray Rice has led the rushing game, and with receivers such as Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones being the targetmen for Flacco’s powerful arm, the Ravens offence will not be worried about where their touchdowns will be coming from.
Defensively, despite Ray Lewis being the central piece to their jigsaw, the whole of Baltimore’s defense has pulled together to produce one of the strongest post season runs in NFL history, the highlight being the second half shut out of the New England Patriots in their own stadium.
Can Ray Lewis finish his illustrious NFL career with a Super Bowl win?
The odds are against him, as they have been since the start of the season, but with the Raven’s incredible team spirit and talented offensive line up maybe, just maybe, they can produce yet another unexpected victory, this time at Super Bowl XLVII.