No Tom Brady. No Aaron Rodgers. No Ben Roethlisberger. Not a Manning in sight.
Super Bowl has a couple of fresh faces at quarterback, bona fide nobodies so far as the NFL title game goes. One will leave New Orleans as football’s latest star.
For Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco, this is new territory and, of course, precisely where they would like to be.
”To be AFC champs feels good,” Flacco said. ”We move on now to this challenge.”
Flacco, the sole quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first 5 NFL seasons, will lead the Baltimore Ravens into Sunday’s matchup against the NFC-winning 49ers and Kaepernick, a backup for the majority of his 2 seasons.
It’s the first time in a decade that the big game doesn’t feature one of the big 5 household names in the glamour position.
You can’t get much fresher than quarterbacks who never have gotten this far before.
”At the start of the season, I was just expecting to get on the field some way, somehow,” announced Kaepernick, the backup for Alex Smith, who took the San Francisco 49ers to the meeting final last season.
He got that opportunity after Smith sustained a concussion on November 11, and hasn’t seen the bench since.
A second-round draft picks in 2011 out of Nevada – not exactly Alabama – Kaepernick has the shortest pro resume of any Super Bowl quarterback. It’s impressive, however. His legs (181 yards rushing against Green Bay Packers, a record for the position) and his arm (105.9 passer rating in the postseason) are the most important reasons San Francisco is in its first NFL title game in 18 years.
”Anybody that’s out there on the football field, you want to see them produce and get results,” left tackle Joe Staley declared. ”With Colin, his first couple of starts, you didn’t know what should be expected because we hadn’t seen him out there as a starting quarterback. He did amazing and he has all season, as well as the playoffs. I suspect it was one of those things where we saw him in practice and we just wanted to see how he was going to deal with the situation in the games. He has done that.”
Still, he’s new to this environment and that barely appears to faze Kaepernick.
”One thing I’ve always said about him from the start is he comes off as a guy that has got a lot of confidence,” declared center Jonathan Goodwin, who won a Super Bowl snapping for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints 3 years ago. ”I’m not just saying that. You can feel it by the way that he acts and talks.” Football betting lines
Flacco has that air of certainty, too, but at least it’s built on a rather more substantial foundation, including an 8-4 mark in the playoffs, with 6 road wins – the most for any quarterback, Montana and Young included. That goes for Baltimore’s John Unitas, as well.
No one is comparing Flacco to them just yet, excepting the self-belief he brings to the job.