Super Bowl XLVII – Beyond Ray Lewis and the Harbaugh Brothers

Two things you’re going to hear a lot about in the coming week: The Harbowl or Superbaugh, focusing on the head coaching battle between John and Jim Harbaugh, and Ray Lewis playing his final career game in the Super Bowl. There’s more to this game for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens: Ed Reed, Randy Moss, Matt Birk and even the Vic Fangio story line.

Ed Reed going to the Super Bowl – At 34 years old, after 11 NFL seasons, Ed Reed, a nine time pro-bowl selection and 8 time All-Pro, who has also led the NFL three times in interceptions and is the active leader when it comes to taking passes away from quarterbacks; 10th all-time with 7 interceptions return touchdowns and the all-time leader in interception return yards is going to his first Super Bowl. People forget he wasn’t part of the Ravens team that won the Super Bowl 13 years ago, and behind Ray Lewis, always the face of the Ravens, might be the main reason this defense has been so successful for so long. There’s also the home town thing going on, Reed being born in St. Rose, Louisiana, and playing his high school football 25 miles west of New Orleans.

Vikings 1998 Draft Class – Randy Moss was the first round, 21 st pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. He went on to have one of the greatest careers ever by a wide receiver, including 5 All-Pro selections. He came back from retirement to play for the 49ers this season, making it to the Super Bowl for the second time in his career. Matt Birk, 36, was the 173rd pick in that Draft. He became the starting center for the Vikings two years later, and hasn’t missed a game since 2004. The two will meet on opposite sides, with Birk a more crucial role to play for the Ravens, but one of them is going home with a Super Bowl ring.

Vic Fangio (Who?!) – The 49ers’ defense is one of the best in the NFL for the last couple of years, ranking 3rd this season in total defense and 4th last season. Fangio has worked under John Harbaugh for the Ravens, being a special assistant to the head coach while also being the linebackers coach. After that he left to work as Jim Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator at Stanford, moving on with him to the NFL.