Super Bowl 2013: Best Non-Harbowl Storylines to Keep an Eye on

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20:  Wide receiver Randy Moss #84 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on while taking on the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Super Bowl XLVII, as I'm sure you don't need to be told, is a battle between John and Jim Harbaugh—two brothers go on, only one can come out

As the big game approaches, this angle—the Harbowl—will be talked about over and over (then over and over) again, through every media outlet. First it'll be gripping, then it'll get overdone, and in two weeks time, it'll be so completely, over-the-top shoved down your throat that you'll never even want to see your own damn brother ever again.

As a preemptive tonic for what's on the horizon, here are three non-Harbowl storylines worth watching the next two weeks. Enjoy!


Ray Lewis Farewell Tour

Okay, okay, okay. So this one will probably be a little ridiculously overblown as well. But the Harbowl angle, technically, make this the B-story for Super Bowl Sunday, and thus something worth exploring.

Few things having staying power like a story about going out on top. For all of John Elway's numerous accomplishments, it's the fact that he retired a champion—more so, even, than iconic moments like The Helicopter or The Drive—that has stood the test of time.

Brace yourself for a two-week gander down memory lane, complete with endless banter about whether or not Lewis is the best linebacker of all time. Normally, I would dread such talk as tedious or excessive.

But with Ray Lewis? It's so warranted that I'm actually looking forward to it.


Passing of the Torch at Middle Linebacker

My next favorite non-Harbowl storyline also revolves around No. 52 in purple.

This angle will be played up because of Lewis's retirement, but in truth, his skills have been waning for years. His return has helped the Ravens immensely from a mental perspective, but to be 100-percent honest, he's actually been pretty bad this postseason.

So, yeah: The changing of the guard has kind of already happened at middle linebacker, where Patrick Willis is now the standard by which we judge all other players

But seeing the past and present "best in the game" go blow for blow—with a Super Bowl title on the line, no less—should still provide plenty of intrigue for those at home. Expect some serious hitting from these two paragons of defense.


Can Randy Moss Win His First Super Bowl?

It's an exceedingly weird phenomena, but for some reason, guys who played one position are judged differently than those who played another.

That is, the narrative of a quarterback's "legacy" is intimately tied to whether or not he's won a Super Bowl. Admit it: Every time you hear the name Dan Marino, that's the first thing you think of. Never won a Super Bowl.

The same can't be said for wide receiver. Chris Carter doesn't have a ring, Tim Brown doesn't have a ring, Andre Reed doesn't have a ring—that's not the first thing you associate their careers with, is it?

This is all a long-winded way of saying that Randy Moss doesn't necessarily need to win a Super Bowl in order to cement his legacy. His resume is already bolstered with his fantastic body of work, his even more fantastic dossier of off-field stories, and the fact that, for a short period of time, he was undoubtedly the most-gifted athlete on the planet.

We'll remember him for all these things regardless of whether or not he has a ring. Especially since the ring he'll have gotten will have come on a team he barely contributed to.

But what if he does get the ring? Let's just say the debate over "who's the second-best receiver of all time" turns into "who places third behind Randy."