Who Is Playing In The 2013 Super Bowl? A Beginner’s Guide

  • Glenn Davis

The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are playing in the 2013 Super Bowl.*

And with that out of the way, a few things you might want to know if you are indeed new to this whole Super Bowl thing and have not been following the breathless coverage taking place over the last couple weeks:

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Ravens coach John Harbaugh are brothers.

See? That’s them, in the photo above. They played each other last season, too, but this being the Super Bowl, there wasn’t nearly the same hype around that matchup. (And there was actually quite a bit of hype leading up to that game, too.) Just something to know because you’ll undoubtedly hear it brought up during the game, but a warning: if you are watching the Super Bowl with obsessive football fans, do not mention the brother thing to them. They will be tired of hearing it.

Legendary Raven Ray Lewis is playing his last game.

Really, really do not mention this angle if you are watching with obsessive football fans. But Lewis is an all-time great player, and the announcing team will mention that it’s his last game every five seconds. Be ready. You might be as tired of it by the end of the game as anyone else.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was named the starter midseason, and the previous starter, Alex Smith, was benched despite playing well himself. Also, Kaepernick was adopted and has tattoos, and people have written dumb things about both.

Obviously, the QB switch worked out well, despite being controversial at the time. Kaepernick is playing extremely well, and is a ton of fun to watch on top of that. Also, this is his pet tortoise.

Part of the 49ers’ success with Kaepernick is predicated on their use of concepts from the Pistol offense, which Kaepernick ran with great effectiveness at the University of Nevada, thanks in large part to his outstanding running ability. In the pistol, the quarterback lines up a few yards behind the center, with a running back lined up directly behind the quarterback.

In the two photos below, Chris Brown (a.k.a. @smartfootball) demonstrates one variation of the Pistol the Niners used with great success earlier in the year: lining up with two fullbacks as lead blockers. The defense keyed in on running back Frank Gore, but Kaepernick, who correctly read before the play that the defense would do this, kept the ball himself – again, great runner – and wound up with a 50-yard touchdown. The play, Brown notes, is known as an inside zone read to the right, or Inside Zone Bluff for short. This:

led to this:

…OK, fine, that wasn’t a newbie tip. But you’ll definitely impress – if not downright intimidate – everyone with whom you’re watching the game with this little tidbit.

*…is something we’d say if we were doing some cheap newbie Super Bowl SEO whoring. Is that what you’re accusing us of doing? Cheap Super Bowl newbie SEO whoring? How dare you… nah, just kiddin’, of course that’s what we’re doing.

Photos via Getty, SB Nation