Spare a thought for Alex Smith, whose last game for his team will be greatly overshadowed by the other guy’s last game for his team. The ‘other guy’ is of course, Ray Lewis, who will cap off his stellar 16-year career with his second trip to the Super Bowl. We’re all partial to fairy tales, and while Lewis is no stranger to controversy, it will in sporting terms, be a fairy tale if he does wrap things up with another ring.
So he preens, prances, dances, preaches, cries and genuinely thinks God is a Ravens fan, but his ability and dominance over his near two-decade career is undeniable. If he wins, sure, his post-game interview will be insufferable, but the winning sentiment will be real.
For Smith however, it all ends the same way it began for his 49er career; disappointingly. The former 1st pick in the draft had seemingly put things together under Coach Jim Haurbaugh last year only to have the rug pulled under him a few months ago. Not for playing poorly, but for having Colin Kaepernick as his back up. The rest is all bicep-kissing, tattoo-havin’, touchdown throwin’ bad luck (for Smith) that Kaepernick is actually that good.
So while Ray Lewis will ride off into the sunset with either a second ring (or near storybook ending), Smith will spend the off season convincing potential suitors that his last good game for the 49ers (his 18-19, 232 yards, 3 touchdown performance against the Cardinals) will happen more often that his other games. And let’s face it, in the NFL, when you can show flashes of brilliance, there’s always a team willing to give you (another) shot. Smith will probably cash in a nice free agent pay and end up leading the Cardinals/Bills/Chiefs to an 8-8 record.
(To my beloved Eagles: Please don’t give him a shot)
The Betting Line
This Super Bowl has plenty of interweaving story lines both big a small- Lewis, the Harbowl, Kaepernick’s rise, Smith’s fall- but for the game itself, it is the most dynamic game that features two uniquely dynamic teams both high flying on offense and hard hitting on defense. Unless these two teams play each other. The last game between them, on Thanksgiving Day in 2011, ended with a Ravens’ 16-6 win; buoyed by a bunch of field goals and little else.
What’s the safe bet here? Well, the over/under for the game currently sits at 47.5, and so if you’d like to cash in on a more than likely, bet the UNDER on this line and you should be fine.
However, if you’re like me and want to go on a gut feeling instead of sporting and statistical intelligence, you’ll take the Ravens on a straight up win (or both). They are currently +3.5 underdogs and it feels like there may just be that one final hurrah for not only Lewis, but the rest of the Ravens old guard like Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs.
The 49ers time will come; it’s just not going to be this year.
Prediction: Ravens 21, 49ers 17.