No offense to fans of the Baltimore Ravens, the gritty, hard-hitting American Football Conference champs. But the San Francisco 49ers will win the Super Bowl on Sunday in New Orleans.
How confident am I? I'll even throw out a prediction of a final score for you as well. I'll go with the Niners 31, Ravens 27. It'll be a fun game to watch, for sure, America, no matter how it turns out. Forget, for a moment, the billion-to-one hook of two brothers coaching opposing teams. Just enjoy the action.
Making predictions of sports events is a dangerous practice. If I happened to be wrong, I know a lot of people will feel compelled to hurl it back in my face about 14 seconds after the game ends.
I suspect that plenty of Baltimore Ravens' fans will feel insulted. Baltimore is an iconic American city, a proud (by the definition of its residents) shot-and-a-beer, blue-collar place.
It would be especially galling to those good men and women if their beloved team lost to — of all people — a squad from San Francisco, the white wine-swilling crowd out there in the west. If the Ravens succumbed to, say, the Buffalo Bills, it would be far less offensive to them. At least Buffalo is another rugged eastern city, a lot like "Bawlmore." (Note, self-aware Baltimore Ravens fans, that I intentionally didn't offer up the name of "Pittsburgh" — I know my football traditions, folks).
Why do I like the Niners? Two words: Colin Kaepernick. He is the most rare National Football Player to come along since, maybe, Bob Hayes, the first track and field star of the 1960s to make it big as a football player (as a wide receiver — or a split end, as he was known in those days, for the Dallas Cowboys).
Just as Bob Hayes had revolutionized the game, with his remarkable sprinter's speed, Kaepernick has had a profound impact on the NFL style of quarterbacks. If Kaepernick has a career game on the sport's biggest stage on Feb. 3, then the entire NFL will take notice. The NFL is a league of copycats, like most industries. People like to follow the new leader.
So, If Kaepernick leads the Niners to a big victory, look for the entire league to look for the next flock of Super Colin prototypes. He is a very tall, very strong quarterback. He can run, of course, as we have seen, as well as Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck or any of the running phenoms from the present and past.
But Kaepernick can pass the football like a laser! He throws darts. Kaepernick has size, strength, and natural ability. But what truly separates him from other young quarterbacks is his poise and ability to make correct decisions under pressure.
What's most remarkable is that Kaepernick has had less than a full year of starts for the Niners in the NFL. He shouldn't be such a fully formed quarterback by now. Yes, Griffin, Wilson and Luck were also exceptional in their rookie seasons. No doubt about it.
But Kaepernick is the one charged with playing in the Super Bowl. I think he'll have a big game and the Niners will ride the Colin train to a super victory.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution. Click here to order a copy. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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