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The Ravens Have Landed!

They set to fly. It was flying season indeed. The wind was rough sometimes. But the Baltimore Ravens were undeterred. At the end, they landed and hoisted the Lombard Trophy. Victory was sweet.

     Superbowl XLVII is now in the books. My prediction was the Ravens would win. And they did. But how did they do it? Well, it was experience. Both teams were balanced but the Baltimore Ravens had an edge. I was surprised by many sports commentators who were writing the Ravens off. The surprising aspect was coming from the fact that these sports casters, some of them, used to play in the NFL. The question becomes of objectivity. Were they? I do not know but it seems like there was disdain for the Ravens and an obvious preference for the San Fransisco 49ers. Well, Baltimore proved them wrong. Ray Lewis proved key and extremely instrumental. This is not to take away from Joe Flacco's immaculate performance. Actually, Flacco is my Most Valuable Player for the game. I noticed on many occassions Lewis talking to Flacco when the 49ers were making their comeback surge. Flacco continued to remain as cool as a cucumber. He did not panic. He continued listening to one champion at his disposal, and that was Lewis. It makes a difference when you have somebody who has been there before.

     Flacco connected with one of his favorite receivers Anquawn Boldin in the first quarter to register their first touchdown.  And added one more before halft-time. Two big stories in the second half. Oh no, I beg your pardon, 3. Jacob Jones set an NFL record with a punt return of 108 yards  for a touchdown. The defensive line for the 49ers were chasing his shadow to no avail. The power outage came. It was bizzare. When play resumed, it seemed the outage kocked life out of the Ravens which allowed the 49ers to roll back to life. The game was exciting and electrifying. If you were a Raven fan, you thought the 4th quarter was a million years. If you were a 49ers fan you savored the quarter and you are thinking here we go again just like we did to Atlanta Falcons. Then the stamp of Ray Lewis came in the dying minutes of the game. Yes, 2 yard goal line. I must admit, Ray reads the game well. The way he was reading the offensive line and instructing some of his linebackers was amazing. Colin Kaepenick wanted to run in the end zone but the Ravens flew at him with explosive velocity. The velocity was so quick that Ed Reed might possibly have gotten away with an offside or, let me give him credit too, he was so fast to beat the offside trap. Yes, the goal line stand was huge and it gave the city of Baltimore the championship.

     The 49ers did their best. They could have pulled an upset but were too conservative especially on the goal line they failed to convert. The best strategy would have been to spread the offense. You cannot afford to run the ball particularly given the fact the Ravens were cluttering the middle. Instead, send a message, I am going to Rand Moss. Look at this way, you have four chances to throw the ball. However, out of those you have 4 chances to fake, that is boot-leg, and run or throw and then run on the next try. This makes your two next two tries unpredictable. The question would be, are they going to run or throw. Experience was a key factor. All the same, hats off to the San Fransico 49ers for a spirited performance. They gave the Ravens, a run for their money.

     Indeed the Superbow was interesting to watch. Congratulations the Baltimore Ravens and farewell Ray Lewis!

SUPERBOWL XLVII

All roads are leading to New Orleans Superdome this coming Sunday. Superbowl XVLII is here. Both teams have earned their final berth despite adversity after adversity. Now is the time to show who the real champion is. It is a big thing to go and play in the Superbowl. Many players rarely get this opportunity. And if it does come you cherish it forever. Who wouldn't anyway.

     This year's Superbowl is highly unusual. It starts with a backup quarterback who developed a hot hand last season after taking from no. 1 quarterback who suffered a concussion. Colin Kaepernick is living dream come true. Then, of course, the Harbough brothers! Yeah! Unusual ha? John coaches the Baltimore Ravens. Jim coaches the San Fransisco 49ers. They are brothers. John and Jim Harbaugh. Joe Flacco is finally having his big payday game. Win the Superbowl, he gets a huge paycheck and becomes one of the few youngest quarterbacks to win the NFL championship game. The story does not end there. There is Ray Lewis! Yes, Lewis is one of the most feared defensive linebacker in the NFL. He reads the game exceptionally well. He commands the team with respect and when he speaks the team listens. He does everything. Here is the the kicker! He is retiring after the Superbowl XVLII. Additionally, he is going to enter in the football hall of fame. Now you see why it is highly unusual. Oh, did I mention it is in New Orleans Superdome? Yes, I did. How that sea-food gumbo?

     On paper, it is a balanced game. However, when you take a closer look at it you come out with a different answer. From where we are looking at we think the Ravens will win. Experience matters the most. The running game for both teams is well oiled. 49ers Frank Gore is a monster while on the run. Ray Rice of the Ravens is hungry when he sees open real estate and you cannot deny him a touchdown. The question is who stays on the field the longest. Whoever it is, is likely to take the Lombardi Trophy home. We are still sticking with the Ravens. Of course Kaepernick has a hot hand and he is such a dangerous offensive weapon with his legs and deep throws. However, Joe Flacco's maturity is reassuring. Plus the Ravens have Ray Lewis who will come up with one or two interceptions. He also gets sacks.  There is Terrel Suggs who if he brings his "A" game, it is going to be a different game altogether. The Ravens have too many arsenals in their nest. There is Ed Reed. He is likley to take two key interceptions. If Joe Flacco is on point on Sunday and he targets Antawn Boldin, one of his favorite receivers, the City of Baltimore is going to explode.

     Well, we have a lot of Monday morning quartebacking to do next week. Stay tuned as we continue to bring more analysis of this huge game.

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