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February 03, 2013

Brothers Face-off in Super Bowl in New Orleans

by Jim Stevenson

Super Bowl 47 kicks off late Sunday in New Orleans, Louisiana, and millions around the world are tuning in to watch the championship of American-style professional football. What's unusual this year is that the two opposing coaches are brothers. 
The Baltimore Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers in a matchup many feel could be one of the best.  Both teams feature hard-hitting defenses and offenses that can surprise opponents and fans at any moment.  It is also a unique contest between two brothers who happen to be the opposing head coaches.
John Harbaugh leads the Baltimore Ravens.
"We have got to play good, solid, fundamental football. We have to win the turnover battle. And I think we just have to find a way [to win] because this game could be played in a lot of different ways.  We are going to have to be very flexible in finding a way to win the football game," he said. 
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, John Harbaugh's brother, expects a tough game.
"It is going to have to be earned playing against the Baltimore Ravens.  I think the two biggest challenges are number one is their talent.  And also number one is their character, the team that plays with a great amount of heart," he said. 
The mood is festive in New Orleans as the game takes place in the midst of the annual Mardi Gras celebration.  San Francisco is seeking its sixth Super Bowl title, while the Ravens are looking for their second.
Super Bowl 47 is also the last game in the NFL career of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
"Hearing those famous words that the Ravens are Super Bowl champions, there is no greater legacy.  There is no other way that you will ask yourself to walk away from the game than to hear those words and to know that when I leave this building, I leave this building on my terms.  That's the ultimate," he said. 
Lewis is the only remaining active member of the Baltimore team that won the Super Bowl in 2001. 
Conversely, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a second-year backup who was thrust into the starting role when teammate Alex Smith was injured during the regular season.
"To me, it is just staying focused on what we are trying to get done. I mean, it is great to have all the cameras and all the people here, but we are here to win a game. Just because you are in a situation you have not been in before does not mean you have to feel pressure from it," he said. 
Kaepernick has proven to be an accurate passer and a surprise running threat, catching opposing defenses off guard with his speed and agility.  Beyond the intriguing matchups between the Ravens and 49ers, many fans will be looking forward to the halftime extravaganza, with Beyonce headlining the entertainment.