There are so many labels being thrown around leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, but I like to keep it simple. What player's performance will stand out the most from a positive standpoint?
What player will let his team and city down by producing an untimely bad performance?
Finally, what player will go largely unnoticed until somebody like myself points out their seemingly insignificant, but actually vital contribution to his team's victory?
Just so you know, I've been picking the San Francisco 49ers to win it all since Kyle Williams went brain neutral in the NFC title game last season.
So you can expect the following thoughts to support that thought process. Now that we have that established, I have predictions for you.
MVP: Colin Kaepernick
Quarterbacks are always going to get the first look for MVP. In a game without a clear standout, the signal-caller may get the nod out of default.
Kaepernick probably won't have ridiculous throwing numbers in this game, but he just might become the first QB to rush for more than 100 yards in a Super Bowl.
That's the high-end projection, but he has to at least be considered a threat to break Steve McNair's record for most rushing yards in the big game.
McNair ran for 64 yards in Super Bowl XXXIV against the St. Louis Rams. Of course his team lost, but the Titans weren't running the read-option, and he didn't have the weapons Kaepernick has to keep the defense honest.
The Niners' 10-game wonder will put up close to 300 yards of total offense and account for three touchdowns.
A superstar is born.
The Goat: Bernard Pollard
Obviously it is the job of the front seven to make the initial decisions when defending the read-option, but if Kaep gets into open space, the cameras will catch a glimpse of the guy that gets jukes, or left grasping for air.
I'm not psychic, but I do know Pollard is genuinely looking to lay the wood to opposing players. He'll especially want to do this to send a message to Kaepernick.
All it takes is a slight miscalculation as he locks in on No. 7, and like Keyser Soze he's gone. I'm expecting Kaepernick to break off at least one long run that changes—or sets the tone—for the game
Often times the goat tag is unfairly issued, and that would partially be the case here, but the slow-motion instant replay is often unkind.
The Unsung Hero: David Akers
Who wins Super Bowl XLVII?
Akers has been horrible this season. He's only made 69 percent of his field-goal attempts in the regular season, and he's been shaky in the playoffs.
But for some reason, I have a feeling he carries his weight in the Super Bowl.
I'm obviously not saying the Niners win a 15-6 ball game on the strength of five Akers' field goals. However, I can see a scenario where Akers gets the Niners on the board early to establish a lead.
It may serve as momentum-establisher, or as a drive-salvaging effort, but Akers will do his job. It's something people take for granted from kickers until they fail, and something they generally don't get credit for when they come through.