Because we’re still two weeks out from Super Bowl XLVII and the national media has already beaten the head-coaching angle to a bloody pulp, I thought it might be more interesting to look at some of the hows and whys behind the matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
Primary among those is that, in a league where most head coaches are loathe to anything remotely unconventional for fear it might blow up in their face, it was a pair of unconventional decisions that helped propel the Ravens and 49ers to New Orleans.
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh benched quarterback Alex Smith despite the fact that before Smith suffered a concussion at midseason, he was playing the best football of his career.
Instead, Harbaugh turned the offense over to second-year man Colin Kaepernick and the rest, as they say, is history.
In Baltimore, John Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron late in the season and turned the play-calling over to Jim Caldwell, who had been the Ravens’ quarterback coach but prior to the promotion, he had called as many plays in an NFL game as I had.
The biggest winner on Sunday had to be Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who just earned himself a big ol’ pile of cashy money.
He’s in his contract year and will be a free agent this winter. The win over the New England Patriots Sunday night boosted his career playoff record to 8-4 and his six road playoff wins are the most by any quarterback, ever.
While most, if not all, of the sentimental talk will be about future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis playing his final game in the Super Bowl, there are a couple of other guys going to New Orleans that have interesting tales to tell.
Baltimore center Matt Birk and San Francisco wide receiver Randy Moss were rookie teammates for the Minnesota Vikings team that went 15-1 in 1998, but fell short of the Super Bowl.
Moss at least got to the big game once before; he was with the undefeated Patriots team that lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
For Birk, this is his first—and probably only—Super Bowl appearance, as he is likely going to retire at season’s end.
Moss may have gotten an extra bit of satisfaction Sunday from beating the Atlanta Falcons—the team that kept that great Vikings team from advancing.