Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh.
Leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, the coaching matchup between John and Jim Harbaugh has been tracked back to their shared -- but divided -- childhood bedroom and built up to obscure the many other persons who will have a hand in determining which team will lift the Lombardi Trophy. Separated by 15 months in age and soon to be separated by the width of the football field at the Superdome, the Harbaugh brothers became the first sibling head coaches to match wits and players' hits in an NFL game on Thanksgiving 2011. They'll be making more NFL history tonight.
"I don't know if we had a dream this big. We had a few dreams, we had a few fights. You know, we had a few arguments, just like all brothers," John told reporters after the Ravens clinched a berth in the Super Bowl. "We'll try to stay out of that business. We'll let the two teams duke it out as much as possible."
On the field, John's Ravens will be faced with the task of containing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The dynamic dual-threat out of Nevada (which might have something to do with all the prop bets involving him) set a single-game rushing record with 181 yards on the ground against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round. With the Atlanta Falcons' defense focused on keeping the fleet-footed Kaepernick from getting to outside, the 25-year-old handed off to running backs to Frank Gore and LaMichael James and picked apart the defense with his strong arm. The 49ers' multi-faceted pistol offense has yet to be stopped in the playoffs.
“You name it, we got it,” San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman told The New York Times, speaking about the team's diverse offensive offerings since Kaepernick supplanted Alex Smith as the team's starting signal caller. “We’re like the diner.”
Of course, these Baltimore Ravens know a thing or two about defeating high-profile quarterbacks, having ended the seasons of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady en route to the Super Bowl. Riding an emotional wave (which may have crested due to that PED report in SI) that began when linebacker Ray Lewis announced his retirement ahead of the postseason, Baltimore's charmed run to New Orleans has already included two upsets. With the oddsmakers favoring Jim's 49ers in New Orleans, the Ravens will need a third upset if they're to celebrate tonight. If they pull off another win against a favored foe then quarterback Joe Flacco will likely have a (right) hand in the outcome.
In the Ravens' double-overtime win over Manning's Broncos, Flacco came up with the game-saving 70-yard touchdown pass in the waning moments of regulation. A week later, he outplayed Brady in New England. Despite throwing one of the most dangerous deep balls in the game, even Flacco's father described him as "dull" leading up to the Super Bowl. A win on the game's grandest stage will go a long way toward changing that perception.
Which quarterback will come through with the key play? Can the Lewis and the Ravens' defense keep the pistol misfiring? Will Flacco's big arm bring some excitement to the 47th Super Bowl? Or will the Super Bowl commercials be the most memorable aspect of the broadcast?
|@ JeffDuncanTP : Superdome p.a. system playing Purple Rain right now as confetti machines continue to shower the field and stands...|
|@ MercPurdy : This will be remembered as a legendary and epic Super Bowl. And in Bay Area as one the 49ers lost, not one the Ravens won. #TooManyScrewups|
|@ NFL_RealUpdates : Randy Moss is the greatest receiver ever to never win a Superbowl.|
|@ NFL_RealUpdates : Joe Flacco wins the Super Bowl XLVII MVP.|
Ginn gets tackled after a good return and the RAVENS HAVE WON SUPER BOWL XLVII!!!!
Koch stands alone in the end zone, waits a couple seconds until stepping out of bounds for a safety. 34-31 RAVENS.
Why not snap the ball to punter Sam Koch, have him run around for a couple seconds and take a safety?
|@ BaltimoreLuke : The #Ravens should take a safety on fourth down with only a few seconds projected to be left. #49ers|
Leach gets the carry and runs up the middle for another yard. Ravens will punt with 9 seconds left on the clock.
Pearce runs left, then dives forward just to get 1 yard. Clock is ticking..
|@ mattvensel : This one isn't over yet, but time and distance aren't on the #49ers' side.|
|@ joereedy : Should have been a defensive hold|
Rice runs up the middle for a yard or two and the 49ers take their final timeout.
|@ RossTuckerNFL : Would've been very hard for Crabtree to catch that in-bounds|
|@ RossTuckerNFL : Blowing timeouts almost always comes back to haunt you|
|@ jayfeely : Fade routes???? Really don't like that call|
|@ Jimmy_Beast : That play isn't working, Niners. Why do you keep running it?|
Kaepernick gets blitzed and lofts up a pass to the back corner of the end zone but the ball falls incomplete. Looks like the Ravens might take this one. Jim Harbaugh arguing for a defensive holding call, but looked like the pass was uncatchable.
Kaepernick looks for Crabtree running towards the right sideline but the pass is broken up by Corey Graham. 4th and Goal coming up.
49ers call their 2nd timeout.
Kaepernick rolls to his right and fires an incomplete pass to Crabtree on the sideline.
|@ ProFootballTalk : Here's hoping if the 49ers win John Harbaugh doesn't blame the power outage. But if it had gone the other way we know Jim Harbaugh would.|
2 MINUTE WARNING...
|@ SC_DougFarrar : JEEZUS. What a game!!!!!|
Ravens make a crucial stop on LaMichael James' run up the middle. No gain. 2nd and Goal coming up.
Kaepernick hands it off to Gore, who sneaks through a hole and breaks to the left side, dashing down the left sideline all the way inside Baltimore's 10-yard line. 33-yard run.
From the shotgun, Kaepernick hits Crabtree in the middle of the field for a 24-yard gain. Ravens' D cannot figure out Kaepernick.
Kaepernick freezes the D with a play-fake and looks for an open Vernon Davis down the right sideline but the ball goes off his hands and falls incomplete. Should have made that catch...