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Super Bowl has something for everyone

Commentary

February 3, 2013
By John Hartsock (sports@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

Whether you're a fan of either of the two teams or not, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about and interested in Super Bowl XLVII.

The last time this year's two Super Bowl qualifiers, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, made it to the big game, both events were less than riveting.

The Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, 34-7, over the New York Giants. The 49ers won 49-26 over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX in 1995.

At the risk of eating crow, the final score in this year's game should be a lot closer.

A lot is being made of the fact that this year's Super Bowl will be a lose-lose dud for Steelers' fans. On one side, there are the Ravens, who have become the Steelers' most bitter rivals. On the other side, there are the 49ers, who are trying to tie Pittsburgh's Super Bowl victories record by winning their sixth.

But here are five good reasons to watch the game.

1 - Both teams are surging: Both the 49ers and Ravens are coming in at the top of their game. The 49ers carved up Green Bay at home in the divisional playoffs, before going to Atlanta and wiping out a 17-0 deficit to defeat the Falcons in the NFC title game.

The Ravens' journey to the Super Bowl was more impressive. Baltimore scored two victories on the road against future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks. The Ravens came from behind to beat Denver and Peyton Manning in overtime in the division playoffs, before controlling the entire second half and Tom Brady's New England Patriots in the AFC title game.

2 - The brother angle: It's been over-hyped, and beaten into the ground ad nauseum since the two teams punched their tickets to this Super Bowl. But the matchup pitting 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh against his slightly older brother, Ravens' coach John, does add an extra layer of intrigue to the game. Along with being extremely proud of their two sons, wonder what else will be going through the minds of Jack and Jackie Harbaugh as they watch?

3 - The Ray Lewis factor: Up until now, the Ravens got a lot of inspiration from the fact that their future Hall of Famer is calling it a career. Can they send one of the best linebackers ever to play out with the franchise's second Super Bowl title?

4 - The quarterback factor: The Ravens' Joe Flacco has come of age in this year's playoffs, outplaying both Brady and Manning. He can add another notch of high-profile legitimacy to his belt by orchestrating a Super Bowl win over a 49ers' team that enters as a slight favorite. San Francisco rookie Colin Kaepernick has shown the same type of run-pass and extend-the-play ability that Ben Roethlisberger displayed in his first couple years with the Steelers - maybe even better. This should be a fun battle within the battle to watch.

5-New faces: It's refreshing to see a team other than New England in this game, even if it isn't the Steelers.

Prediction: San Francisco makes it six-for-six. Final score, 24-17.

John Hartsock can be reached at jhartsock@altoonamirror.com

 
 
 

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