“In some form or fashion, on multiple fronts, the issue of legacy hangs over every Super Bowl these days. But that discussion at Super Bowl XLVII should start nowhere else but with the singular feat that would be Ozzie Newsome's if his Baltimore Ravens triumph Sunday night against San Francisco,” he wrote. “In the NFL's Super Bowl era, which now touches six different decades, no one has done what the universally respected Ravens general manager could accomplish with a win against the 49ers: Newsome would be the first club executive to preside over a franchise that won twin Super Bowl titles, 12 years apart, with two different head coaches, two different quarterbacks, and only one player (linebacker Ray Lewis) taking part in both championship seasons. It would be a remarkable achievement, and one that I cannot find an exact historic parallel for anywhere in the game's modern era.”
“Nothing much seems to bother Flacco these days. He’s unflappable in the face of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII challenge against polar opposite Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers’ dynamic second-year, read-option-run quarterback luminary,” she wrote. “Flacco is really not concerned that the Ravens have yet to deliver a new contract to replace his rookie deal, which expires at the end of this season. What is a Joe Flacco worth? His agent, Joe Linta, has argued his client -- the only QB to win a playoff game in each of his first five NFL seasons -- deserves to be considered among the top-five players at his position in this regard. Imagine if Flacco, madly inconsistent in the regular season but nails in the postseason, wins on Sunday.”
“The San Francisco 49ers had an NFL-high nine players selected to the Pro Bowl this season. At this week’s media day, eight of them sat on podiums in front of television cameras and masses of reporters. The ninth, Mike Iupati, the starting left guard, roamed through the crowd with far less fanfare,” he wrote. “It would have been easy to mistake Iupati, wearing his jersey and no pads, for a fan if he were not 6 feet 5 inches tall and more than 330 pounds. His size, along with a Mohawk-style haircut and arms covered in tattoos, make him an intimidating presence, right up until he speaks. Iupati is a 25-year-old run-blocking specialist from American Samoa described by teammates as gigantic, fearsome and a monster, but he speaks softly, even taking the time to politely correct a reporter who mispronounced his surname.”
--- John Eisenberg of BaltimoreRavens.com writes that Ray Lewis’ role on the field is more important than all the noise off of it.
“This is a Ray Lewis story that isn’t about deer antler spray or revisiting Atlanta or how he is inspiring his teammates,” he wrote. “It isn’t about the Saturday Night Live spoof or the ‘last ride’ or whether he might dance his way out of the tunnel Sunday. With all due respect to those myriad other ways he has made his way into the headlines this week, this is a Ray Lewis story about … sorry … football. As you may know, this clattering week of hype and chatter does, in fact, culminate with (whew) a game, one in which Lewis will play a crucial role. You could even say the outcome of Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers rests on his shoulders in a way.”
--- Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury-News writes that 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke is nowhere to be seen.
“Trent Baalke, the 49ers undercover general manager, has -- no surprise -- turned down all interview requests this week and dropped totally off the radar,” he wrote. “He's around, I've been told. He's studying tape, attending the 49ers' Super Bowl practices, bantering with players and probably coming up with some hearty athletic competition vs. Jim Harbaugh. But it's all far from the media's view, and it's classic Baalke: He's defined by the talent he has added to the 49ers roster and by the lengths he'll go to avoid talking about how he's doing it.”