By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens have fought for it all season. They’ve endured more than most to ensure their place in history. They’ve sweat, bled, and cried for the opportunity few get to experience. They’ll get a chance to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy — the biggest prize in all of football. The subplots in this matchup are immense, but irrelevant. The sibling rivalry has caught the interest of the entire nation, while the impending retirement of a living legend lingers in the back of player’s minds. But when the whistle blows and the nerves settle, the only thing that will matter is the championship – the right to be called the best in the world.
Many expect the Ravens to fall in this contest – sound familiar. Baltimore has been the underdog throughout the postseason. And in some cases, the label was justified. For instance, the Broncos were for all intents and purposes the best team in the NFL. They seemed to have no weakness. If Baltimore were to beat them, they’d have to play flawless football for 60 minutes – they didn’t. Baltimore gave up two kick return for touchdowns and still managed to advance to the AFC Championship game. The “Mile High Miracle” should have been analysts’ first hint that this team was destined for the Super Bowl.
But many figured the win to be dumb luck and penciled in the Patriots as a shoe in for the Super Bowl. So the Ravens took it upon themselves to walk into New England and take what belonged to them. There was no last second field goal; no heroic 70 yard pass downfield for the go ahead score. The Ravens weren’t going to flirt with destiny any longer. Don’t be surprised if the same thing happens in the Super Bowl.
This game will ultimately come down to how the Ravens handle Colin Kaepernick. Many expect him to run wild on the Ravens defense. The league has fallen in love with the pistol formation. But Baltimore has had two weeks to prepare. They seem to believe they have the right gameplan to stop the dynamic quarterback.
“We definitely have to be patient,” Ngata stated earlier this week. “We have to make sure that if you have a dive, you take the dive. If you have the quarterback, you take the quarterback. We’ve got to be careful and make sure that we communicate and get a stop. Our guys up front have to beat their blocks because they do very well with double teams. Once we get to the running back, we have to bring him down.”
Seems like a solid gameplan. Not that it matters what the gameplan is anyway. This team seems to be destined to win this championship. Throughout all the injuries and tragedies that would have taken the life out of most teams, this unit continued to find a way. The 49ers should feel good heading into the game against the Ravens. Their team is as talented as they come. But Ray Rice believes Baltimore’s fate is already sealed.
“We are the team of destiny,” running back Ray Rice said. “I’ll say it again. We are a team of destiny.”
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.