Tag Archives: Super Bowl

Photo Courtesy of Forbes.com

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview

By Annie Moore

 

At first glance, Super Bowl XLVIII looks to be a clash between the powerhouse offense of the Denver Broncos and the league-leading defense of the Seattle Seahawks. But the league championship games provide a better look at the threats presented by both teams, on both sides of the ball.

 

Super Bowl XLVIII will be just the fifth Super Bowl since the AFC-NFC merger to pit the leading scoring offense in the league , against the leading scoring defense.

 

Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense have put up big numbers in almost every game this season. Manning eclipsed league records for touchdowns and passing yards in a single season — 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards to date. And why not? With a slew of targets from Wes Welker to Demaryius and Julius Thomas and Eric Decker, to name a few.

 

On the opposite side of the contest, the Seahawks defense has been shutting down some of the most elite offenses in the country.  In 16 games, Seattle allowed a combined 231 points, which led the league. Carolina was close behind with 241, San Francisco was next with 272, and the rest of the league was at least 70 more points behind.

 

This game is being highly touted as the best Super Bowl matchup in many years, these teams dominance has been talked about for weeks. What may be the biggest unknown and the x-factor in Super Bowl XLVIII, the weather.

 

The Meadowlands are anything if idyllic in early February and some would argue that planning a Super Bowl there is a recipe for disaster. Contingency plans have already been made in case of extreme winter weather or dangerous storm systems on the East Coast.

 

But, no matter what day the game is played on, what the weather conditions are, and wherever Roger Goodell decides to sit, Super Bowl XLVIII looks to be a great game, a truly Super, Super Bowl.

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Super Bowl Column: 49ers have rich tradition of excellence

By Xavier Bleuel

The San Francisco 49ers came into Super Bowl 47 steeped in tradition. Only a few professional teams can match the overall success of the 49ers. The owner of five Vince Lombardi and six George Halas trophies, 49er fans expect greatness from their football team. They won four Super Bowl titles in the 1980s—the most dominant stretch one team has ever had in any decade in the Super Bowl era.

They are home to 12 Hall-of-Fame members. Just a few members of that list include the best quarterback of all time, Joe Montana, or Joe “Cool,” without a doubt the best wide receiver to ever lace up the cleats; Jerry Rice, the hardest hitting safety this game has ever seen; Ronnie Lott; and another top-five quarterback of all-time, Steve Young. The 49ers play in one of the most iconic venues in all of football: Candlestick Park, nestled on western shore of San Francisco Bay.

The 49ers as an organization itself holds a few Super Bowl records, and a plethora of players hold individual records in the big game. They are a perfect 5-0 in the big game. In Super Bowl XXIV, the 49ers broke two records: most points scored in a game and margin of victory in a 55-10 blowout of the John Elway led Denver Broncos. Under the biggest lights, the 49ers have shined.

However, before last season, the 49ers had missed the playoffs in nine consecutive seasons. They changed head coaches on four different occasions. This was not what the 49er faithful had been used to. Change needed to be made. They had drafted well; the 49ers were one of the more talented teams in the league. What was missing was leadership, a voice that men would follow to the end. That search ended when a former pro-bowl quarterback turned coach was hired on. From day one, Jim Harbaugh, former Indianapolis Colts star, instilled a level of commitment and excellence that has resulted in an NFC champion appearance and now a Super Bowl appearance.

This year’s team came into this season void of a Super Bowl appearance the year prior. In the 2011-12 NFC Championship game, two special teams’ fumbles in a game they dominated start to finish against the eventual champions, the New York Giants, cost them the opportunity to advance to the Super Bowl. That left a bitter taste in the mouth of a very young, physical, and talented team.

However, in this year’s pre-season, many experts pegged the 49ers as the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

The 49ers finished the regular season with an 11-4-1 record. Notable wins came against Green Bay, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, and New England. The team that seemed to have the 49ers’ number were the St. Louis Rams, tying in one game and losing the other.

The biggest news of the season came in week 10 when starter Alex Smith suffered a concussion. Thus, Harbaugh called upon unknown second year backup Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick was a raw talent if there ever was one. At 6’5” and 233 pounds, he had the size. Running a 40 yard dash in 4.5 seconds, he had the speed. Add a laser rocket arm and he had all of the physical tools you need to play in the league. But could he combine deadly accuracy with the cannon of an arm? Coach Harbaugh believed he could. In his fist draft as an NFL coach as he traded up in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL draft to select the young man out of the University of Nevada.

In his first start against the Chicago Bears, not only did he answer those questions with a resounding yes, but also far exceeding any expectations with an outstanding performance throwing for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns against one of the league best defenses. The biggest surprise wasn’t what Kaepernick did; its what he didn’t do: turn the ball over against a defense that led the league in take-a-ways.

Kaepernick never lost the job after that performance. Coach Harbaugh caught fire from the media for not determining a permanent starter between Kaepernick and Smith. On one hand he had a quarterback in Alex Smith that had been through many ups-and-downs with the franchise and was working his way to become one of the better quarterbacks in the league; but her could also go with the most dynamic quarterback the league has seen since Michael Vick. Week 15 was when the decision was final and Kaepernick was the permanent starter. The reason why was the added dimensions that he adds with his legs as well as his arm.

The Super Bowl marked his 10th NFL start, which stands as the third fewest starts ever to make it to the big game.

RL

Super Bowl Column: Ray Lewis’ talent trumps personal issues

By Nick Zelano–

When it comes to the NFL playoffs and especially the Super Bowl, no stage is bigger in sports. When it comes to media day on Super Bowl week, there is literally nothing that compares across the board of the wide world of sports. Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens were all set to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Feb. 3rd at 6:30p.m. and arrived in New Orleans to begin practice last Sunday. This is as normal as can be when it comes to Super Bowl week, and teams were arriving with the one focus and the one task at hand — to win the championship and have their team go down in history as champs.

This week had a different feel to it, though. Along with all of the questions and talk about the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, facing each other in the biggest game in sports,  there’s also been talk about how a quarterback who has only started nine games for the 49ers has made it to the playoffs. In both cases, these storylines are valid and interesting. However, they are going up against one of the biggest stories of the entire year in all of sports, the retirement of Ravens future Hall-of-Fame linebacker, Ray Lewis.

Some fans may be tired of hearing about his retirement and his last game, but the reality of the situation is that it is a very big deal. Ray Lewis transformed the linebacker position into what it is today with his athletic build, preparation and skillful play. He is simply one of the greatest defensive players to ever play the game, and his retirement deserves to be celebrated because he was such a tremendous player to have watched throughout the last 17 seasons. At 37, and with repaired triceps from an injury that took place earlier in the season, he is still dominating the postseason with a team high of 44 tackles. With a shocking win in Denver during the Divisional Championship round of the playoffs, and then a dominating performance of the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, Lewis has led the Baltimore Ravens team out of their shell and back into the light.

Of course with the popularity of the Super Bowl and the craziness of media day, it’s hard not to recall Ray Lewis’s past life troubles. He has been acquitted of murder and charged with obstruction of justice; he has had four wives and children spread amongst those wives. However, these personal struggles that Lewis has had to deal with over his life have made him the person he is today. He has learned from his mistakes and moved on using his family, religion and leadership qualities to be a great spokesman and ambassador for the NFL. On numerous occasions, Ray Lewis has reached out to help and guide troubled young football players towards a brighter future.

Whether or not audiences respect Ray Lewis as a person, it’s time to take a step back and realize just how significant it has been to watch Lewis play throughout the years, and for the last time on Super Bowl Sunday.

sports@louisvillecardinal.com
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