NEW ORLEANS — Much of the talk leading up to Super Bowl XLVII was about the coaching Harbaugh brothers, San Francisco's Jim and Baltimore's John, and the historic spin they put on the NFL's splashiest showcase.
But the outcome Sunday hinges on the unrelated brothers in arms, Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers and Joe Flacco of the Ravens, quarterbacks of contrasting styles, and how they handle the biggest game of their lives.
Kaepernick is a sculpted, 6-foot-4 nightmare for a defense, a second-year player with the speed of a sprinter and a pitcher's right arm. He's the quintessential dual threat, whose post-snap intentions are as hard to read as the tattooed Bible verses that run up and down his biceps.
The 6-foot-6 Flacco is only 28, and he's already an old-school throwback. Although he's far from immobile, he's much more of a drop-back pocket dweller than his Super Bowl counterpart. And lately, he's on fire. In Baltimore's path back to the sport's marquee game — victories over Indianapolis, Denver and New England — Flacco has eight touchdown passes with no interceptions.