SPORTS COLUMN: Har-Bowl Predictions

Austin Kong, A&E Editor

If you told me, at the beginning of this season, that head coaches Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens were going to compete against each other in the Super Bowl, I would have been skeptical. The idea of a “Har-Bowl” was in the back of everybody’s minds as a dream-like scenario, but everyone had their doubts. However, the gripping reality that the HarBowl will actually take place has sent the football world into a frenzy. On February 3, 2013, Super Bowl XLVII will host the two Harbaugh brothers and many other stories as these teams square off for football’s ultimate prize.

Nobody can deny that both coaches have been vital in their teams’ successes. Jim Harbaugh, the more outspoken of the two, began coaching the 49ers after the 2010-2011 NFL season. He would become the catalyst for a complete revival of the team’s franchise. In his first year as the 49ers head coach, Jim Harbaugh managed to take his team to the NFC Championship game where they fell short to the New York Giants (who would go on to win the Super Bowl). John Harbaugh has been with the Baltimore Ravens since the 2008-2009 season and since then, he has taken his Ravens to the AFC Championship game twice and has yet to miss the playoffs.

The Harbaughs have stolen much of the limelight since their respective teams won their divisional championship match. However, there are many other storylines that people have widely overlooked.  Colin Kaepernick, a first year starter for the 49ers, was handed his starting quarterback position in the middle of the regular season after their former starting quarterback, Alex Smith, had suffered a concussion. Kaepernick has managed to lead his team to a Super Bowl in only his second year in the NFL. Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens has never won a Super Bowl as well. This might be Reed’s last chance at winning a ring before the end of his hall-of-fame career.  And finally, Super Bowl XLVII will be the very last game that Ray Lewis will ever play in—a storybook ending, to a storybook career.

Despite all the hype and excitement behind this year’s Super Bowl, we still have to realize that only one of the teams will be able to hoist the Lombardi trophy in front of the entire world. Experts and analysts say that the 49ers are the clear favorite to win. With one of the best defenses in the league lead by Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis, and also an offense that has been revived by Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco looks almost flawless.

Nevertheless, I have to make my prediction and I am going to pick the Baltimore Ravens to win this game. It would be unwise to think that Ray Lewis would want to end his career with a loss. He promised the Ravens another Super Bowl title after his first in 2000, so I personally want him to fulfill his promise. However, I am not putting any money on it since I would be, in fact, betting against the 49ers.