SUNDAY FEB 3, 6:30pm EST (CBS)
Here's everything you need to know to enjoy the Super Bowl, and a few things you could probably live without.
THE BASIC INFO
- Your national anthem will be brought to you by Alisha Keys, not Beyonce.
- Beyonce will be performing the halftime show. I've heard rumors that Jay Z (her husband) and Justin Timberlake will also be involved. And there may be lip-synching, so just LIGHTEN UP, people.
- The commercial cheatsheet can be found here. So glad someone else took the time to do that.
- The game will be played in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The Superdome was completed in 1975; it covers 13 acres and is 27 stories tall. This will be the Superdome's 7th Super Bowl, and it's first since it acted as a shelter of last resort for ~30,000 New Orleans residents during Hurricane Katrina. Other NOLA Super Bowls were in 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, 2002, and now 2013.
- The 49ers have won five Super Bowls since they were founded in 1946: 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1994, with quarterbacking legends Joe Montana and Steve Young. They have never lost a Super Bowl game.
- The Ravens have won one Super Bowl since they were founded in 1996: 2000. They too have never lost a Super Bowl game.
- From 1953 to 1983 Baltimore was home to the Colts. The Colts moved to Indianapolis, leaving Baltimore teamless for more than a decade. Then, in 1996 the Cleveland Browns relocated to Baltimore and were renamed the Ravens, a reference to famous resident Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem. The man who owned the Browns/Ravens at the time of the move was Art Modell, who died last September. The Ravens wear a black patch with his name 'ART' on their uniforms to honor his passing. (Note: The Cleveland Browns were brought back to the league as an expansion team in 1999.)
- Ravens defensive player Ray Lewis is retiring after the Super Bowl and will join ESPN's studio. He was one of the first players the Ravens drafted in 1996 when they moved to Baltimore. His first career sack was on Jim Harbaugh, when he was quarterback for the Colts.
- The 49ers play in Candlestick Park, an old combination baseball and football field. In October of 1989, the stadium hosted a World Series game that was delayed by an earthquake. The San Francisco Giants eventually lost the series.
- British tennis player Andy Murray won his first major tournament, the epic US Open Championship against Novak Djokovic, during the Ravens first game this season (Monday Sept 10, 2012). Last weekend, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic played again for the Australian Open Championship, only this time Andy lost. I only bring this up because I wonder if Andy Murray and Joe Flacco may both be animagi, and thus, their fates may be cosmically linked. Also, I love Andy Murray.
THE HARBAUGH STUFF
- John Harbaugh is the coach of the Ravens. Jim Harbaugh is the coach of the 49ers. The two are brothers; John is 15 months older. Their parents' names are Jack and Jackie, and they also have one sister, Joani (who is married to Indiana University basketball coach Tom Crean). The two brothers shared a bedroom until John left for college.
- Jim and John Harbaugh have coached against each other once before - last Thanksgiving, when the Ravens beat the 49ers 16-6.
- Jim Harbaugh (age 49) played quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines and also played in the NFL for fourteen years (6 years for the Chicago Bears, 3 years for the Indianapolis Colts, 1 year for the Baltimore Ravens, and 1 year for the Carolina Panthers). Jim took the Colts to the AFC Championship game in 1995 and came within a dropped Hail Mary of the Super Bowl. He left the Colts the year they drafted Peyton Manning. He also coached current Colts QB Andrew Luck at Stanford University.
- John Harbaugh (age 50) played defense in college for Miami of Ohio.
- John Harbaugh was the quarterback of his high school football team until Jim beat him out for the job.
RAVENS PLAYERS TO KNOW
- Joe Flacco (quarterback) is 28 years old, originally from New Jersey. He spent two seasons as a backup for the University of Pittsburgh before transferring to Delaware (the Blue Hens), a division I-AA (smaller) program. Because he transferred, he had to sit out a year, give up his scholarship, and pay his own way (~$30,000). There is speculation (by me) that he may be in the midst of a Freaky Friday episode with Eli Manning.
- Ray Rice (running back) is 26 years old. He's from New Rochelle, NY, and he attended Rutgers (which is in the process of joining the Big 10 conference).
- Anquan Boldin (receiver) is 32 years old. He's from Florida and attended Florida State University.
- Michael Oher (offensive lineman) is 26 years old. He's originally from Memphis, attended college at Mississippi, and the movie THE BLIND SIDE was based on his experiences.
