Since 2004, the majority of NFL fans have been dying for a Manning vs. Manning Super Bowl. The great NFL family on the sports grandest stage playing the most glamorous position; instead we get the Harbaugh’s.
As a friend of mine put it last Sunday; “…the Manning’s are the Kennedy’s and the Harbaugh’s are the Bush’s.”
Both coaches have impacted their teams immensely with each of them appearing in the playoffs every year at the helm.
Both inherited great talent and are maxing that talent out. John Harbaugh took a team on the brink of winning a championship and added a strong-armed quarterback along with great weapons. The offense was a disaster and now they are the strong point of the Ravens identity.
Jim Harbaugh inherited amazing potential and highly drafted players that needed direction and proper placement in the game plan. Jim, a former quarterback, seems to be the better football guy.
These teams are built to win now and one thing was holding the 49ers back; a playmaking quarterback. Everyone was screaming bloody murder when the injured Alex Smith lost his job to Colin Kaepernick. Smith had the nice game managing stats; 70.2 completion percentage, 104 QB rating and only five interceptions in nine games.
The 49ers didn’t need a game manager to take them to the next level; they needed a playmaker to compliment their receiving weapons that were being wasted with Smith.
While we all remember my rant about the gimmick offenses, and yes Colin Kaepernick being a run first QB does fall into the “gimmick” category, the kid’s got a cannon. Unlike most strong-armed quarterbacks, Kaepernick is accurate both short and deep.
During the Jim Harbaugh era, Alex Smith has started 27 games and the team scored 30 plus points six times. In nine starts with Kaepernick, the Niners have scored 30 plus four times.
Kaepernick’s inexperience will bother a lot people and the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl with fewer career starts was the Giants’ Jeff Hostetler who started four games for New York before winning Super Bowl XXV.
The 25-year old quarterback will be the singular reason why the Niners win this game by 13 points or more. All offseason, traditionalists like myself will have to hear the hype of the new generation of quarterbacks and the pistol offense, but it will fade away like the wildcat.
Speaking of fading away, the Ravens defense is too old and beat up. Five players are over 30 years old, Haloti Ngata is 29 and these old men aren’t fast enough to stop Kaepernick. On top of the age, Ed Reed is always nicked up, Ray Lewis’ triceps are probably numb as he runs on pure adrenaline and it’s publicly known that Terrell Suggs is banged up from a torn achilles.
Now in a perfect world, an Italian South Jersey quarterback (Joe Flacco) with a running back from a New Jersey college (Ray Rice) and wide receiver who had a rough year emotionally wins the Super Bowl. Heart and desire trump numbers and talent. My heart is telling me to pick the Ravens but reality bites.
Too bad it’s not a perfect world. Colin Kaepernick will run circles around the Ravens and for once (maybe) Jim Harbaugh will give a classy handshake at the end of the game considering they share the same blood.