I'll be rooting for Jim Harbaugh and his 49ers to beat the Ravens on Sunday in the Super Bowl, but the objective side of me says Baltimore will win the game.
As Josh Wilson wrote the other day, the Colts have many connections to the two teams playing in this year's Super Bowl: The Ravens and 49ers. Personally, I think Colts fans are going to lean more to Jim Harbaugh's 49ers than they do to John Harbaugh's Ravens. Yes, current Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano spent several years in Baltimore working for John as an assistant, but Colts fans are going to connect more with "Captain Comeback" Jim, who played for the Colts from 1994-1997.
Plus, it was Jim who recruited and coached Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener at Stanford, back when Jim was rebuilding that program. It was Jim who brought assistant head coach Pep Hamilton on board in Pal Alto. Hamilton is now the Colts offensive coordinator, bringing with him the scheme Jim now employs in SF.
I also have a passing interest in Vic Fangio, current 49ers defensive coordinator and one-time DC for the Colts. It was Fangio who oversaw the Colts defense in 2001, when it set records for ineptness on the field. When the season was over, then-team president Bill Polian ordered then-head coach Jim Mora to fire Fangio. Mora refused, and for good reason. It wasn't Fangio's fault that players like Jason Doering, Chat Cota, and Jeff Burris were shoehorned in on defense. Those were Polian busts, and refusing to let Fangio fall on the sword for front office incompetence is this rare thing we see in the NFL called integrity.
It's a big reason why I have a soft spot for Mora, even though he seems batsh*t crazy when he gets on one of his HIGHLY entertaining rants.
Note: When Jim Caldwell was confronted with a similar situation Mora faced in 2001 - with defensive coordinator Larry Coyer in 2011 - Caldwell caved and fired his one-time mentor during the season. This is a big reason why I have little respect for Caldwell as a coach. He doesn't appear to stand-up for his people, and, from the sources I've spoken with you know what happened inside the walls of West 56th Street in 2011, Caldwell can be intimidated.
Back to Fangio, he has done a remarkable job in SF, and should his team win a Super Bowl, it will stick in Bill Polian's craw. I've never met or spoken with Fangio, but I never liked what happened to him in 2001. It should have been handled better.
In terms of game analysis, my brief overview is that the 49ers secondary isn't talented enough to run with the Ravens receivers. It all comes down to whether San Francisco can get pressure on Joe Flacco and rattle him. Flacco and the offense are what drive the Ravens today, not Ray Lewis and the defense. That said, I think Lewis, Ed Reed, and Paul Kruger are all ideally suited to shutting down the read-option. Overall, the match-ups favor Baltimore, but I'll be pulling for SF and Jimmy Harbaugh.