When Baltimore beats San Francisco 27-21 in Sundays Super Bowl, it wont be because Joe Flacco will outplay Colin Kaepernick. It wont be because Ray Lewis will do his dance or Ray Rice will squirt outside or Anquan Boldin will outmuscle somebody for a catch, although all that will happen.
Baltimore will win because the Ravens are a deeper team, one that has more worthy candidates to play the annual role of Super Bowls Unlikeliest Star.
Theres always someone cast into that role. The tradition dates back from the very first Super Bowl, when a 34-year-old Green Bay backup named Max McGee who had only four catches the entire season and had stayed out all night because he didnt think he would play the next afternoon caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers win.
For Baltimore, I think change-of-pace running back Bernard Pierce might be a standout. Or wide receiver Torrey Smith. Or tight end Dennis Pitta. The Ravens have all sorts of possibilities.
Now of course, my colleague and good friend Tom Sorensen is picking San Francisco. The 49ers are the favorite, and he loves to pick favorites. And he will try his hardest to make you believe in him at my expense.
But lets just go to the instant replay, shall we? True story: Toms weekly NFL selections were so uneven this past season that in desperation he let his dog make some of the picks. And lets not forget that on the eve of the NFL season, Tom and I always publicly compete to see who can best guess the Panthers record.
In 2011, he picked 3-13. I picked 6-10. The Panthers were 6-10.
In 2012, he picked the Panthers to go 10-6 (and make the playoffs). I picked 8-8 (and no playoffs). The Panthers were 7-9 with no playoffs.
Of course, thats the local team, and were all more familiar with them. But I did see the 49ers play Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game in person. And while Kaepernick is plenty good his arm is underrated because of how well he runs I just dont see him kissing his biceps after this one.
So give me the older Harbaugh brother, the one who is by all accounts the nicer one. Ill take John and the Ravens.