- Ray Lewis (defense) is 37 years old. He's from Florida and attended the University of Miami. He's the face of his franchise, retiring after the Super Bowl. He tore his tricep earlier this season, and fought to come back to finish the year. He's been playing with a brace that makes it look like he has a cyborg arm. Ray is not without controversy, but gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps (who is from Baltimore) credits Ray Lewis with encouraging him to compete in the 2012 London Olympics (during which Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time - or, at least modern times, since the Ancients' records are not available).
- Ed Reed (defense) is 34 years old from St. Rose, Louisiana, which is about 17 miles from the Superdome in New Orleans. He attended the University of Miami.
- Bernard Pollard (defense) is 28 years old, from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Some New England Patriots fans have a superstition about him being their team's kryptonite, because over the years, he's been involved in plays that have resulted in injuries to key Patriots players (Brady, Welker, Gronk, and last week, Ridley). I like him because we went to Purdue at about the same time, and my knees are fine, thank you very much.
49ERS PLAYERS TO KNOW
- Colin Kaepernick (quarterback) is 25 years old. He's originally from Milwaukee, played college football at Nevada, was drafted as a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, but he decided to stick with football instead. Since becoming a 49er, he's started seven games and won five of them (the first game was against the Chicago Bears on November 19th).
- Alex Smith (quarterback) is 28 years old, originally from Seattle, played college at Utah, and was the 49ers number one overall draft pick in 2005. He's been the 49ers starter since he was drafted, but he hasn't played since November, when he suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams and Kaepernick replaced him.
- Frank Gore (running back) is 29 years old. He's from Miami and attended the University of Miami. The league fined him $10,500 for uniform code violations (wearing his socks too low) during the NFC Championship game two weeks ago against the Atlanta Falcons.
- Michael Crabtree (receiver) is 25 years old. He's from Dallas, attended Texas Tech, and he had at least one encounter with basketball coach Bobby Knight, back when he was still a two-sport athlete.
- Mario Manningham (receiver) is 26 years old, and he attended the University of Michigan. Last year, he won a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants, and actually caught the critical pass from Eli Manning to set up the win. He's currently injured, so he's not playing this weekend, but he should still be eligible to collect another ring.
- Randy Moss (receiver) is 35 years old. He's from West Virginia and went to college at Marshall. He holds the single season touchdown receptions record from his 2007 season with the Patriots (the year they won every game except the Super Bowl). This is his first season with the 49ers.
- Vernon Davis (tight end) is 28 years old. He's originally from Washington DC and attended the University of Maryland (which is in the process of joining the Big Ten conference. He was a studio art major, and has since opened a gallery for emerging artists.
- Justin Smith and Aldon Smith (defense) are jokingly referred to as the 'Smith Brothers,' though they are not related. Justin is 33, Aldon is 23, and they both played for the University of Missouri.
WHAT I WANT TO HAPPEN
- I want Alicia Keys to nail the National Anthem, and make it happen in 2 minutes or less.
- I want lots and lots of images of New Orleans during the broadcast, full of all the flavor and character showing how far they've come and how much they've rebuilt. Also, I want to have plenty of time to admire the flashy colored lights that they installed outside the stadium post-hurricane. Basically, I want to go back.
- Part of me wants Jay-Z to do the halftime show with Beyonce... and part of me wants him to save it for next year, when the game will be in New York and he and Alicia Keys can do "Empire State of Mind" as part of that show instead. I'm not particularly excited to have Timberlake back... unless he performed with Jimmy Fallon... now THAT would pique my interest. The last time the Super Bowl was in New Orleans, it was just a few months after September 11th, and they called U2 to do the honors - for my money, that's a tough act to beat.
- Not that I want anything bad to happen to Kaepernick - but I want to see Alex Smith take at least one meaningful snap. I feel like he's earned it.
- Most of all, I want to see my Harbaugh, Captain Jimmy Harbaugh, finally get a ring. And please, let it not be in a sloppy, nasty, boring fashion. They said during the Pro Bowl (yes, I watched the Pro Bowl - and no, I'm not proud of it) that the last time the 49ers played a Super Bowl in New Orleans was in 1990 and they beat the Denver Broncos 55-10, or something gross like that. They also pointed out that, at the time, Colin Kaepernick was two years old.
So I'll be cheering for the 49ers, and also for the game itself. The older I get the more I realize that I'm rooting for players more than teams anyway.