Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli/Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers…these are all names synonymous with NFL greatness. However, they aren’t the ones playing for ultimate glory in the “Big Game” this weekend. The men fighting for the Lombardi Trophy are Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco – two greenhorns to the Big Game’s spotlight.
Honestly, I will be watching this game mostly to see if there will be any wardrobe malfunctions at halftime, as I think most people will. The entire country, other than the cities of Baltimore and San Francisco, would rather see a game between Rodgers and Manning, or Brady and Matty Ice (Matt Ryan).
But hold the smart-phone; let’s see if we can make this game a bit more interesting for the layman.
The 49ers have been anything but consistent this year. We’ve seen them end in a tie AND lost to the St. Louis Rams, who were 7-8-1 this year. Then, only a few weeks later, they went into Foxboro and (more or less) obliterate the Patriots. Granted the Pats made a resilient comeback, all for naught, but Kaepernick made New England’s secondary look like the University of Nevada-Reno’s practice squad. Since Seattle put the hurt on them in week 16, San Fran has been nothing short of dominant. They took care of Green Bay 45-31, and then came back against the Falcons in Atlanta to win the NFC Championship.
Frankly, Colin Kaepernick is a menace. He’s big, he’s mobile, and he’s becoming more accurate with each pass attempt. In the same way Russell Wilson has grown tremendously over the course of the 2012 season, Kaepernick has done the same in half the time (arguably). In the two postseason games this year, has rushed for 202 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown scamper against Green Bay, and has a QBR of 94.1. Compare that to Flacco’s 2012 postseason QBR of 77.5. Kaepernick also has a better completion percentage and a better TD/INT ratio over the course of 2012.
Speaking of Flacco, he’s somewhat of an anomaly, as are the Baltimore Ravens. I mentioned his QBR and TD/INT ratio (2.1/1) over the entire 2012 season. In this post season, he’s thrown EIGHT TDs and zero interceptions. After beating the Colts, he was able to beat Peyton Manning in Denver while only completing just over 50 percent of his passes. He threw three TDs in that game, including an essential last minute touchdown to Jacoby Jones over a back-pedaling safety. Quite honestly, Baltimore only won that game because of an incompetent Denver secondary, which ranked 3rd in passing defense during the regular season. You wouldn’t have been able to tell that night.
The next week against New England, Flacco threw another three touchdowns. Flacco, a self-proclaimed elite NFL quarterback, has never thrown for 3+ TDs in back-to-back games, let alone in the playoffs. Flacco might be having an out-of-body experience, but he’s well on his way to being considered “elite” by someone other than his mother, Karen.
Don’t forget the old guys playing defense for the Ravens. Ray Lewis and maybe Ed Reed are fast approaching the last game of their storied careers. Lewis has been more emotional than my pregnant wife these last few weeks, which is somewhat acceptable, I guess. The guy probably sustained as many concussions as he so graciously gave to other players, so I’ll give him a pass for crying as much as he has.
So here’s what we have on Sunday:
A guy who might be considered to be one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league in Kaepernick, versus an old and emotional defense with a quarterback who probably doesn’t realize what he’s done over the past two weeks, which is beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady ON THE ROAD. Keep in mind, the Ravens ended their season losing four out of five, including a losses to Charlie Batch and Andy Dalton in weeks 13 and 17, respectively.
With all this being said, Super Bowl XLVII probably won’t be as exciting as a game with Brady and one of the Mannings. But let’s not make any judgments beforehand. Kaepernick has an opportunity to prove he can compete at this level, and Flacco has a chance to prove what he’s been trying to prove for so long… that he’s a proven elite QB.
At the very least, you should record the game. That way you’ll still be able to tune into any of Beyoncé’s possible wardrobe malfunctions while fast-forwarding through this potential snooze-fest.