--- Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News says that Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh are engendering the support of their players by quickly deflecting attention away from the brother-versus-brother storyline.
“The Harbaugh reluctance to milk this story in the face of massive interest is an intriguing NFL character study, too,” Kawakami wrote. “I believe this is true with the Ravens, and I know it's true with the 49ers: The players love the coach who consistently puts the spotlight on them. It defines this dynamic era of the 49ers, really. Jim Harbaugh obviously gets a ton of the public praise, but he also has, in a thousand ways, pushed this very talented group to play for each other. And that motivates the 49ers to play for him, too.”
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--- Don Banks of Sports Illustrated says the Ravens again proved that being down in December doesn’t mean you’re out.
“Like the Giants last year, and the Packers the year before, we didn't really see these Baltimore Ravens coming, did we? But maybe we should have. After all, Super Bowl teams of late aren't always the beauty pageant winners, primping and preparing for their victory lap. They're the survivors. They're the clubs that hang around, and then get hot, putting it together when it matters most. When we least expect them, they arrive. And these Ravens fit the recent profile to a tee. A three-game losing streak in December? A change at offensive coordinator in Week 14? Devastating injuries to key defensive stars? Five weeks ago, Baltimore looked to be in disarray. Now the upstart Ravens are staring at their first Super Bowl trip in 12 years, and Ray Lewis will cap his Hall of Fame career with the biggest final turn in the spotlight imaginable,” Banks wrote.
--- John Eisenberg of BaltimoreRavens.com wrote thank-you notes for the Ravens, including some to surprising recipients.
“Besides the obvious thank-you note recipients, others are also deserving, having played a role in helping create a team that reached the Super Bowl,” Eisenberg wrote. “You’re going to scream, but Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers deserve a thank-you note, having frustrated the Ravens many times over the years and twice knocked them out of the playoffs. The Terrible Towels set the bar, showed the Ravens the standard they had to meet to get where they wanted go. It was pretty crucial, actually. Billy Cundiff and Lee Evans also deserve notes, even though they’re the banes of Baltimore football, fairly or not. If not for their late-game miscues a year ago, the Ravens might have gone to the Super Bowl then, but instead, they were left insatiably hungry, simmering over what might have been.”
--- Jen Floyd Engel of FOX Sports writes that Jim Harbaugh's bold moves and brash personality were perfect for the 49ers.
“This type of personality is intensely difficult to deal with and wickedly dangerous to coach against, especially in a league where increasingly too many coach not to lose, coach not to be fired, coach what is safe, coach what is easily defensible,” she wrote. “I think of Harbaugh deciding to go with [second-year] quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Both decisions had a risky option and a safe one. Fox went safe. Harbaugh went risky. The genius of Harbaugh was not simply that his gamble paid off. It is in his willingness to go all in, to be wrong.”Patriots, completing 21 of 36 passes for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns. Much of his best work came in the second half, when Baltimore outscored New England, 21-0. More surprising, it was business as usual for Flacco, who has now outshone Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady during the Ravens’ three-game playoff streak.”