In just under two weeks, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will meet in the 2013 Super Bowl. This will be their first meeting in a Super Bowl, and only the fifth meeting all time between the two franchises.
While there are plenty of story lines heading into Super Bowl XLVII (see the million stories on the Harbaugh brothers), that isn't what we're interested in today. Instead, we're going to break down the history between these two teams as they prime up for the big stage.
We all know the story of Art Modell moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore back in 1996 to start the Ravens franchise. Within four years, Baltimore had won its first Super Bowl, something the Browns have never done.
As for the 49ers, they were established in 1946 and have been in San Francisco ever since. They're one of the more storied franchises in NFL history, having won six NFC Championships and five Super Bowls.
In fact, whoever loses this game will record the first Super Bowl loss for their respective franchises.
When these two teams square off on February 3rd, it will be the fifth time they've played since the 1996 season.
|San Francisco's Score||Series|
|1996 Season||San Francisco||20||38||1-0 SF|
|2003 Season||Baltimore||44||6||1-1 BAL|
|2007 Season||San Francisco||9||7||2-1 BAL|
|2011 Season||Baltimore||16||6||3-1 BAL|
The Ravens have gotten the better of San Francisco in three of the four meetings between the teams, including the last three games. While the series' first two games featured tons of offense, the two teams have since combined for only 38 points in their last two meetings.
The First "Harbaugh Bowl"
The most recent meeting between these two teams took place on Thanksgiving Day during the 2011 season. The game was featured on the NFL Network and there was a ton of hype surrounding the Harbaugh brothers.
Both San Francisco and Baltimore were having extremely successful seasons entering this game. The 49ers were 9-1 and the Ravens were 7-3.
The winner of this matchup was expected to be a favorite to represent their conference in the Super Bowl. It was a tough defensive battle with the Ravens' 10-point fourth quarter being the difference.
Terrell Suggs was the real difference maker in this game, finishing with three sacks and a forced fumble.
The key to the first four matchups between these teams have been strong finishes to the first and second half.
As you can see from the graph above, the Ravens have outscored the 49ers in the second and fourth quarter 62-31. In fact, all of the points the 49ers have scored in the fourth quarter of this "rivalry" came in their only victory.
A strong finish could be the key to bringing home the Lombardi Trophy.
While the 49ers and Ravens don't have the rich rivalries of other NFL teams or previous Super Bowl matchups, there is still plenty of history between them.
Both teams have rosters filled with perennial Pro Bowl and All-Pro players, and this could be the beginning of a truly special history between the two best teams in the NFL right now.