Very rarely does a sporting event attain such status that even non-fanatics will take in the action. The Super Bowl is not only the biggest sporting event of the year, it has also become one of the biggest events of any kind, celebrated worldwide and bringing all aspects of entertainment brought together under one roof.
Besides the soon-to-be viral television commercials and the highly anticipated halftime show, the game lends itself to many interesting and dramatic stories. Super Bowl 47 will be played on Sunday, February 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, showcasing the talents of the AFC champion (the Baltimore Ravens) and the NFC champion (the San Francisco 49ers). As NFL fans anxiously await the glorified championship game, many are intrigued not only by the glamour of the finale, but also by all that is at stake for both teams.
Inside linebacker Ray Lewis of the Ravens will charge onto the field for the final time as a professional football player, an extravagant sendoff for one of the greatest players ever to play the game. As an experienced veteran and the leader of the Ravens since his career began in 1996, Lewis has proven time and again that he is a valuable asset to the franchise; he has been selected for 13 Pro Bowls, won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award twice, and been named MVP of the Super Bowl championships when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2001.
As he prepares for retirement from an illustrious career, he continues to show his leadership on and off the field. He recently told his teammates not to come into contact with the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy in order to remain hungry for a championship.
As if to steal the thunder of Lewis’ farewell to football, the Super Bowl is playing host to an equally intriguing family reunion. Jim Harbaugh, the head coach of the 49ers, will face off against his brother John, the head coach of the Ravens. As if the Super Bowl was lacking in entertainment, the Harbaugh brothers are bound to have viewers watching the action in the sidelines, not just on the field. The Harbaugh family will have a lot to cheer about, and whatever the result, they will still be fortunate enough to celebrate a championship.
In light of Lewis’s departure from the Ravens, many are looking ahead to the future of the franchise and what’s in store for the team next season. In particular, the team is concerned with the leadership of its players to fill the shoes of Lewis, who has been a team leader for over a decade. Many are turning to starting quarterback Joe Flacco to prove that he is an elite and step up to the challenge. Flacco, who has been called out by Lewis for not being vocal during games, does not plan to change his style, but rather to continue as the silent leader of the squad.
After having hung up his uniform in 2010 and saying goodbye to the NFL, veteran wide receiver Randy Moss made the decision to step back on the field and out of retirement, playing nine games for the 49ers and now being granted a second chance to play in the Super Bowl. This is Moss’s second appearance in the championship game, after an unsuccessful attempt in 2007 with his former New England Patriots team.
Moss is being praised for his poise and composure this season, especially after his earlier temperamental mishaps. He now acts as a mentor to the younger players on the team, earning Harbaugh’s favour for his attitude and sportsmanship. Harbaugh is encouraging Moss to play with the 49ers a second time in the 2013/14 season.
Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the 49ers and minor celebrity among the team’s fanbase, is expected to make his first Super Bowl start, ending a postseason that saw several firsts for the young quarterback: a first postseason start against the Green Bay Packers—in which Kaepernick set the NFL single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 181 yards—and later a start in the conference championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. The famously tattooed Kaepernick, who recently filed a trademark for the word “Kaepernicking” (the act of kissing one’s bicep in celebration), will only be making his 10th start of the year, a statistic that only adds to the anxiety of 49ers fans.
Many who tune in on Super Bowl Sunday couldn’t care less about the number of yards gained or touchdowns scored; instead, they tune in to watch the famous TV ads and halftime show. It is reported that CBS is charging a record $4 million for a 30-second advertising spot, ensuring that audiences stay entertained when play is stopped, with the likes of Budweiser, Go Daddy, and Pepsi all vying to catch your eye. This year, Alicia Keys will kick off the festivities singing the national anthem, and Beyoncé will take the stage at halftime, reuniting with her former R&B group, Destiny’s Child, and her husband, hip-hop superstar Jay-Z.