Super Bowl 2013: Ray Lewis, Harbaugh Bowl and Five Storylines To Follow in the Big Game

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Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl is perhaps the most anticipated event in America, it’s not even a contest. No other event in American culture gets every single person on the same page the way the Super Bowl does. Everyone from die-hards to casual fans and even business and tech geeks, everyone pays attention to the Super Bowl in some way, shape or form.

But another thing that’s very American about the Super Bowl is narrative, and there’s plenty of that heading into what could easily become one of the most memorable Super Bowls in the history of the game.

We’ve got everything from person and career redemption, to quarterback controversy and even sibling rivalry. If you’re a fan of sports and narrative then Super Bowl XLVII is exactly what you’ve been waiting for:

1. Will Ray Lewis’ career end on the highest possible note?

Brett Favre couldn’t retire unless we was going out on top. Instead, he went out with a swollen purple hand, ankles full of fluid and a real sense of shame, but somewhere in a shed in Mississippi Favre is crying himself to sleep knowing that Ray Lewis is a single game away from going out the way every player wants to.

Set aside Lewis’ career as a whole (and specifically his 2000 murder trial) for a moment and think about his season this year: he went from contemplating retirement to looking like he was going to be forced into retirement to a game away from exiting his profession on the highest peak you can reach. Then when you consider his career, and how he’ll retire with two Super Bowls and possibly two Super Bowl MVPs, it’s going to be hard to argue against saying Lewis is the greatest defensive player to have ever played the game.

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Can Colin Kapernick complete one of the fastest and most incredible rises in NFL history?

Last year, Colin Kaepernick was just an athletic backup with a goofy name. At the start of this season Colin Kaepernick was just a gimmick backup with a goofy name but now he’s become a fan favorite, he’s on his way to winning a Super Bowl in his first season as a starter — oh and that name, it’s household now.

When you think of meteoric rises in the NFL, Colin Kaepernick just about takes the cake. From the fast rise to the underlying history of 49ers quarterbacks seemingly coming out of nowhere to become true leaders, Kapernick’s story has just about everything.

Just over ten years ago, a little known quarterback named Tom Brady took over when Drew Bledsoe was forced out of a game and the rest, well the rest is an NFL dynasty. But we always ask ourselves when the next Tom Brady is going skyrocket out of basically nowhere and become an elite quarterback of the future. It’s getting ahead of ourselves to say Kaepernick is the next Brady, but the similarities are undeniable.

If Kaepernick can win a Super Bowl in his first season, it would almost mean more to the future of the NFL than it would to his career.

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Is Joe Flacco finally going to break out of his shell and become truly elite?

One of the biggest knocks on the Ravens has been Joe Flacco. People are quick to shovel all the disappointment the Ravens have had recently on Flacco not being able to fight through it and lead them to victory. Even though Billy Cundiff missed the field goal in the AFC title game last season, it was Flacco’s fault for not getting the ball into a receivers hands.

Even earlier this season, people were discounting Flacco’s importance to the Ravens offense, saying that Ray Rice was the pulse and that Flacco was simply there to snap the ball and hand it off to him.

But once games really started to matter, specifically the Ravens playoff game against the Broncos, something happened: Flacco showed us just how big of idiots we all really are. Flacco has changed people’s perception of him so much so, that one of the Ravens keys to winning a championship is Joe Flacco throwing the deep ball. A lot has been made about Colin Kaepernick’s quick rise to the top, but just like Eli Manning did five years prior, Joe Flacco has a chance to finally show the world just how wrong we really were about him this whole time. 

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