FRIDAY FACE-OFF: Why the San Francisco 49ers will win the Super Bowl
Heather Brown, The Oklahoma Daily
Friday Faceoff: Who will win Super Bowl XLVII
The Super Bowl is here already?
It seems like just a few months ago New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was putting a damper on the Brady/Belichick Patriots’ legacy by stealing another Super Bowl victory from them, but here we are again.
It’s Super Bowl time. So get your homework done early; gather your friends, food and drink; and prepare for the greatest sports spectacle in the world.
Boy, do we have a good one.
The Baltimore Ravens are hoping to create a fitting end to Ray Lewis’ swan song, and the San Francisco 49ers are chasing their first Lombardi Trophy since their last Super Bowl appearance in 1994.
The two teams mirror each other in their composition — stout defenses, workhorse running backs and a collection of playmakers at the receiver positions and tight end are the teams’ trademarks — but there’s one thing San Francisco has that Baltimore does not: Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick is the new breed of quarterback in the NFL, one plucked from the wide-open spread offenses of the college game whose skills have been honed to produce in an NFL offense.
He’s the quarterback Vince Young could have been — a dual-threat signal caller with a .50-caliber fixed to his shoulder who just might be more dangerous using his legs than his arm.
Since overtaking Alex Smith for the 49ers’ starting quarterback job against Chicago in Week 11 — a game during which he threw for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns to propel the 49ers to a dominant 32-7 victory — Kaepernick has been shredding every defense he and his tattooed biceps have faced.
He’s thrown 13 touchdowns to just four interceptions and added 440 yards and five touchdowns rushing, including an NFL-record — for a quarterback — 181-yard performance against Green Bay in the Divisional round.
In a game in which nearly all the teams’ strengths cancel one another out — Frank Gore for Ray Rice; Michael Crabtree for Anquan Boldin; Vernon Davis for Dennis Pitta; Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman for Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed; Jim Harbaugh for John Harbaugh — quarterback play is the difference.
And it’s going to be the deciding factor.
Kaepernick’s ability to create with his legs sets him apart from a solid but, virtually immobile, Joe Flacco.
So using that logic, the 49ers will win thanks to their quarterback play because everything else essentially is a wash.
Tough to argue with that.
But even though the 49ers have what former Patriots offensive coordinator and now-Kansas coach Charlie Weis would call a “decided schematic advantage,” don’t expect this to be a cakewalk for ol’ San Fran.
Baltimore has been playing the underdog role ever since it beat Indianapolis, 24-9, in the Wild Card round, and the wins have kept on coming.
So buckle up, folks, and make sure to ration your bathroom breaks. You’re not going to want to miss a second of this barn burner.
Final score: 49ers 24, Ravens 20.
Do you disagree with Dillon? Click here to see assistant sports editor Jono Greco's counterargument.
Dillon Phillips is a journalism junior and sports editor at The Daily. You can follow him on Twitter at @DillonPhillips_