Call to the Pen: Super Bowl more than Harbaughs and Ray Lewis
Jamie Shell / (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Granted, both angles make for intriguing newspaper pieces, but they are also the easiest storylines to find. There are multiple additional notes of interest about the game this weekend, some of which are significant, while others are more nominal.
For example, in four of the six previous Super Bowls played in the Superdome (Super Bowls 12,15, 20 and 24), the losing team scored exactly 10 points. The most recent Super Bowl played there, back in 2002, was a narrow 20-17 win by the New England Patriots against the St. Louis Rams.
A personal storyline of note is that many fans of ASU football who attended the 2007 NCAA FCS National Championship game in Chattanooga (not to mention a certain sportswriter covering the game for The AJT) had the opportunity to see Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco play in his final collegiate football game. As starting signal-caller for the University of Delaware, Flacco was denied a championship when head coach Jerry Moore and his Mountaineers defeated the Blue Hens for the team’s third consecutive national title.
Speaking of ASU, former Mountaineers standout Daniel Kilgore is an offensive lineman for the 49ers and will see significant playing time in Sunday’s game.
Besides the aforementioned people and items of note, I’ve compiled a short list of three significant storylines that fans should watch for during this weekend’s game (in addition to the commercials, of course).
1. How will San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick handle the big stage?
Thus far during the season, second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick has, in a grand total of nine starts, led his ballclub to the cusp of a championship. A backup quarterback at season’s start, Kaepernick was called on when Niners starter Alex Smith was injured. Since his insertion into the starting lineup in November 2012, the former University of Nevada standout has been a dual run/pass threat in the Read Option offense that no defense has figured out.Kaepernick passed his biggest test during the NFC Championship Game on the road against Atlanta when, facing a 17-0 deficit in the second quarter, Kaepernick led his team to a come-from-behind victory. Chances are that Kaepernick is the fastest, if not most elusive player on the football field this weekend for either club.
2. How about winning one for … Ed Reed?
Many fans believe that Ravens defensive back Ed Reed has been one of the best players in the league for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, many also believe he was part of Baltimore’s previous Super Bowl championship team in 2000. Reed is an 11-year veteran (all with the Ravens), but he entered the league in 2002. The former University of Miami Hurricanes star holds franchise records for most career interceptions (61), passes defended (138) and interception return touchdowns (eight). Reed holds the league record for the longest interception return for a score (108 yards). In other words, Reed has been a superstar player for a long period of time. With all the talk about his teammate Lewis, Reed is pointed at by many of his teammates as the heart and soul of the team. If Reed has a big game this weekend, chances are the Ravens will hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
3. The final drive could decide the game
Each of the past five Super Bowls has been decided on final winner-takes-all drives. Should that be the case, the kickers will take center stage.
San Francisco veteran David Akers has been steady throughout his career, but has been shaky this season, missing 12 field goals this season, the latest a 38-yarder against Atlanta in the NFC title game.On the other side of the field, Baltimore’s Justin Tucker is a rookie that has been among the league’s most consistent kickers. He has also succeeded under pressure, connecting on a field goal in double overtime in the AFC divisional playoff game at Denver three weeks ago.
Miscellaneous items of note
• Randy Moss looks for his first Super Bowl victory, while his 49ers team looks to set the record for most Super Bowl wins (six).
• A battle of the running backs, between Baltimore’s Ray Rice and San Francisco’s Frank Gore. Both players will be key for their respective team’s success. The player with the most yards in total offense will likely celebrate a Super Bowl win.
• More than 1.25 billion chicken wings will be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday, in addition to 28 million pounds of potato chips, 53.5 million pounds of avacados and eight million pounds of popcorn eaten during the big game. A total of 7,000,000 people call in sick to work the following day in America, while antacid sales the following day increase by 20 percent, according to figures published by the website http://www.thepursuitist.com.
If your favorite team is playing in the game, best of luck. If not, there’s always next year!