Harbaugh Bowl coming to N.O
John and Jim Harbaugh.
Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3 will have the showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
The story beyond the brothers squaring off is the roller coaster ride of the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens, which came within a dropped Lee Evans pass from playing in last yearís Super Bowl, have had a "Cinderella" run.
Injuries, inconsistent play, the announcement that this season would be the last for one of the greatest defensive players ever in middle linebacker Ray Lewis and the play of quarterback Joe Flacco, who in many aspects is the AFC version of what we have seen from Eli Manning in New York with the Giants, has made this run to the Big Game so memorable for football fans across America.
And for former Destrehan High School standout Ed Reed, who is playing in the twilight years of a future NFL Hall of Fame career, it means a trip home and a shot to win his first Super Bowl title since he entered the league in 2002.
Former Abramson High School and current Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones was quick to praise the leadership given by Reed and Lewis.
"I came to Baltimore for this moment," Jones said. "This is a great organization and a team that has super leaders and men in the locker room. To walk in that locker room and see Ed Reed and Ray Lewis sitting in there was special for me. Those two guys are what the NFL is all about. They have been through it all and for Ray to know this is his last ride and for Ed, who has never played in a Super Bowl, to experience this moment is special for all of us here. I know I will soak this all up. I donít know that it will happen again for me, but I know itís special to come home to New Orleans and play for a championship."
Ravens quarterback Flacco, long criticized for his inconsistent play, has been superb playing on the road the past two weeks outdueling Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. In his teamís win over the Patriots, he threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns. In the three playoff games played by the Ravens, Flacco has thrown eight touchdown passes and has zero interceptions.
The Ravens defense, which had looked old during the season, has gotten new life with numerous players coming back from injuries.
However, the San Francisco 49ers also have a great story in second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Playing in only his ninth NFL start, the former University of Nevada signal-caller led the 49ers back from a 17-point deficit to a 28-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons jumped on the 49ers 17-0 only to have San Francisco overcome that early lead to win in the third largest road comeback in postseason history.
Kaepernick completed 16 of his 21 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. The 49ers defense held off a late rally drive by the Falcons to secure a Super Bowl berth.
Kaepernick put the ball in the hands of two veteran players in halfback Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis to get the 49ers back to Super Bowl Sunday. It is the sixth trip for the franchise on the biggest football sports day.
Gore rushed for 90 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns against a tough Falcons defense and the very athletic Davis caught five passes for 106 yards.
The 49ers will also feature the best foursome of linebackers in pro football in Patrick Willis, Ahmad Brooks, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith playing against a rugged rushing attack by the Ravens led by halfback Ray Rice.
Itís Super Bowl Sunday, Americaís sports holiday and the most memorable matchup on footballís biggest day since the New Orleans Saints played the Indianapolis Colts in February of 2010.
Now, letís see how Commissioner Roger Goodell handles the week in New Orleans being the most despised man in Louisiana.
Letís hope he handles Super Bowl week better than he handled the BountyGate investigation.
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