Ever since it became clear that Super Bowl XLVII — now commonly being called the Harbaugh Bowl — would be between coaching brothers Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh leading the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens into the fray, you would think that nothing else mattered.
We’ve heard every storyline possible about their relationship, their childhood, their parents, their competitive nature, their rise to the NFL from modest beginnings in their home state of Ohio.
It’s great for television to have a built-in storyline — we all know it’s a network’s dream to not have to manufacture them — but the reality is, Super Bowl XLVII will be all about the players and the Harbaughs could matter less.
What this game is about is the matchups that will play out on the field and who gets the small edge against their opponent which is so often the difference in a win and loss on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Can Colin Kaepernick rise to the occasion and play with confidence and poise in the biggest game of his young professional career? Can Ray Lewis put the final touches on an outstanding career and walk away from the game with a Super Bowl championship?
These are the two storylines which even the most passive fan — who may only watch the Super Bowl — and no other game all year, is aware of. In a game of the Super Bowl’s magnitude it’s about players making plays when their teammates need them the most. It’s about the X-Factor guy stepping up and having the game of his life — coming out of nowhere to give his team that little bump and lead them to victory.
While I will not sit here and say the Harbaugh brothers are not first-tier coaches — we all know they are — they will not be taking any snaps, catching any passes or making any open-field tackles this coming Sunday.
Their voices will largely be silent on the sidelines as the players they have trained through a grueling 16-game regular season will fight the biggest battles of their professional careers — determining the outcome through their actions not those of their leaders on the sideline.