Family Ties To Be Settled As Brother Battles Brother In 47th SuperBowl

Harbowl_WallpaperThe 47th edition of the Superbowl is due to take place at 11.30pm (Irish time), Sunday 3rd February. Irish interest in this great sporting event will be higher than ever as AFC champions Baltimore Ravens take on NFC champions San Francisco 49ers at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Sky Sports increased coverage over recent years added to Wembley’s hosting of regular season games have been the major factors in the rise of the NFL on these shores.

The game itself promises to be a very special occasion on many different levels. One of the most well documented storylines leading into the game is of course Ray Lewis. Win or lose, the expectation is that Lewis will retire at the end of this season bringing down the curtain on a sensational career. Lewis was a first round draft pick for the Ravens back in 1996 and has gone on to have a Hall-of-Fame career. His 17 years in the league is an incredible 14 years longer than the average NFL career. In that time he has become the heart of not only the team but also the city. The appeal of Lewis who plays as middle linebacker in the Ravens Defense is that he plays every down with maximum effort. The whole team look to him for inspiration and he delivers every time making tackles in the open field and hustling on every play. For that reason many neutrals will  pluck for the Ravens to win.

The 49ers though have their own cinderella story in Quarter-back Colin Kaepernick. A talented basketballer and a college baseball star, the heavily tattooed Kaepernick decided to pick football as his sport of choice. It has turned out to be a wise choice. In only his second year in the league, he is now on the verge of bringing back the Lombardi Trophy to the Bay Area for the first time since 1994. His promotion to the QB position came about after regular Quarter-back Alex Smith became concussed in the second quarter of a 24-24 tie against divisional rivals, the St Louis Rams. Kaepernick played so well in the next game that when Smith returned from concussion, he was no longer the starting quarter-back. Smith is a former 1st-round draft pick and was playing exceedingly well before his injury. Therefore, the decision to keep Kaepernick as the play-caller was a controversial one by Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. The decision by Harbaugh has been justified though as Kaepernick has risen to the pressure and become one of the most impressive dual-threats of all time (his ability to run the ball is equal to his throwing ability.)

Neither Kaepernick nor Lewis are the main storyline heading into the eagerly anticipated clash though. That title belongs to the Harbaugh brothers.

I mentioned that Jim Harbaugh was the head-coach for the 49ers. The head-coach of the Ravens just happens to be Jim’s older brother John. The clash has been dubbed the “Harbowl” in what is an unprecedented event in the NFL. The Harbaughs are the first set of brothers to ever be head-coaches in the NFL. One major difference between the pair is that John never played in the NFL while Jim was a successful quarterback who previously played for the Ravens in the late 90′s. Such an event is rare in any sport but in a sporting occasion which is due to be watched by over a billion people, the occurrence takes on extra significance.

Here’s our quintessential guide for the football novice.

Essential ingredients  For A Great Game



Players to watch out for on each team

San Francisco 49ers

QB – Colin Kapernick

Running back– Frank Gore

Wide receivers – Michael Crabtree/Randy Moss

Defensive End-  Justin Smith

Middle Linebacker – Patrick Willis

Baltimore Ravens

QB – Joe Flacco

 Running Back – Ray Rice

Wide Receivers – Anquan Boldin/Torrey Smith

Defensive Tackle – Haloti Ngata

Middle Linebacker – Ray Lewis

Prediction – San Francisco 49ers

By Emmet Masterson

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