Super Bowl 2013: Performances That Will Fuel Big Seasons Next Year
The Super Bowl is just one game, but it is the type of big event where performances live on. For a number of players in the championship, it will lead to big things in the future.
After Eli Manning won his first Super Bowl in 2007, he put together his first Pro Bowl season in 2008.
For the Baltimore Ravens, a few key guys should gain confidence from the win and build on it for next season. Conversely, the San Francisco 49ers players should be motivated to do even better after the loss.
These players all had good performances in the Super Bowl and that should fuel them to have a big year in 2013.
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
Say what you want about Joe Flacco, but there is no denying that he came through for the Ravens in the postseason.
He had 11 touchdowns, and more importantly, zero interceptions in four playoff games and ended up winning the Super Bowl MVP award.
It is time to pay the man.
However, now that he has raised his expectations, he has to live up to them. He will get paid like one of the top quarterbacks in football, but he needs to put up the numbers of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in order to be in a conversation with them.
After this postseason, there is little doubt that Flacco will be able to raise his level of play.
Dannell Ellerbe, LB, Ravens
When Ray Lewis went down with a triceps injury during the regular season, Dannell Ellerbe stepped up in his absence.
The fourth-year player had his best season by far and finished with 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Lewis returned for the playoffs and received the majority of the attention leading up to the Super Bowl, but it was Ellerbe that led the team in tackles against the 49ers with nine.
Ellerbe was a defensive leader when his team needed him the most. Next year, he will have to do that once again as he fills the shoes of one of the top players of his generation.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers
Although the game against the Ravens started off rough, Colin Kaepernick had a pretty impressive finish.
The quarterback had 302 passing yards and a touchdown to go with 62 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He once again showed that he is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL.
He also was able to lead the team back into the game after facing a 28-6 deficit. Some better plays on the five-yard line could have completed the comeback.
Next year, Kaepernick will enter training camp as the undisputed starter after taking over for Alex Smith during the regular season. With the team behind him, he will make a big jump next season.
Vernon Davis, 49ers
Unlike other players on this list, Vernon Davis had already established himself as one of the best players in the league at his position.
This season, however, he was far from it. His receiving yards and touchdowns have been down each year since peaking in 2009, and he seemed to disappear from the passing game at times this season.
After Week 3, Davis only had two games of over 40 receiving yards and only one touchdown.
That changed in the playoffs, where he showed off his ability to create mismatches. In the Super Bowl, he had six catches for 104 receiving yards.
Davis needs to be a more consistent part of the offense, and the big game against the Ravens should help him to once again realize his potential.
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