Super Bowl XLVII: Ravens, Niners aim to remain Super perfect
The San Francisco 49ers are 5-0 in the Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens won in their lone appearance.
Of course, one of them will lose their perfect record on Sunday.
Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans marks the first time in the game's history that two unbeaten Super Bowl winners will meet in the game.
That's just one element of the drama surrounding this season's NFL championship game. There's also the head coaching brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, who lead the Ravens and Niners, respectively, into the matchup.
But the showdown that has the greatest effect on the game itself is that of the two young quarterbacks, Joe Flacco for Baltimore and Colin Kaepernick for San Francisco, each looking to become the first of a new generation of quarterbacks to win the Lombardi Trophy.
Eighteen of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL were selected within the last five drafts, including stars Matt Ryan (Falcons), Matthew Stafford (Lions) and Cam Newton (Panthers). All three were the top QBs off the board in their respective drafts. Ryan went ahead of Flacco in 2008 and Kaepernick came off the board a round later than Newton, who was picked first overall in 2011.
While other teams passed on Flacco and Kaepernick, the decisions to bring them in are clearly now paying off for the Ravens and 49ers.
Flacco knows how to put the ball in the hands of his many skilled players, and isn't afraid to wing it downfield. Look for the 49ers to keep their safeties over the top of top deep threat Torrey Smith.
Kaepernick, so trusted by his coach that he supplanted recently successful starter Alex Smith midway through the season, should be problematic for the Ravens to game plan against. After he torched the Green Bay Packers for 181 rushing yards in the divisional round, the Atlanta Falcons wouldn't allow him to run. That didn't stop Kaepernick from going 16 of 21 for 233 yards and a touchdown through the air.
It's been a few years since both Super Bowl teams were this well-rounded. There always seems to be a team that can't run the ball or can't tackle. So it's refreshing to see two squads like the Niners and Ravens that have respectable defenses and can pass and run.
With that in mind, fans can expect some excellent football in what figures on paper to be a close game. The Niners have what it takes to win, but the Ravens' experience will ultimately win out. Maybe next year, 49ers fans. Ravens 27, 49ers 21
Super Bowl facts
-- The Lions are the only team to have played in every season since Super Bowl I without playing in the game.
-- No team has ever been shut out. The Dolphins scored a game-low three points in Super Bowl VI.
-- Sixteen games have been decided by seven points or less, including six of the last nine.
-- No team has ever rallied from a deficit of more than 10 points to win.
-- The Patriots and Panthers combined for the highest-scoring quarter in history, tallying 37 points in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXVIII.
-- The Bills committed a game-record nine turnovers in Super Bowl XXVII.