The Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl champions and no team was more deserving of the Lombardi Trophy this year. This was a team of destiny in Ray Lewis‘ last season, especially after he tore his triceps, returned and announced his retirement when the playoffs began. They had to win it for Lewis and several players said so during the postgame celebration. The Ravens also had to win it because they may not make it back while their counterparts, the San Francisco 49ers, are just getting started.
How can that be, you ask? Well, Lewis definitely won’t be back and fellow Ravens legendary defender Ed Reed probably won’t either. The heart, soul and backbone of Baltimore’s defense is the combination of those two players and without them, the Ravens’ defense won’t put together a magical run like they did during the postseason this year. Lewis is retiring and Reed was already speculating about his free agency before the Super Bowl was even played. Sure, Joe Flacco had an incredible postseason and the Ravens’ offense will be a force for the next half decade, but without a defense, they can’t be what they were.
The 49ers, on the other hand, had half a season to get used to a new quarterback, style of play and offensive scheme and still almost pulled off the impossible. With a full off-season to work with Colin Kaepernick as their starter, the 49ers will easily be the favorite to win the Super Bowl next year and for many more to come after that. Kaepernick is a running quarterback now and those players can’t win Super Bowls. However, he has the arm to succeed and with Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching, he will do just that for a long time to come.