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This Week in Niners Nation, a weekly revisiting of Niners Nation content. This week is the biggest of them all. With our perfect Super Bowl record on the line, the 49ers, and Niners Nation, have been working hard.
Well this has been a crazy, wonderful, anticipation-filled week. Can't remember the last time I was this excited. Maybe in early 1995? Or, in case my wife reads this, the night before my wedding...yeah, that's the ticket. People, the couch is an uncomfortable, lonely place.
There's been a lot of work done by the staff here and there's a lot to cover. I'm going to dive straight into this one, highlighting some of the preview pieces and some of the news of the week.
Super Bowl XLVII - General Interest
The week has been fairly predictable and scripted, as Super Bowl weeks are supposed to be. The Harbaugh parents have been marched out, poked and prodded and have said they like both sons the same. I have a feeling John was the better kid, and I don't know why. Oh, wait....this is why. Most of the players spoke with the media, said all the right things, although a few bucked the trend as we'll see below.
We'll start off with James Brady examination of Harbowl I. I know, it sounds like some ancient Saxon king, but it's not. It's a football game. I don't think there's much to gather from the game. We played horrible on the back of travelling across the nation on a short week for a Thanksgiving game. I knew we had no chance in that game, but at least the NFL had a marquee matchup! | What can last year's Harbowl tell us about 49ers vs Ravens this time around? (Brady)
We all love Justin Smith. He's tenacious, does the little things, never complains and is playing with a partially torn triceps. I'd love to get him something, but what? Ray McDonald has the perfect gift idea. | Ray McDonald wants to thank Justin Smith with a Lombardi Trophy (DeSimone)
If you haven't seen it yet, now's your chance to watch the hilarious Ray Lewis parody on Saturday Night Live. Keenan, of Keenan and Kel fame, plays the role to perfection. There's a great GIF, of Lewis being caressed, as well. | Ray Lewis gets the SNL treatment (Video) (Fooch)
If you could pick five plays to define the Niners' season, what would they be? If you could make a video of it and post it on the front page at Niners Nation, well, you'd be Fooch. Sorry, folks...the job's taken. | Video: Re-visiting five plays that define the 49ers' season (Fooch)
One of the best things about sports is the unheralded player stepping up at the right moment. Cody Ross for the 2010 San Francisco Giants and David Tyree for the football Giants both come to mind, as recent examples. Tre9er takes a look at some potential candidates for the 49ers who may shine on shiniest of stages. | Some potential rope-a-dope surprise performances (Tre9er)
Here's a video by Fooch for you to enjoy. He examines... | Five 49ers-Ravens matchups to keep an eye on (Fooch)
Who is the MVP for the 49ers' offense. There were some great performances. Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree all deserve consideration. But, the trophy must be divided into 5 pieces and split amongst the offensive line. They've been the best in the league, and I think they'll make the difference in the Super Bowl. | Who is the 49ers offensive MVP? (DeSimone)
Here's a good one by liberty_JAC debunking the whole 'Team of Destiny' angle taken by the Baltimore Ravens. Do they really want the game more than the 49ers? | The myth of motivation (liberty_JAC)
Video is the perfect medium to express your ideas. You've got sound, imagery, people are pulled in when they watch it at home. Fooch exploits all of the above in giving you all the reasons why the 49ers are going to win this one come Sunday. | Why the 49ers will win (Fooch)
Super Bowl XLVII - Positional Previews
Fooch has a look at the Ravens' defense. They've long been the hallmark of the Baltimore franchise and carried them to their lone Super Bowl victory following the 2000 season. This year was a down year for them, statistically, but the many injuries suffered during the year had as much to do with that as anything else. | Ravens defensive cheat sheet (Fooch)
Next up, a look at the Ravens' offense. Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith scares the crap out of me. I wouldn't have even considered the long ball a threat were it not for the Falcons' repeated success against our secondary in the NFCCG. | Ravens offensive cheat sheet (Fooch)
Dylan takes a look at the 49ers' quarterback situation. Colin Kaepernick has been nothing short of spectacular in the playoffs, but his record-breaking day against the Packers feels like a distant memory. I've heard some predicting another big running game, as the Ravens' defense doesn't have the wheels to keep up with him on the fast track at the Superdome. We'll soon see. | Positional preview: 49ers quarterback (DeSimone)
It would be great for the 49ers to get some pressure on Joe Flacco. I would love to see him on his butt about 5 times in the first half. Who could manage that? | Positional preview: Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith (liberty_JAC)
