Many story lines for Sunday’s big game

John
John Turner
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It must have been a wild family reunion in New Orleans with two brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, facing off in the Super Bowl. 

If you sit back and think about it, here are these two brothers who used to share a bedroom together, wrestle and fight in the back yard, play high school football together, take different paths in college, one plays in NFL and finally both become coaches in the NFL.

Isn’t it truly amazing that two brothers are good enough to coach in the NFL, and then have the ability to get their teams to the Super Bowl? 

What are the odds that their parents, Jack and Jackie, would even think their sons would ever become NFL coaches, let alone face off in the Super Bowl?

Wow that is just crazy! Well, enough of all the talk, here is a look at some interesting facts about the Super Bowl, and don’t forget to read The Freak’s Saturday column for in-depth analysis on the game and the “Super prediction.”

Super Bowl Facts

- This will be the 10th Super Bowl in the city of New Orleans, tying Miami for the most in one city.

- In all the New Orleans’ Super Bowls, the games have not been very close. The average score has been 30-10, and only one game being decided by less than 10 points (Pats-Rams). Hopefully, this isn’t a sign of things to come as we all want a close and exciting game.

- 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had only seven regular-season starts, and only one quarterback with fewer starts than Kaepernick has won a Super Bowl. The New York Giants’ Jeff Hostetler won the Super Bowl with only four starts.

- Baltimore became the second team since 1990 to advance to the Super Bowl after losing three of their last four regular-season games. The other team to do this was the 2009 New Orleans Saints, who beat the Indy Colts to win their first championship.

- San Fran entered the playoffs as a No. 2 seed in the NFC, and the No. 2 seeds have won six Super Bowls since 1990. Only No. 1 seeds have done better, winning nine times in the same time period.

- Ray Lewis was the Super Bowl XXXV MVP against the New York Giants.

- In six of the past eight seasons, a seed in the No. 4, 5 or 6 slot has made the Super Bowl. Those teams are 4-1 in the big game, knocking off a No.1 or No.2 seed in all four of the wins.

- The last nine Super Bowls have been decided by an average margin of less than seven points.

- Last four Super Bowls have averaged at least 48 points.

- The NFC has won 14 of the last 15 coin tosses.

Surprising Super Bowl XLVII Facts:

- In his 17 years in the NFL, who did Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis get his first NFL career sack against?

The Freak texted a number of friends and no one got it right, but some great guesses like Drew Bledsoe, Steve McNair, Tommy Maddox, etc. The correct answer is Jim Harbaugh, who was the quarterback of the Indy Colts on Oct. 13, 1996.

- For only the second time in the Super Bowl-era, Baltimore (lost to Patriots) and San Fran (lost to Giants), which lost the previous season in both the AFC and NFC Championship games, made it to the Super Bowl the following season.

- Jim Harbaugh and Lewis were teammates as he was traded from the Colts to the Ravens in 1998 for a third- and fourth-round pick, and went 5-7 as Baltimore’s starter.

Facts and figures:

- The smartest player in this year’s game would have to be Harvard graduate and Baltimore’s starting centre, Matt Birk.

- The creators of the movie “Blindside,” the life story of Ravens tackle Michael Oher, may need to change the ending if he wins the Super Bowl.

- 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was raised by his grandmother, who has never watched any of his games from high school to college and now the NFL. She was asked if Vernon plays in a Super Bowl will she watch the game? She said “I doubt it.”

- Play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz may have some difficulty, especially if “Smith (Torrey) catches the ball and is tackled by Smith (Justin) and Smith (Aldon). There are five Smiths (Alex, Jimmy) in this game.

- Every team passed on Kaepernick in the 2011 NFL draft, and five quarterbacks were drafted ahead of him – Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton. The jury is still out on this class, but Newton and Dalton look solid.

- Kaepernick is the sixth-youngest quarterback to start in a Super Bowl

- It’s the first time in 10 Super Bowls that a Manning, Roethlisberger or a Brady isn’t playing.

- Kaepernick has already won in New Orleans this season against the Saints.

Super Bowl quotes

Colin Kaepernick: “Pressure comes from the lack of preparation.”

Brendon Ayanbadejo: “You can go to a Super Bowl anytime you want, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in one. We just told the guys that if you want to go to a Super Bowl, go in a year when the Ravens aren’t in it and you can enjoy all the festivities. This is a business trip.”

Jackie Harbaugh (mother): “These are difficult times when you are playing against your brother. But, at the end of the day, it is still about family and feelings for one another. I know one is going to win and one is going to lose, but I like it to end in a tie. Can the NFL do that?”

Super Bowl questions

Is it just The Freak, but shouldn’t both first-ballot Hall of Famers Randy Moss and Ed Reed, who are both probably playing in their last NFL game as well, be getting some press as well?

What do you think the winning brother will say to the losing brother after the game?

How do you stop the run option of the 49ers?

Don’t you think most professional athletes could learn a lot from how professional Alex Smith has been since losing his starting quarterback job?

Are you sick of the Ray Lewis sendoff party?

Facts

Super Bowl quick facts:

National anthem: Alicia Keys.

Kickoff time: 7:30 p.m.

Halftime show: Beyonce.

Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms.

Network: CBS.

Cost for 30 second commercial: $3.8 million.

Referee: Jerome Boger.

Super Bowl records: San Francisco 5-0; Baltimore 1-0.

Last Super Bowl: San Francisco (Super Bowl XXIX, Jan. 29, 1995); Baltimore (Super Bowl XXXV, Jan. 28, 2001.

Baltimore players with Super Bowl experience: Ray Lewis, James Ihedigbo, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Anquan Boldin, Dennis Dixon.

San Francisco players with Super Bowl experience: Randy Moss, Clark Haggans, David Akers, Mario Manningham (IR).

John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

Organizations: NFL, New York Giants, Ravens Pats-Rams New Orleans Saints

Geographic location: Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami San Francisco Summerside

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