Much of this week’s build-up to the Super Bowl will focus around the two guys at the centre of it all: quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick for San Francisco and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco.
Throughout this week, both QBs will sit down in front of hundreds of cameras and explain their emotions and anxieties ahead of the big game. Not for a long time have we witnessed two sides go head-to-head in the Superbowl desperate to wash away over a decade of hurt. For while the Ravens haven’t won the Super Bowl since 2000, it is now 18 years since a Steve Young-led 49ers team took ultimate NFL glory in Miami against the Chargers. Even betting NFL markets are struggling to separate them at this stage.
These two quarterbacks must know the pressure they are under and the expectation to perform that will be on their heads come Sunday. Both have been calm and collective over the regular season – especially Kaepernick after only cementing his place in the side 10 weeks in – and both will want to impress on sport’s biggest stage.
Yet punters who bet on NFL know this game is not just about Kaepernick v Flacco, but one team against another, defence v offense, coach v coach.
It is wrong to suggest this pair battle against each other, for they never actually play face-to-face. It’s like saying Miguel Cabrera v Andrew McCutchen although they’d never pitch at each other, or Barcelona’s Messi v Real Madrid’s Ronaldo even though they play opposite ends of the soccer field.
These quarterbacks won’t meet, recognise or even think about each other come the game yet will constantly be asked about their ‘rivalry’ over the coming days. It is disappointing that so much focus is put on QBs when a team is needed to win the NFL’s showpiece game, and instead of billing this as Kaepernick v Flacco, hopefully by Sunday we’ll recognise Super Bowl XLVII as 49ers v Ravens.