Kaepernick will continue hot streak to lead 49ers to Super Bowl title
In one of my favorite movies, “Animal House,” the Delta pledge class was being inducted, and John Belushi’s character “Bluto” was tasked with giving each new member his “Delta name” or nickname. When he got to Larry Furst’s character he hesitated, and then told him that his name was “Flounder.” Furst’s character replied back, “Flounder? Why Flounder?” Our man, “Bluto” immediately hit him with the answer we all like to use, “Why NOT?!”
So, why did I bore you with that scene (although, I hope that you at least got a chuckle out of recalling it)? Because based on my picks in this year’s NFL Playoffs, many of you would correctly question my right and ability to pick the Super Bowl winner. My record speaks for itself: 1-3 in the Divisional round, 0-2 in the Championships. Yes, 1-5 would reasonably be grounds for disqualification and request to move on to next season. But I choose to invoke the “Bluto Rule” of “Why NOT?!” and forge ahead. Thank you in advance for your indulgence.
By now, there aren’t many angles that haven’t been explored in assessing the Baltimore vs. San Francisco match up: Harbaugh brothers (and family); Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’’ “Last Ride;” the teams’ meeting during the 2011 season; Ravens OT Michael Oher’s plea to not discuss the movie “The Blind Side” during Super Bowl week and beyond; 49ers DB Chris Culliver’s homophobic comments and subsequent apologies; Ravens QB Joe Flacco’s terrific performances in the playoffs and how they may affect what the Ravens organization does with his contract in upcoming negotiations; 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s bursting onto the scene as the “New Age” style QB, complete with his own signature celebration move, now known as “Kaepernicking (and you thought that “Tebowing” was here to stay, didn’t you?).
So, with all of that said, here’s how Mr. 1-5 sees this game:
49ers over the Ravens 24-21. Yes, the most inexperienced quarterback is “Optimus Prime” Colin Kaepernick. It’s only his 10th career start, but I have yet to see the stage be too big for this young star.
Kaepernick’s first college football start for Nevada was at Boise State and while his team lost, it took four overtimes before Boise State prevailed. In that game, Kaepernick amassed 243 passing yards and three passing touchdowns in addition to 177 rushing yards and two hustling TDs.
His first NFL start was on Monday Night Football vs. Chicago Bears and their top 5-ranked NFL defense. He shredded them. Kaepernick’s first playoff game was against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, the latter which were picked by many to emerge from the NFC as a Super Bowl team. After an early pick-six thrown (with no hint of despair or fear), young “Optimus” proceeded to do things with speed and accuracy that no other QB had ever done in a playoff game. Finally, after being down big to the Falcons, on the road in the NFC Championship game, he coolly led his team back to victory (with a huge assist from the San Francisco defense which pitched a shutout in the second half).
The “Transformer,” a mauling offensive line (for which the same five players started every game this season), a fresh legged RB in Frank Gore and a defense that attacks, swarms and specializes in stripping the ball (keep an eye on OLB Ahmad Brooks who gets overlooked due to the troika of Aldon Smith’s sack mastery, and the best tandem of inside linebackers in the game in Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis) leads me to give the San Francisco 49ers the edge over a Baltimore Ravens team that has played some of the best playoff football I have ever seen. They beat Houston at home, and the Texans at one point in the season, were seen as perhaps the best in the league. They went to Denver (altitude and temperature in single digits) and beat a Broncos team that had won 11 straight games and QB Peyton Manning playing at a “Comeback Player of the Year AND MVP level. THEN they went to New England and beat Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots who had beaten them a year prior to go to the Super Bowl. An incredible gauntlet…one of the best playoff runs in NFL history…and my pick remains the same.
San Francisco 24 Baltimore 21
David Akers, the 49ers kicker, was voted “No Confidence” by the fans at the end of the season. I believe in the veteran, and see this game as his redemption.