JOE COOL

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Ray Lewis has gone out a champion. But that’s not the image we’ll be seeing on sportscenter. Joe Flacco has lead his team to a super bowl win. He’s graduated from the quarterback who just couldn’t take his team all the way. The game was an incredible one with the power outage bringing the 49ers back to life, but somehow the Ravens held on.

The Ravens have had a long and winding road to this one. It’s been tough with lots of criticism, injuries and wondering. But now that it’s over, you now have to start asking questions – how did Joe Flacco manage to do this? Just a little while ago, he was that quarterback who simply couldn’t finish. Now he ended up with an MVP trophy. He has become more and more confident, helping his game improve.

I’ll admit, I got the pick wrong. But that is the beauty of sports. It’s unpredictable and you can’t call anything until it happens. There are miracles. The 49ers were a better team all season, and the Ravens simply got hot.

They plowed through the 49ers during the first half, leaving them at 28-6 before the power outage before the 49ers rallied to bring it within 2 points. But Joe Flacco crossed the line from good to great to elite. He stayed cool and collected and took them down the field to put them 5 points up. The end came soon for the Niners.

Congratulations, Joe.

Welcome to the club.

The pregame hype was all about Lewis. But the game was all Flacco.

The pregame hype was all about Lewis. But the game was all Flacco.

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Super Selection, Quarter by Quarter

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I promised I would do it! And with a mere five hours left in my time span, I have done it. So without any further ado, my Super Bowl pick.

QUARTER 1:
After a 3 and 1/2 hour long pre game dance and 4 and 1/2 hours crying on the field after the star spangled banner, Ray Lewis finally agrees to walk off the field to start the game with a kickoff to the 49ers. They get off to a fast start, hitting two or three long passes, but failure in the red zone leaves them with a field goal – 3-0 49ers. The Ravens get the ball for the first time, and it’s clear what their game plan is – Ray Rice. Rice continues to smash through the hole and Flacco hits Boldin for less than five yards for the touchdown, putting the Ravens up at 7-3. Colin Kapernick adds a whole other dimension to this game, and starts proving it in a no-huddle, run, pass or QB draw drive only taking two minutes to reach the end zone with a 15 yard Kapernick throw to Vernon Davis, in which he does the famous bible kiss. The Ravens will get it back but end up punting, giving the 49ers the first possession of…

QUARTER 2:
The 49ers, however fall to a three and out with a Lewis sack of Kapernick, which will be his only sack of the night. The Ravens will get 2 first downs, but not enough to extend the drive. The 49ers will take a long, methodical drive down the field, mostly with Frank Gore runs, ending in a field goal, putting the game score at 13-7. Flacco takes the Ravens to the 50 or so, but throws a pick and the 49ers take possesion at the Ravens’ 40. Akers takes a 55 yard try, but misses. The Ravens, however, do not squander their chance and put the game within 3 points, at 13-10 right before halftime.

During halftime, Beyonce will freeze up and break down – never to sing again, and the medics will prove she was a robot all along. A last gasp attempt of replacing her with Justin Bieber also doesn’t work, because he breaks down too.

QUARTER 3:

The Ravens receive the ball with a touchback. Flacco decides he needs to pick up the pace, and after three fifteen yard games, he bombs the ball to Smith for a 45 yard touchdown reception. 17-13 becomes the score. The 49ers pick up the ball at their own 30, but do literally nothing. The same happens for the rest of the quarter. Let’s hope there are some good ads that quarter.

QUARTER 4: The Ravens can’t squeeze out a touchdown or a field goal after going wide left from a 49 yard try. The 49ers end up punting. The Ravens punt, which looks hopeful for San Fran. But, coming up a yard short forces them to do the exact same thing. All the Ravens have to do is get one score, but they can’t. The 49ers get the ball with 2:30 to go. Kapernick fires one pass, then another, then Kapernick runs it through for the touchdown with 15 seconds to go. For the first time in Super Bowl history, there is

OVERTIME: The Ravens get the ball first and manage to put in a field goal. It’s just one defensive stop. Don’t let them score and they win. The Ravens force the 49ers to 4th and 6 at their own 30 yard line. Nobody is open. So after a miracle block from Frank Gore, Kapernick runs 35 yards for a first down and possession in Ravens territory. After Frank Gore runs for 2 first downs, it’s 1st and 10 at the Ravens 22. A 22 yard pass to Vernon Davis seals the deal.

