The Atlanta Falcons are not in the 2013 Super Bowl. I've kept a stiff upper lip about that to the extent that I can, but if you think I'm going to make it through this game without drinking, you're delusional. It sucks.
Nonetheless, we'll all be watching the Super Bowl. I've prepared a handy primer for those of you who haven't given much thought to the Ravens and 49ers all year, one that may help you decide which team to root for. Or which one you despite slightly less, at least.
- Baltimore Beatdown is the blog. Good folks over there. That's where the positivity ends.
- Joe Flacco's own father has called him dull. He believes, or says he believes, that he's the best quarterback in the NFL. Has mixed mediocre regular seasons with infuriatingly good post-seasons, leading many to anoint him as better than 2008 draft mate Matt Ryan. He does have a cannon arm and all the tools you look for from a franchise pocket passer, though. This could be the Super Bowl that wins him a huge contract, or the one that cements his reputation as an inconsistent quarterback who believes he's better than he is.
- Ray Rice is one of the league's best running backs, but he's faded in the playoffs. Will he return to form? It's called a story line.
- The Ravens have a ton of deep threats. Torrey Smith is the best of them. Anquan Boldin is ten feet tall and breathes fire.
- The defense is fierce. Paul Kruger is trying to win himself a nice new contract. Ray Lewis is trying to go out like a majestic deer. Not sure why I chose that animal.
- Corey Graham is from my alma mater. I want him to get three interceptions, though I don't necessarily want the Ravens to win.
- The Ravens do a great job of uncovering UDFA talent. A better job than the Falcons, even. Justin Tucker is one of the league's better kickers already, and the Ravens scooped him up.
- John Harbaugh never played quarterback in the NFL. He's also not batcrap crazy like his brother Jim. I'm not sure if these two are related.
- The Ravens are the classic Super Bowl team of the last several years. Above average but inconsistent regular season, huge hot streak in the playoffs.
- Niners Nation is where you'll want to visit.
- Coming into this season, I was rooting for Colin Kaepernick to take over the starting job. I'm a fan of his play and I think he may have a truly great career, but I'm kind of sick of him personally already. He tried to trademark kissing his bicep. That's the kind of move that makes me remember that whatever your talents as a football player, you're probably kind of a self-absorbed dude.
- Frank Gore is a likeable running back who overcame some major injuries. The 49ers' running back stable is one of the best in the league. Aesthetically pleasing.
- Michael Crabtree is the only borderline elite receiver the 49ers have. That's okay because Kaepernick is such a playmaker, but on a team with weaker tight ends it would hurt. Oh, but about those tight ends.
- With Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker in the fold, the 49ers can dominate the middle of the field. Ray Lewis certainly isn't going to be covering either of these guys, and there's no one on the Ravens I'd trust to do so consistently.
- The defense is really good. Absurdly good. But without Justin Smith at full strength, it's something less than awe-inspiring. If Smith has healed up over the last two weeks, he's the X factor for this game.
- Jim Harbaugh is completely insane.
I'm predicting a 49ers victory. How about you?