This SB is for the Birds
TribLIVE Sports Videos
As a fan, I have no rooting interest in the Super Bowl Sunday as these are two of my least favorite teams.
It doesn't matter to me to root for Baltimore because of the tiring soap opera “Ray Lewis is retiring” story. And it doesn't mean much to me that if San Francisco wins, the 49ers will tie the Steelers for the most SB titles at six.
That said, I'm going to do what we all like to do before the big game: pick a winner.
The 49ers are slight favorites, having opened at 4.5 points and since dropping to 3.5.
When I look at the two teams in this game, I look at recent Super Bowl trends.
On paper, the 49ers are the best team. They are favored. They have the better defense. They have been solid right out of the gate, except for a hiccup or two.
Going back over the past seven Super Bowls, starting with SB XL with the Steelers and Seahawks, the winner of the championship has not necessarily been the best team all season, but the hottest team.
In 2006, the Steelers were a sixth seed in the AFC and barely qualified for the playoffs before winning three road games andf the title, 21-10.
In SB XLII, the Giants snuck into the playoffs in the NFC, got hot and then went on to defeat previously undefeated New England, 17-14.
In SB XLV, the Packers were the team that had to get help just to get into the playoffs, but rolled through the competition and then beat the Steelers in the championship, 31-25.
Last year, the Giants got hot at the end of the season and snuck into the playoffs and yep, you guessed it, they won the title beating the Patriots again., 21-17.
Even if you look back at SB XLIV, the upstart Saints were taking on the unstoppable Peyton Manning-led Colts and the Saints came out on top, 31-17.
Sensing a trend here?
Now let's look at the 49ers and Ravens.
The 49ers (13-4-1) have been at the top of everybody's power list from the opening of the season while the Ravens (13-6) were pre-season contenders and then had a swoon in the second half of the season that had some thinking they might blow their huge division lead.
Going into the playoffs, I figured the Ravens for a certain one-and-done.
However, like the Steelers, Giants (twice) and Packers before them, the Ravens have been dominating in the second season.
I don't see why that trend should stop Sunday.
Yeah, I know the 49ers have a great defense and a rookie quarterback in Colin Kaepernick who nobody has found a way to contain yet.
But the Ravens have a defense that after looking rusty all season has suddenly looked like the unit the chewed teams up in their previous SB season of 2000-01.
And while the defense has been great, the Ravens' big-game choking quarterback Joe Flacco is no longer looking like Wacko Flacco. He is looking every bit like a potential Super Bowl MVP.
Last but not least, even though the 49ers have a huge experience edge in the kicking game, veteran David Akers (29-of-42 FGs) has been lucky to keep his job down the stretch while Ravens rookie Justin Tucker (30-of-33 FGs) has been clutch.
On paper, I do think the 49ers are better. But I'm not about to buck the trend of recent history.
Pick: Baltimore 23, San Francisco 20.
Enjoy the game!
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ defense unfazed by noise, believes in potential
- Juvenile status hearing, trial delayed in Franklin Regional stabbings
- Penguins notebook: After reinterpreting rule, draft pick sought for Bylsma’s hiring
- Pirates pound Padres for 7th consecutive victory
- Man dies in North Buffalo fire
- International counterfeiter sentenced in Pittsburgh to 7 1/2 years in prison
- Iraqi militias begin move on Ramadi
- Homicide by vehicle trial closes; verdict Monday
- LaBar: Future of Rusev in WWE critical
- Allegheny Intermediate Unit to distribute $530,000 in STEAM grants to 28 school districts
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh asking Supreme Court to hear case