Wednesday, 18 January 2012

He ain't heavy he's my.......................

It simply can't happen can it? The odds of two brothers coaching against each other in a Super Bowl has to be a million to one shot right?

Maybe not, as the odds for a Sibling Super Bowl is just two games away from becoming a reality.

In the NFC Jim Harbaugh coached his San Francisco 49ers to a memorable last minute win against the offensive juggernaut otherwise known as the New Orleans Saints.

Whilst in the AFC John Harbaugh led his Baltimore Ravens past the upstart Houston Texans, who to their credit kept it close despite being led by a rookie quarterback.

With the NFC and AFC Championship games this weekend we could see that million to one shot become the biggest Super Bowl story since Joe Namath sat on that sun lounger and told reporters that the 'guaranteed' the New York Jets (of the then rival league the AFL) would win Super Bowl III.

The two games to be played are both fascinating in their own ways. In the NFC the 49ers host the red-hot New York Giants, who last weekend disposed, no humiliated the current champions in their own house (the Green Bay Packers). In the AFC the Ravens travel to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots, the Tom Brady led Patriots with the best tight end duo in NFL history.

The 49ers v Giants has a real classic sound to it and will always take me back to the 1990 NFC Championship - my third favourite game I have ever watched - when the Giants kicker Matt Bahr kicked five field goals to defeat the Niners. The biggest story that day was Giants defender Leonard Marshall knocking the snot out of 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.

See here for that monster play.

This time the Giants are led by a guy who already has a Super Bowl ring, namely Eli Manning, but the quality of the defense is just as good as it was in 1990, when Lawrence Taylor was terrorising passers and Harry Carson was stuffing the ball carrier.

The 2011 Giants have a defensive line that is unparalleled - led by defensive lineman Justin Tuck (who already has two Super Bowl sacks) who has sacrificed stats to shore up a uniquely athletic defensive front. With him on the line rotation is Matthias Kiwanuka, Pro-Bowl octopus armed defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, London born Osi Umenyiora and former Cowboy Chris Canty.

If I was 49ers quarterback, despite my last minute heroics against the Saints, I would be worried that this is not in any way a normal defensive line - it's more like a fantasy defensive line created by crazed fans on a game of Madden.

Jim Harbaugh will gameplan to take advantage of the aggressive nature of the Giants defense, using running back Frank Gore's guile to find holes, and Vernon Davis to catch little curl routes that are just one missed tackle away from paydirt.

Brother John will have trouble of his own against the high-flying Patriots defense - as it will be just about impossible to defend Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez if they all run down field at the same time. No defense has figured out how to take all three out of a game. Like the salamander you can chop off an arm or a leg from the Patriots, but it has the power to regenerate itself and live on.

The Ravens are a team that has arguably overachieved by reaching the AFC Championship. Their quarterback Joe Flacco hardly is the most inspiring figure, and his absolutely nonsensical facial hair makes him look like a complete chump.



Whilst respect may be lost for Fu-Man-Flacco the world does have respect for Ravens defensive stalwarts Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs - all of whom have played lights-out football to get the team 60 minutes away from their second Super Bowl.

In all seriousness we are most likely to see both home teams prevail - leading to a Patriots v 49ers Super Bowl. Saying that I have a curse when it comes to predictions this season so we will likely end up with a Ravens v Giants Super Bowl.

Lets see if we can forget either option and get the Harbaugh brothers to coach against each other in the big dance - that would be one ticket I would love to have - I'd even get a bow tie.

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