Super Bowl XLVII: It’s Kaepernick against Flacco, whose star will rise?
Super Bowl XLVII: Battle of the quarterbacks will be decisive when the 49ers and Ravens clash in New Orleans, writes Matt Simpson
Whatever the result in New Orleans on Superbowl Sunday, a new star will rise – Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco.
It will be an intriguing battle as the two quarterbacks will both be leading their teams onto the field for their first taste of Super Bowl experience.
But just who will come out on top? Flacco has been the Ravens starting quarterback since his rookie season in 2008, whereas Kaerpernick’s rise has been meteoric.
Each man represents a different breed of quarterback – Kaepernick displays all the qualities of the modern-day variety, deadly in the air and equally effective on the ground.
Flacco is more old-school in his style of play, preferring to sit back and survey his options before launching bombs downfield from the comfort of the pocket.
A second-round draft pick, Kaepernick has enjoyed a fantastic season, beginning on the bench to becoming the 49ers starting quarterback and one of the brightest talents in the NFL.
Starting the 2012 season as backup to Alex Smith, the Nevada-graduate was used sparingly during the early games before getting his break in week ten.
And since then, the 25-year-old has not looked back, replacing Smith as the starting quarterback following his injury, and going from strength to strength.
In the NFC Divisional game, Kaepernick destroyed the Packers with his running game, racking up a NFL single-game record of 181 yards rushing for a quarterback.
The 49ers won the high-scoring game 45-31, in which the young quarterback scrambled five times and scored two rushing touchdowns.
In their next game against Atlanta, the Falcons tried to shut down that side of his game, but to no avail as he passed for 233 yards and one touchdown.
In order to get something out of Sunday’s game and keep Kaepernick quiet, Ray Lewis and the famous Ravens defence will need to be on top of their game.
On the other hand, Flacco’s rise to prominence has been much more measured – he was a first-round draft pick in 2008 – and he has flourished after five years in Baltimore.
Known for his cannon of an arm, the 28-year-old has become the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to the play-offs in his first five seasons.
In this season’s playoffs, he has outgunned New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, Peyton Manning of Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck – three of the NFL’s biggest stars.
Flacco boasts an impressive 8-4 record in post-season games and with remarkable victories already, he has shown he can cope with big occasions and that experience could be crucial.
In the past, the New Jersey-born star has let inconsistency creep into his game and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh will look to exploit this in New Orleans.
Regardless of the result, it will not be the last time we see either Kaepernick or Flacco on American Football’s biggest stage.
And in the end, all the stats in the world will mean nothing come Sunday as this battle will come down to who can handle the pressure in the biggest game of their careers.