NEW ORLEANS - Finally, we know the combatants in Super Bowl XLVII and it’ll be a brotherly battle.
The Harbowl, as Twitter dubbed it – Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers vs. John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens.
But if not for one play – one ill-timed, game-changing mistake – we would’ve had something different and would be talking about something other than what those on Twitter already have dubbed the Har-bowl.
Rahim Moore’s whiff in Denver’s thin air is the play that might just define these playoffs.
And as the New Orleans can attest, sometimes it’s the gifts that matter most.
Tracy Porter’s interception of Brett Favre in the 2010 NFC championship game allowed the Saints to earn their first Super Bowl berth eventually the championship.
Jacoby Jones’ catch behind Moore in the AFC divisional playoffs allowed the Ravens to get to overtime, which allowed them to eventually get to the conference title game and now the Super Bowl.
Maybe, just maybe, there’s something else at play. We’ll come back to that.
For San Francisco, it was the best team in the NFC playoffs. Behind a dynamic second-year quarterback who has shown a veteran’s maturity and a bone-rattling defense, the 49ers out-muscled and outmaneuvered Green Bay and Atlanta.
By the end of Sunday’s NFC title match, there was little question San Francisco was the best team in the conference, much to the liking of New Orleans fans.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is delightful to watch and a terror to defend, something that has become apparent in the past two months. The defense is marauding and clutch and matches Kaepernick with the beauty in which it plays.
Sometimes, though, that’s just not enough.
While we’re not predicting a winner, it’s hard to ignore just what’s happening with Baltimore.
The whole Ray Lewis Retirement Tour certainly is one thing. The Ravens’ fearsome linebacker has changed the way people look at him after the murder charges he faced in 2000. Now the emotional leader of the Ravens has given his teammates something to play for and it’s working.
There’s one more thing.
Owner Art Modell died in September (that’s why you see ART patches on Baltimore’s jerseys). Lewis was wearing a shirt under his pads Sunday that was adorned with a picture of Modell. It’s obvious losing Modell has meant something to those playing for the team he owned.
Destiny has already given us a Super Bowl with brothers.
Now you just wonder if it’s about to deliver one more time this season.