Super Bowl Fever Sets In
Anyone familiar with me or my blog should know by now that my favorite professional sport is, and will always be, NFL football. And my team of choice is none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of more Super Bowls and conference championships than any other team in the league’s history.
Of course, they will also watch the Super Bowl from home after a mediocre, injury-filled season of disappointment, but that’s a story for another time.
On one side you have the San Francisco 49ers from the NFC, a team with a history of great quarterbacks and Super Bowl victories, but a more recent past peppered with losses, personnel problems and a dwindling fan base. In the last few years, however, the 49ers have returned to prominence due in large part to their stifling defense and very capable coach, Jim Harbaugh, who is taking his team to their second consecutive conference championship.
The San Francisco offense has been more of a challenge though, as evidenced by their heartbreaking 20-17 loss in last season’s NFC championship game against the New York Giants, who went on to win the Super Bowl. To prevent the same issues in 2012, the team signed a number of new players, including the good-but-fading wide receiver Randy Moss and former Giants receiver Mario Cunningham. It obviously paid off because this season, the 49ers offense has been hitting on all cylinders.
Granted, there was plenty of drama in San Francisco when star quarterback Alex Smith was injured, replacement Colin Kaepernick stepped in and the team continued to win. Once Smith returned, Coach Harbaugh stuck with Kaepernick–the general rule being that you never pull a player who’s hot–and drew tons of criticism for keeping his high-dollar quarterback on the bench.
Those same critics were silenced the moment San Francisco made the playoffs and continued their winning streak during the post season. And now that they could potentially win the Super Bowl, I don’t expect to hear anyone talking smack about Harbaugh, at least not until next season.
Across the field from the 49ers will be the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens, a team I am proud to say comes from the same division as my beloved Steelers, the AFC North. Given the rivalry between these two teams over the years–not to mention all the losses the Steelers have incurred at the hands of the Ravens–I can’t claim to be a Baltimore fan. However, I am planning to pull for them on Sunday because a win reinforces just how tough our division is.
It also stings a little less to say my Steelers lost to the Super Bowl champions. And after this season, every little bit helps.
Another reason I find myself pulling for Baltimore this year is Ray Lewis, the all-pro linebacker who single-handedly changed the face of defense in the NFL. Before the regular season ended, Lewis announced his plans to retire. This revelation obviously revved up his teammates because now, Lewis has a chance to get his second Super Bowl ring and to go out on top.
This also means Ray won’t be around to harass my Steelers any more, which is another huge plus. Hopefully this will give us a better chance of winning, but it’s only a matter of time before some other player steps up to terrorize Big Ben and the rest of my guys. At the very least, though, this is a good start.
So whether you love football like me or simply enjoy the hype surrounding the Super Bowl, I hope you will tune in this Sunday. Regardless of the outcome, it should be an awesome game full of big hits, unbelievable performances and above all, tons of emotion.
I hope you win your ring, Ray Lewis. And I’m going to miss you… well, sort of.
Enjoy the game, everybody!
Posted on February 1, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged Baltimore Ravens, Colin Kaepernick, commentary, current-events, news, NFL, perspectives, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Lewis, San Francisco 49ers, sports, Super Bowl. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.