Colin Kapernick and the 49ers walk off gloriously. The final score: 49ers, 27. Ravens, 23. Your super bowl MVP is Colin Kapernick.

And so begins the baseball waiting.

2 painful legacies, and only one victory

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It’s looked promising for the past two or three years. The promised land was close. The ship was sailing, and others recognized the threat. Last year, only a last second blow from an eastern force kept them from destiny. Now the only thing lying between them and destiny – is the brother.

This isn’t a story of David and Goliath. There is no “Real” favorite. While one team looks a bit stronger then the other, you can’t pick this game right away.

Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh grew up competitors. But I don’t think they ever got to this level of competition in the backyard. The parents will be watching, that’s for sure. I don’t think they’ll be picking sides.

Both the Ravens and 49ers came painfully close last year. And now, one is going to come even more painfully close – and fall.

I am very excited for the super bowl, even though my Patriots aren’t there. Kapernick will add a second dimension to it – the first non “Power arm” quarterback in the super bowl for quite a while.

For Ray Lewis, this is his swansong. A loss here would mean eternal pain for him later on – to come so close in that final season only to lose. This isn’t just his battle though – he’s a general in the battle of the defenses.

It will be a slugfest, no doubt. But this game will mean even more than usual for the coaches – they could win, but send their brother home with pain. However, I think they both don’t care about that yet. Last year hurt too much to be sympathizing for the other. Right now, I think all they care about – and maybe all they will ever care about – is replacing those 2012 memories with 2013 victories.

Sidenote: I will do more pieces on the Harbowl, and will be doing the same thing with my super bowl prediction as last year, 4 quarters, 4 posts, 4 days, all ending on Super Bowl Sunday.

Judgement Day for Flacco and Ryan

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RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK, NEW YORK; APRIL 26th, 2008.

“With the third pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Matt Ryan, from Boston College.”
“With the eighteenth pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Joe Flacco, from The University of Deleware.”

And so began an era. After two failures at the QB position, two fired coaches, it was time.

All of the sudden, the Ravens & Falcons were in the playoffs, one year later. The Ravens were one win away from the Super Bowl, and the Falcons were defeated in the wild card round – a disappointing end, but a promising future. The next year, the Falcons missed the playoffs, but ended with a winning record. The Ravens made the playoffs, and lost in the Divisional Round. In 2010, they both made the playoffs, but they failed to move past the divisional round, another sad end to a promising season. The Ravens came within a missed field goal last year, but the Falcons couldn’t get past the wild-card round.

So now it’s time.

After all of those losses, people have said – “They don’t have playoff experience”, or that they are “Still young – maybe next year”. Well, this is next year.

Ryan finally jumped the Hurdle of getting a playoff win, and the Ravens made a huge upset over the Broncos, but that doesn’t matter anymore. In all honesty, these two games are the second-most important of the season. Here’s the thing though – in some of these wins for Flacco, he was dismal. Other times, he was great. Ryan hasn’t been so good in his playoff games either, except for that last one.

But they need to finally prove they can lead their team to a Super Bowl. The promising season is this season. In all honesty, if they can’t do it this year, I don’t think they can do it at all.

They have their playoff experience, they are at their prime. This game could define an entire career –

They had better not mess it up.

Revenge Bowl, Newbie Bowl, Boring Bowl, or Soup Bowl?

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There are 4 teams left. Tomorrow there will be two. The teams are yet to be specified, but here’s what I have to say. The Super Bowl could be the revenge bowl, the newbie bowl, or the boring bowl. Winner takes all. You obviously know what the revenge bowl is, the boring bowl would be Ravens VS Giants, or Ravens VS Niners, and the newbie bowl would be Niners VS Pats. I really personally think nobody would watch a boring bowl, but hey, we’re all entitled to opinions. Happy Conference Weekend!

Divisional round wrapup

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In my opinion, this is where it gets interesting. Number one and two seeds have to face the hot 3,4,5’s and sixes. The Giants were the only real upsets, beating the Pack. A new super bowl champion will be crowned! The ravens pats and niners were all favorites, so it looks like we have some great games ahead of us. As Aaron Rodgers said a couple days ago, “It’s real alright.”