The grand ole show down

Keltin Wiens

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The Prairie Blog. Art by Chris Brockman.

The Prairie Blog. Art by Chris Brockman.

Here we are again; another Super Bowl is upon us. This year, it’s Super Bowl XLVII. (That’s 47 for those of you whose Roman numeral knowledge may be a little rusty.) The previous 46 Super Bowls have all been very popular and very big events, but I don’t think that there will be another one quite like this one. Why? This party is full of great stories.

First, there’s the matchup: the Baltimore Ravens versus the San Francisco 49ers. Digging back through a little history, this is a matchup of two of the classic teams in the NFL. The 49ers have been in the NFL since 1950, or when Harry Truman was president. The Ravens used to be the Cleveland Browns until the late Art Modell controversially moved the team from “C-Town” in 1996 and the team became the filler of the empty hole caused by the departure of the Colts to Indianapolis in 1984. Both of the 2012 versions of these classic teams have their very own story lines that give pundits fits about who to predict.

For the Ravens, the compelling story is two-fold. First, back in September, Modell, who helped define the modern NFL, passed away. This led to the team wearing patches on their jerseys in his honor. Second is the story of the last remaining original Baltimore Raven, Ray Lewis. Unquestionably the best linebacker in NFL history, Lewis tore his triceps earlier in the season before announcing at the end of the regular season that he was coming back for the playoffs and will retire at the end of the season. For 17 years, Lewis has been the emotional leader of the team and now, with his retirement on the horizon, the team is now playing off of emotion, helping the Ravens to improbable road wins in Denver and New England.

The 49ers have their own set of interesting stories. One of them is, of course, quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The second-year player out of Nevada has helped the young quarterbacks take the NFL by storm. After gaining the starting job over Alex Smith in the middle of the season, his excellent play at the end of the season and in the postseason, he has taken the 49ers from Super Bowl hopeful to Super Bowl participant. Kaepernick’s 181 rushing yards against the Packers in the Divisional round probably helped too.

Finally, the coaches are going to steal the show. For the Ravens, it’s John Harbaugh; for the 49ers, their man is Jim Harbaugh. The brothers, separated by a little over a year (John is the older), will be the first brothers to meet in the Super Bowl. During this Super Bowl week, much will be made of how the two will interact with each other while they are in New Orleans.

But when Super Bowl Sunday gets here, all the stories will be forgotten and it will be time to play the game. So who will win? As much as I love Ray Lewis and his story and the Ravens’ effort to rally around him, I think his career ends in a loss. That’s right, I’m picking the 49ers, 28-24.

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