CLEVELAND - If the big game prestige is not enough to draw you in, here are 47 reasons why you really need to watch Super Bowl XLVII:
What other way to begin than with this fun tidbit that’s way under the radar: two brothers are coaching against each other! They’re Jim and John and their last name Harbaugh lends itself to many Super Bowl puns.
II. Ray Lewis
If you also hadn’t heard, this will be the Ravens’ linebacker’s last game. Lewis likes dancing and making motivational speeches, so you can expect those if the Ravens are hoisting the trophy. He’s also involved in Super Bowl week’s weirdest storyline (so far).
III. Linebacking linchpins
There will indeed be other linebackers besides Lewis patrolling the field Sunday. A few are quite talented and fun to watch, in fact. Ravens teammate Terrell Suggs will work to contain the Niners’ option rushing attack. The Niners have a fearsome tackling tandem in the middle of the defense with Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman.
IV. Lipsync or live?
All eyes and ears will be focused toward Beyonce when she performs the Super Bowl halftime show. Will she sing live after the inauguration backlash? (That's a mystery). Is this a prop bet in Vegas? (Not yet but there are others ). And will it be controversy-free? (Most likely not, judging by recent history ).
Because you haven’t made it as a sports star until your name becomes an -ing verb that can be trademarked for the purpose of tons of memorabilia. I’m kissing my non-existent bicep just thinking about it.
VI. Celebrity girlfriends
Katherine Webb became an Internet sensation after college football’s title game, so much so that she’s now covering the Super Bowl. Someone's galpal could be next though it definitely won't be Manti Te’o’s girlfriend (because we haven't heard enough lame jokes about that in the past couple weeks).
VII. O.J. Brigance
One story surrounding this Super Bowl you really should check out if you haven’t yet. Brigance was the Ravens' special-teams captain when they won their first title. Now the team’s senior advisor to player development, he has ALS and speaks through a computer.
VII. Rice and Gore
Sounds like one for the political junkies but it’s really two ground grinders who can have game-changing impacts. Both teams are at their best when they remember running backs Ray Rice and Frank Gore set up big passing plays. Sometimes that seems to go by the wayside.
Always a fun part of the watching experience, 2013's crop looks to have some doozies.
IX. Gold rush
Aldon Smith’s 19 1/2 sacks left him three shy of the single-season record. The mark for most sacks in a Super Bowl? 3 by Reggie White in XXXI and Darnell Dockett in XLIII.
History could be made as San Francisco goes for an NFL record-tying sixth Super Bowl victory. The Ravens are 1-0 in Super Bowls and will try to keep their mark unblemished.
XI. Flacco for real?
Winning a Super Bowl helps ascend quarterbacks to greatness. Joe Flacco has faced a knock of inconsistency through his career but a title can change that notion - just ask Eli Manning.
XII. New Orleans
The Big Easy provides a backdrop full of character, hosting its first post-Katrina Super Bowl. NOLA loves throwing big parties and they’ll get another when Mardi Gras begins Wednesday.
XIII. Alex Smith
He’s the NFL version of Wally Pipp, the Yankee who missed a game, was replaced by Lou Gehrig and never got his job back. Smith suffered a concussion, had to sit and so began the Kaepernick era. It was by no fault of Smith's, who had resurrected his career and was having another strong year. He’ll watch from the sidelines Sunday.
XIV. Wings, pizza, drinks
Food is half the fun, especially if you don’t care who wins. There’s no better excuse for indulging on a work night than Super Bowl Sunday. Just make sure to put some Tums on the shopping list - and check out our list of Super Bowl deals .
XV. Shannon Sharpe
The former Ravens tight end and CBS analyst is not afraid to be honest, notably taking on Bill Belichick for being a sore loser after declining a postgame interview after the Patriots’ AFC Championship loss to the Ravens.
XVI. Big Apple references
Next year’s Super Bowl will be played outdoors at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, setting up the possibility for cold, wintry conditions. You’ll probably hear plenty about how problematic this could be, so naturally expect unseasonably warm temperatures.
XVII. It’s not the Pro Bowl
XVIII. David Akers
If you revel in the possibility of drama, Akers could be a good bet. The kicker who had been a model of consistency for years took a volatile turn in 2012. He could be the next Scott Norwood - or Adam Vinatieri. Glory or goat’s a common theme with kickers in the big game.
XIX. Justin Tucker
The Ravens’ rookie kicker has been the anti-Akers this season, connecting on 90 percent of his field goal attempts.
Somewhere Lee Evans,
Billy Cundiff and Kyle Williams will be watching and can feel a little better after their costly miscues factored in these two teams falling one game short of Super Bowl XLVI. Evans dropped a potential game-winning touchdown, then Cundiff missed a game-tying field goal to crush Baltimore’s hopes. Williams fumbled not once but twice in crucial situations, the second setting up the Giants in field goal position for an OT win.
XXI. Falling confetti
Losing players, like ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, call it the worst part of the game – watching the other team revel in title glory, colored paper falling on the field.
XXII. Best receiver debate
49ers receiver Randy Moss made some waves at Media Day when he said he was the great receiver ever . Apparently he hasn’t heard of 49er great Jerry Rice or his bevy of records.
XXIII. New Blood
It’s the first Super Bowl since 2002 without Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger.
