Annapolis Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
San Francisco is better. They’re faster. Probably younger. More talented on offense and defence. Their coach — the more electric of the Brothers Harbaugh — is a better motivator and better known. The 49ers are for real, and their fans have manned the turrets all week. They want their sixth Super Bowl. They want to remain the only team with an undefeated Super Bowl record… at least, the only undefeated team with more than one appearance or so.
But, it’s not their year.
You can try and align the stars and the stats to support Colin Kaepernick and his powerful band of merry men, but something is just tilting the scales toward Baltimore. They’ve been together longer. They’ve lost more, and they’ve lost together. They’ve waited and they’ve had chances robbed from them. Joe Flacco is the most disrespected elite quarterback since Eli Manning.
Yeah, that was only a year ago, but a lot can change in that time.
A year ago, the Ravens were supposedly more talented, but they still didn’t have the sand to hang with New England. Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith were worthy receivers, but they weren’t equal to the Wes Welkers, Mario Manninghams, or Victor Cruzes of the NFL.
This year, though, something changed. The Ravens beat the Colts, and then the Broncos, and then the Patriots. You could have made the case they were the underdog against Indy, but they definitely were against New England and Denver.
The Ravens want it more. They’re hungrier. They seem the understand the situation they’re in. All champions do.
Look at the Boston Bruins or the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
Sure, the Vancouver Canucks and the Miami Heat were the better teams. They had the better seasons. They were the Vegas favourites. They were deeper and faster and more talented. But, they didn’t have THAT element all champions have. They weren’t desperate enough, and you have to be desperate to win.
Too many teams try to hide their desperation. They think it’s embarrassing. Men aren’t supposed to be desperate, they think. Yeah, well they’re not supposed to ask for directions either, but sometimes you need to get where you’re going instead of driving up and down the freeway for 75 minutes just to prove a point to your wife.
It’s not brave to be desperate, right? No, maybe not. Not always.
But, you have to desperate to win. You have to be desperate to know you have nothing to lose. You have to believe there’s no other option than Win, Damnit! WIN!
“You’ll never be a good writer if you fear dying,” says Ernest Hemingway to Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris. “It’s something all men before you have done… all men will do.”
He’s talking about penning novels, but his advice holds for almost anyone and any profession.
Most of these Ravens weren’t Ravens when Baltimore won the Super Bowl in 2000. Hell, barely any of us remember it. It was the forgotten Super Bowl, footnoted for a great defence and a terribly over-accomplishing New York Giants team led by Kerry Collins.
Yup. Trent Dilfer versus Kerry Collins. Officially the worst quarterback matchup in Super Bowl history.
This game, though, is different. All of us will remember it, and everyone in San Francisco will remember it, too, because they’ll lose. Baltimore will win, and the Ravens will finally get to enjoy this one and watch it thump its way into American infamy.