NFL OPINION: 'Who'll be dancing at the Super Dome?'
This Super Bowl has it all - brother v brother on the sideline, rookie quarterback v unheralded quarterback and, in Ray Lewis, a controversial figure who may have God on his side.
7DAYS sports boys love pulling an all-nighter to watch the extravaganza and here we predict which side will be brilliant in the Big Easy...
DANIEL FOUNTAIN SAYS...
RAVENS WILL FLY HIGH
OK, so history shows the Ravens’ one Super Bowl win is no match for the 100 per cent record of the 49ers. But if there is one thing driving Baltimore this season that San Francisco does not have - it’s ‘destiny’.
With the inspirational Ray Lewis announcing his retirement on the eve of the play-offs, his team-mates have beaten the odds each week since to give Lewis the chance to sign off in style. First the Colts, then Peyton Manning and the Broncos before Tom Brady’s Patriots - it’s fair to say the gridiron gods are smiling on these Ravens.
On the pitch, the key factor for Baltimore is the experience of quarterback Joe Flacco, who with five post-seasons under his belt will be better equipped to deal with the pressure-cooker atmosphere. Up against nine-game rookie Colin Kaepernick, it will be Flacco’s cool head under the spotlight that will triumph over youthful exuberance to give the Ravens - and Lewis - the unlikeliest of victories.
MARVIN FRANCE SAYS...
49ERS WILL STRIKE GOLD
Ray Lewis can go on about destiny all he wants but if anyone is destined to raise the Vince Lombardi trophy it’s San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick.
The NFL has undergone somewhat of a revolution this season with young, dynamic quarterbacks who are equally adept passing the football as they are running with it taking the game by storm. And while no one outside of San Francisco had heard of him prior to November 19, Kaepernick may just be the best of the lot.
These teams are extremely evenly matched on both sides of the ball, however, in Kaepernick, with his potent blend of precision passing and electric speed, the Niners have the X-factor and expect the tattooed playmaker to take apart the ageing Baltimore defence and mark this bold new era of quarterbacking in fitting fashion.