XXIV. Saved by the Bell to Super Bowl
Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh made a cameo on Saved by the Bell back in the day. Tell me he’s not cooler now.
You want to be the one that’s right about everything regarding the Super Bowl from the final score to amount of chips Billy eats in the 3rd quarter.
XXVI. Obama on head injuries
For the fourth consecutive year, the president will be interviewed in the pregame coverage, this time by CBS’ Scott Pelley. Obama’s comments this week about player safety have put even more scrutiny on the issue.
XXVII. Lombardi Trophy
It's always special seeing the prized trophy on display - that is unless you can't stand the team that's on the podium celebrating with it.
The NFC has won the last three Super Bowls but that's still a long way to go from the conference's 13-year Super Bowl dominance from 1984-1996.
XXIX. Twitter talk
If you're bored, pull out your smartphone and you'll be sure to find plenty of Super Bowl buzz on social media. Last year's Super Bowl set Twitter records for tweets sent per second.
XXX. “The NFL won’t exist in 30 years”
Enjoy it while you can, so says Ravens safety Bernard Pollard at least. In the wake of calls for change due to head injuries, Pollard went on a scattered rant in which he opined that the game is becoming watered down and fans will get fed up.
XXXI. Michael Phelps
The most decorated Olympian of all-time hails from the Baltimore area and is a big Ravens fan.
XXXII. Vernon Davis
Explosive and athletic, Davis is often an enigma. He sputtered through most of the season but then blew up in last week’s NFC Championship game. Atlanta couldn’t cover him but Baltimore will have to devote attention to the player former coach Mike Singletary once called “uncoachable.”
XXXIII. Puppy Bowl
Just in case someone at the party needs a football break: The "Puppy Bowl" airs from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday on Animal Planet and repeats until 3 a.m.
XXXIV. Youth vs. experience
Young quarterbacks typically struggle against the Ravens D that includes mainstays like Lewis and safety Ed Reed. Super Bowl XLVII will be just the tenth start of Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career.
XXXV. Art Modell
Scorned in Cleveland and savior in Baltimore, Modell will be in the news this week months after his death. The Ravens will wear a black “Art” patch on their Super Bowl XLVII jerseys and the Hall of Fame will announce Saturday if the man who moved the Browns will be enshrined in Canton.
XXXVI. Unsung contributors
One on each team’s offense who make can make an impact: Ravens fullback Vonta Leach makes a difference everywhere he goes, a lead blocker who fuels top run games. 49ers tight end Delanie Walker isn’t the athletic freak like Vernon Davis but if you don’t pay him attention, you will pay.
XXXVII: Clay Matthews
The Packers linebacker will be an analyst for CBS’ pregame coverage. Will he be as entertaining on set as on the gridiron?
XXXVIII. Ravens receivers
Torrey Smith was electric in Denver, schooling all-pro corner Champ Bailey multiple times. Jacoby Jones also made his mark in that upset, inexplicably getting past the Broncos’ secondary for the game-tying touchdown late in regulation. Veteran Anquan Boldin took over in the AFC Championship win last week in New England. If you’re looking for a Super Bowl MVP candidate that’s not a quarterback, Boldin or Smith could be in the running by game’s end.
XXXIX. Hard-hitting safeties
San Francisco’s Donte Whitner and Baltimore’s Bernard Pollard can both lay the lumber. Pollard has a particular pension for doing just that when New England is the opponent. Whitner, an Ohio State grad, has flourished for the 49ers after a disappointing start in Buffalo.
XL. Big men
2,760: The total weight of San Francisco’s linemen and tight ends used in a goal line package in the NFC Championship.
You can look like Colin Kaepernick thanks to this website that sells temporary tattoos that replicate the quarterback’s. KaeperTats do not, however, promise increased
speed, athleticism or arm strength.
XLII. There must be a winner
In Week 10, the 49ers and Rams finished in a 24-24 tie (they almost did again in their second meeting of the season too). Super Bowl IX was the last time a team with a regular season tie won the title, when 13-3-1 Pittsburgh defeated Minnesota.
XLIII. Papa knows best
Peyton won’t be on the field but you’ll still probably see him on your TV chatting with Papa about pizza. If you go on the Papa John’s website and correctly predict the coin toss you can get free pizza. Maybe it will taste better if you don’t have to pay for it.
XLIV. Alicia Keys
Beyonce showed us the national anthem can actually be unpredictable. Keys will do the honor before Super Bowl XLVII and brace yourself now, she says it will be a "new" version .
XLV. Speedy Duck
This is definitely not referring to Chip Kelly who was anything but swift in his decision-making about heading to the NFL. Another former Duck LaMichael James is fast on the field and has proven a solid second option to Frank Gore in the Niners backfield.
XLVI. Jim Caldwell
The Ravens' new offensive coordinator has worked out so well that fired Cam Cameron called it a "brilliant move." The switch came when the Ravens were struggling and has paid dividends, the offense racking up more than 400 yards a game with Caldwell, the former Colts head coach, at the helm.
XLVII. Magic moments
You can’t predict them but you had to be watching to say you saw “Wide Right,” “The Helmet Catch,” or “One Yard Short” live. The lesson here is don’t go to bed early - you might miss something awesome.
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