Anthony Ly takes a look at the Niners' running backs. Homage is paid to Frank Gore, as it should be. The running backs have benefitted immensely from the dominance of the offensive line. If the 49ers are able to run the ball like they have done all season, the game will be hard for Baltimore to win. | Position preview: Frank Gore running for glory (Ly)
One of the biggest question marks going into the season was the receiver position. Michael Crabtree has emerged as the player the 49ers thought they were drafting, a true No. 1 and a decisive third down and red zone threat. The No. 2 receiver has been in flux all season. Mario Manningham appeared to be developing chemistry with Kaepernick before blowing out his knee. Now old-timer Randy Moss fills the void, seeking, like Gollum, to get his elusive ring. | Positional preview: Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss seek redemption (Ly)
One of the keys to the 49ers' defense this season has been the outstanding play by safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner, two players who's given names and surnames show up as a boo-boo on spellcheck. They've been excellent against the run, as expected, but their sure-tackling in the passing game has led the 49ers pass defense to overtake the run defense statistically. There are no YACs allowed around here. | Positional preview: 49ers safeties (DeSimone)
Super Bowl XLVII - Strategy Guide
I had previously mentioned Colin Kaepernick's speed. Dylan tackles the issue in depth. He notes that the Ravens' safeties are a bit slow. I think that our downfield blocking is going to negate any speed that the Ravens do bring to the table. | Colin Kaepernick's speed vs Ravens defense (DeSimone)
Again, the question of speed on the Superdome astroturf is raised. Frank Gore is the heart and soul of the rushing attack, but LaMichael James is damn fast. Do the Ravens' ancient defenders really want to chase us around all day. | How should the 49ers attack the Ravens? (Pt. 1 - Run) (DeSimone)
Dylan looks at the 49ers passing attack and how it looks to hold up against the Ravens. We haven't been known for our passing game in recent years, but things are changing under Kaepernick. One of the biggest improvements since the switch was made is the drop in sacks allowed. In the last five games, we've allowed a single sack in each. Kaepernick throws the ball away (probably why Alex Smith's completion percentage is way higher) or evades and destroys. | How should the 49ers attack the Ravens? (Pt. 2 - Pass) (DeSimone)
The 49ers defense needs to do a better job against the Ravens than they did against the Falcons. They did great tightening things up in the second half, but that start was bad. Staking the Ravens out to a 17-0 lead, with their experienced defense behind them would be a no-no. | How should the 49ers attack the Ravens? (Pt. 3 - Defense) (DeSimone)
Controversy, not just a Prince song
You can't have a Super Bowl without someone saying something stupid, can you. We'll start with Randy Moss' claim that he is the greatest receiver of all-time. There is not a single category that Moss has bested Jerry Rice at. He has the most touchdowns in a singles season with 23, but Rice scored 22 in 12 games in the labor dispute-shortened 1987 season. At most other positions there is room for debate, but WR.... | Randy Moss vs Jerry Rice: Brian Billick raises an interesting point (Fooch)
Chris Culliver....Cully...What a stupid thing to say. You may all be sick of it by now, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention it. Plus I want to get my two cents in. In response to ex-49er Kwame Harris' outing after being convicted of attacking his boyfriend, Culliver basically said gay players are not welcome on his team. It's the kind of comment that gets you run off of 'your' team. Now people are tripping over themselves to feel sorry for a convicted domestic abuser. I've seen some comments that people are tired of the stereotype of San Francisco as the gay city, and that it's really overblown. While there is some validity to that argument, having gay friends, having worked with many, as well as having some in my family, I can say with 100% confidence that San Francisco is the place where gay people from around the country, and world, go to get away from this exact attitude. | Chris Culliver comments and 49ers statement. (Fooch)
The winner for the most rec'd, most commented FanPost is nickbradley for bringing up the Derrelle Revis trade rumors. There are a lot of people who want the 49ers to trade Alex Smith for him. I hope we don't, don't think we could if we wanted to, and think a lot of us overestimate what teams might pay to get Alex. But thanks for generating the discussion. | Rent-a-Revis (nickbradley)
ILNinerNut has a post on Chris Culliver and his comments. He's a young guy, maybe he'll grow, but you couldn't have picked a worse time to say the worst thing. | Chris Culliver's comments (ILNinerNut)
And, wait, what's that....newcomer BenjaminWong with an epic post on how Kaepernick is going to light up the Ravens. We discussed which unheralded player might make an impact, but not which unknown FanPoster would step it up. Nice job. Love the upside-down Falcons logo. | It ain't Kaepenin! With their new weapon at quarterback, San Francisco is on the verge of Super Bowl glory (BenjaminWong)
Being a Sheep
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