Frank Gore vs. Ray Rice: Which RB Will Make Bigger Impact on the Super Bowl?

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IJanuary 28, 2013

Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) runs against the New England Patriots during the second quarter of the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium.   Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

They aren't the fastest and they certainly aren't the tallest, but Frank Gore and Ray Rice represent the offensive heartbeat on their respective teams. 

They are guys with shifty, low-center-of-gravity running styles who can pound the football between the tackles, bounce it outside for big gains and make something out of nothing in the screen game. 

But who will have a bigger impact in Super Bowl XLVII?

Their 2012 stats are strikingly comparable—Gore carried the ball one more time than Rice (258 to 257) and behind the game's most punishing offensive line, the San Francisco 49ers runner averaged 4.7 yards per carry while Rice averaged a respectable 4.4. 

Gore accounted for nine total touchdowns, Rice accounted for 10. 

Gore is a key feature of the vaunted read-option attack while Rice controls the clock and significantly aids Joe Flacco's play-action passing game. 

Within Greg Roman's creative run-heavy offense, Gore—to a certain degree—is irrelevant. 

Rookie LaMichael James, a player well-versed in the read-option, will likely receive a good share of the read-option snaps.

That is not to say James is equally as effective as Gore. 

Gore is the primary I-form runner, and he'll probably end the game with around 20 carries. 

It would be stunning if Gore was held in check, but that doesn't mean he'll have the greatest impact on the game. 

Kaepernick's capability as a runner is far more threatening and will impact how the Baltimore Ravens defense plays much more than Gore will. 

If Rice can get into a rhythm—hiding from Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman behind his massive offensive line—Jim Caldwell's offense will be exceptionally difficult to stop in a game that should feature plenty of defensive stops. 

After gashing teams with the deep ball during their magical run to the Super Bowl, expect Rice to be the unquestioned focal point of Baltimore's offense to ease Flacco's pressure and in an attempt to actually win the time of possession battle against a team that typical dominates in that facet.

With the threat of the bomb to Torrey Smith or Anquan Boldin, Rice will be utilized in a variety of ways and will have a slightly more critical impact on Super Bowl XLVII than Frank Gore.