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Why Super Bowl XLVII Is Much More Than Just 'The Harbowl'

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates on the field after the 49ers won 28-24 against 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
Chris TrapassoAnalyst IDecember 11, 2016

Every year, regardless of the teams participating, the two weeks before the Super Bowl are annoying.

I'd even guess, due to unparalleled anxiety, fanbases of the respective clubs squaring off for the Vince Lombardi Trophy grow tired of the same three storylines and fluffy angles as the game approaches. 

Brace yourself.

For the next two weeks, you'll hear and read the invented yet far-from-imaginative word "Harbowl" enough that you'll think Merriman-Webster will consider adding it in the 2014 update.

Ray Lewis' reverential journey to the Super Bowl will be pumped on television so much, your living room or man cave essentially will be transformed into a momentary place of worship. 

Thankfully, though, the transcendent linebacker's triumph in his last hurrah will take some attention away from media outlets making Super Bowl XLVII solely about the sibling clash between Jim and John Harbaugh.

In reality, there is an abundance of storylines and angle opportunities that will inevitably be missed or only briefly touched upon by the media in the coming weeks. 

Joe Flacco's story will, hopefully, divert eyes and ears from the "Harbowl" narrative.

The perpetual "elite quarterback" conversation almost ensures the enigmatic Flacco will be analyzed and debated at length over the next two weeks. 

Let's hope he is.

Flacco has never eclipsed the 4,000-yard plateau or 25-touchdown mark during the regular season and has a 60.5 career completion percentage. In the NFL's passing renaissance, his numbers have epitomized "average."

Therefore, is it impossible for him to earn the "elite" distinction, regardless of the Super Bowl outcome? Or, has winning the Big One become a prerequisite for the rarefied yet endlessly blurry classification?

How about Ed Reed, the future Hall of Fame safety tied for 10th in league history with 61 career interceptions? Can't miss his story, right?

Because he's been so good for so long and has been tied to Lewis for more than a decade, many forget he was not a part of the Baltimore Ravens team that won the Super Bowl in January 2001. A championship would be the crowning end to an illustrious NFL tenure for Reed. 

We mustn't ignore Torrey Smith, either.

While a large faction of the sports world scrounges for the truth in the Manti Te'o dead-girlfriend hoax, we must remember the Ravens wideout lost his 19-year-old brother in a motorcycle accident during the 2012 season—in the wee hours of the morning before a huge Sunday night tilt with the New England Patriots. 

The strong-willed but visibly distraught second-year wideout caught six passes for 127 yards with two touchdowns in the thrilling 31-30 win.

Now, that's inspiring. 

Less than three months ago, 25-year-old Colin Kaepernick was a novelty within the San Francisco 49ers offense.

Then, an Alex Smith concussion forced him into the starting lineup. With many questioning his coach's decision to keep him as the starter and an out-of-touch columnist bashing his tattoos, Kaepernick went 5-2 down the stretch and beat Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan (in Atlanta) in the playoffs. 

In a season when headlines were dominated by a trio of rookie quarterbacks and the emergence of the read-option wrinkle, the former Nevada standout, upon getting his first opportunity to succeed under center, has truly become the poster boy for the young and mobile signal-caller movement.

Kaepernick could emerge as the third-youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

Other QBs to win their first ring at 25—Joe Namath and Joe Montana.

Not bad company.

The second—and potentially, final—championship opportunity for productive staples at the wideout position, Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin, could unfortunately get lost in the Harbowl hype. And, with a copious amount of attention paid to Ray Lewis, let's not overlook Patrick Willis and the possibility of a changing-of-the-guard scenario between the two incredible linebackers. 

Lastly, each team's gut-wrenchingly agonizing defeat in last year's respective conference title game should still be fresh in everyone's minds.

After all, while a coaching chess match—this time between brothers— always factors into a Super Bowl, the game will ultimately be decided by the men on the field, not the ones on the sidelines. 

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