The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens came agonizingly close to advancing to the Super Bowl last year, but both clubs redeemed themselves Sunday in punching their ticket to New Orleans.
With the 49ers taking down the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons and the Ravens exacting revenge against the New England Patriots, we finally get to witness the Harbaugh Bowl in two weeks.
Pitting these two hard-nosed, no-nonsense coaches on the sport's biggest stage should be a matchup for the ages. Between the legendary Ray Lewis and his modern day reincarnation Patrick Willis, both teams feature a number of Pro Bowl defenders to complement some exciting offensive playmakers.
For Lewis, this is the last shot at adding a second Super Bowl ring. But you can bet Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers will have something to say about that.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans
When: Sunday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Watch: CBS (TV), CBSSports.com (Stream)
Storylines to Watch
In an unprecedented Super Bowl matchup, fans will be treated to seeing two of the most intense coaches in the game. They also happen to be brothers.
Jim and John Harbaugh were tasked with turning around two historic franchises and both have succeeded.
Following a 5-11 season in 2007, the Ravens hired John away from the Philadelphia Eagles. Five years later, the elder Harbaugh brother has posted a 54-26 regular-season record and led the Ravens to the postseason every year. The fiery Ravens coach was on the wrong end of two AFC Championship games, but finally got his team over the hump Sunday in a convincing 28-13 win over the Patriots.
On the other sideline stands Jim Harbaugh, who in just two years at the helm has turned the 49ers into the NFL's most intimidating team. The 49ers—led by their smashmouth defense—are an extension of their coach, playing with unparalleled aggression.
This battle of two brothers promises to be one to remember on Feb. 3.
Ray Lewis' Last Dance
No player garners more respect around the NFL than Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
Even a casual fan knows the legend of the 17-year pro, who's earned 13 Pro Bowl trips, seven All-Pro selections, two Defensive Player of the Year awards and one Super Bowl ring.
However, the NFL's greatest middle linebacker of his generation, and perhaps in history, will hang 'em up after the Super Bowl. Although his on-field skills have waned in recent years, Lewis is still the heart and soul of the Ravens' defense.
The future Hall of Famer missed most of the regular season with a torn triceps, but made a valiant return for the playoffs.
Against the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and Patriots, the Ravens allowed just 57 points, including 13 against New England.
Ray has just one game left, but will it end in triumph?
Is Colin Kaepernick Ready for Prime Time?
But can Colin Kaepernick buck the trend?
San Francisco's second-year quarterback essentially redshirted his rookie season before taking over the starting job midway through the season. The dual-threat QB has made people quickly forget about Alex Smith, who led the 49ers to the NFC Championship just a year ago.
As good as the former second-round pick has been, he's never faced a test quite like the Super Bowl.
Kaepernick played his college ball at Nevada and hasn't even started 10 games in the NFL. However, the athletic, strong-armed signal-caller has proven he's a dynamic talent and a legitimate passer. After leading his team to playoff victories over Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan, he'll be facing a stiff test in the Ravens defense.
Will the 25-year-old rise to the challenge, or crumble under the pressure?
National Anthem Singer: Alicia Keys
Halftime Entertainment: Beyonce
Commercial Cost (30 seconds): $4 million
CBS Announcing Team: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms