We see it year in and year out, as little-known players steal the spotlight on Super Bowl Sunday, From Santonio Holmes, to Mario Manningham, to David Tyree, to Adam Vinatieri, to Tracy Porter.
There is always at least one player that does something so memorable that he becomes forever enshrined in NFL history. Skyrocketing from mediocrity to a household name by means of making such a big momentum-swinging play is something we all would love to see. Here are some guys that could do just that.
The early-season bench warmer and former Oregon standout has emerged as an integral part of this team as the season has carried on. James has gone from not seeing the field to being a very solid change-of-pace back from Frank Gore and a feared kick returner.
The speed and explosiveness he possesses are game changers. After scoring his first career touchdown in the NFC Championship game in Atlanta, James could look to build on that momentum and break off a huge run or kick return to make everyone watching remember him forever.
We all know Gore will get most of the carries, as he always does. What James does with his limited hand-offs will be very interesting to watch. Look for Gore to wear down an aging defense and set the stage up perfectly for LaMichael to do something crazy.
Maybe the least heralded of all the Ravens' linebackers, Ellerbe has quietly developed into a vital member of this defense. If Baltimore is to stop Colin Kaepernick and this dynamic running game, Ellerbe will need to be at his best.
Ellerbe amassed 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks this season. He has improved even more in the playoffs, even picking off Tom Brady in the AFC Title game for only his 2nd career interception.
The Super Bowl could wind up being a passing of the torch in a sense, as Ellerbe could be that guy to make the big play and get Ray Lewis his second Super Bowl ring before sending him off into retirement.
While already becoming somewhat of a household name this week for his anti-gay remarks, Culliver is a dark horse to steal the show on Sunday.
Culliver had a huge interception of Matt Ryan in the third quarter of the NFC Title game, and will be in position to do the same thing this weekend. Flacco will be looking to take shots downfield to Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, or even Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones at times. As each of these throws goes up, Culliver will immediately have a chance to cement his name as a Super Bowl hero.
The Ravens' dynamic kick returner/wide receiver has left many teams pulling their hair out this season. He ran back two kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns this season, and most recently ripped off a game-saving 70-yard touchdown in the last 30 seconds against Denver in the divisional round of the playoffs.
If anyone can flip this game on its head, it is Jones. His home-run ability is unparalleled, and with one fell swoop he can take all the momentum of this game. Baltimore will need big contributions from Jones like they have been spoiled with all season to make life easier on their offense.
Any of these guys are capable of stealing the show on the big stage. Will any of them be up to the task, or will it be someone even less-heralded? Will the game be a blowout and this conversation all be for naught? We'll just have to watch and find out, and so is the beauty of Super Bowl Sunday.