Super Bowl XLVII is an upcoming American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Baltimore Ravens and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion San Francisco 49ers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2012 season. It will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 3, 2013 at 6:30 EST
Nicknamed the Harbaugh Bowl, HarBowl, SuperBaugh, and the Brother Bowl, this will be the first Super Bowl featuring opposing head coaching brothers, Baltimore's John Harbaugh and San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh, whose clubs previously met in a 2011 Thanksgiving Classic, in which John's Ravens won, 16–6. The Ravens, after finishing the 2012 regular season with a 10–6 record, are making their second Super Bowl, having previously won Super Bowl XXXV. Ray Lewis, the MVP from that game, returns for this game, which he has said will be his last before his retirement from professional football. The 49ers enter the game seeking their sixth Super Bowl win in team history (and first since Super Bowl XXIX), which would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most Super Bowl wins, after going 5–0 in their previous appearances. San Francisco finished the regular season at 11–4–1.
This will mark the first Super Bowl in which both of the teams have appeared in, but not yet lost, a previous Super Bowl: the 49ers have won all five of their previous Super Bowls while the Ravens won in their only previous Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XXXV against the New York Giants. This will mean that the winner of the contest will become the only remaining team in the NFL to have appeared in multiple Super Bowls without losing a Super Bowl. This will also be the first Super Bowl in which both teams can trace their lineage to the All-America Football Conference, as the Ravens are descended from the Cleveland Browns franchise, which joined the NFL along with the 49ers when the AAFC collapsed after the 1949 season.
After going 12–4 and reaching the AFC Championship Game in 2011, only to lose to the New England Patriots when Billy Cundiff missed a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal, the Ravens advanced further in 2012 to the Super Bowl after recording a 10–6 regular season record. Under head coach John Harbaugh, who is in his fifth season with the team, Baltimore upgraded their roster with players such as defensive backs Sean Considine and Corey Graham, and wide receiver Jacoby Jones. In December 2012, the Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and promoted quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell, who was previously the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2009 to 2011, as the successor. With new weapons and leaders on both sides of the ball, they finished the season ranked 10th in points per game (24.9), and 12th in fewest points allowed (21.5)
In command of the offense was five year veteran Joe Flacco, who finished the season with a career high 3,817 passing yards and 22 touchdowns, with just 10 interceptions. His top targets were receivers Anquan Boldin (65 receptions, 921 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Torrey Smith (49 receptions, 855 yards, 8 touchdowns), along with tight end Dennis Pitta (61 receptions, 669 yards, 7 touchdowns). Their backfield featured two pro bowl selections, halfback Ray Rice and fullback Vonta Leach. Rice rushed for 1,143 yards and 9 touchdowns, while also hauling in 61 receptions for 478 yards and another score. Leach served effectively as his lead blocker and a receiver out of the backfield, catching 21 passes. The Ravens offensive line was led by pro bowl guard Marshal Yanda.
On special teams, Jones returned 38 kickoffs for 1,116 yards and two touchdowns, giving him a whopping 30.7 yards per return average. He also gained 341 yards and another touchdown returning punts, and caught 30 passes for 406 yards and a score. Rookie kicker Justin Tucker ranked 7th in the NFL in field goal percentage (90.9), kicking 30/33 field goals and making all 42 of his extra point attempts.
Baltimore's defensive line was anchored by pro bowl defensive end Haloti Ngata, who compiled 51 tackles and 5 sacks, along with defensive tackle Arthur Jones (47 tackles, 4.5 sacks). The Ravens also had an excellent set of linebackers, such as Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Jameel McClain, Terrell Suggs, and Ray Lewis. Kruger led the team in sacks with 9, while Ellerbe added 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks. McClain had 79 tackles. Suggs, a ten-year veteran and five-time pro bowl selection, who had missed the first half of the regular season with a partially torn achilles tendon, made a speedy recovery and was key in the Ravens win over the Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs with 2 sacks on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Lewis, a 17-year veteran and 13-time pro bowl selection, had missed most of the season with an arm injury, but still managed to rack up 57 tackles in just 6 games. Then shortly before returning for the playoffs, he announced his plans to retire after the postseason, and promptly went on to amass a staggering 44 tackles in Baltimore's three playoff games.
The Ravens secondary featured pro bowl safety Ed Reed, the NFL's all time leader in interception return yardage. Reed had another superb season in 2012, recording 58 tackles and 4 interceptions. Cornerback Cary Williams was also a big contributor with 4 interceptions and 75 tackles.
The team dedicated their 2012 season to former owner and founder Art Modell, who died on September 6, 2012, four days before the first regular season game
The 49ers had recently emerged as a dominant team after nearly a decade of ineptitude. During the 80's and 90's, they had been one of the NFL top contenders, playing in nine conference championship games and winning five Super Bowls. But after a strong 2002 season, San Francisco went into a dismal slump in which they failed to make the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons. Following the end of the 2010 season, the 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh as their head coach. Harbaugh, who played 14 years in the NFL, joined the team after an impressive 12–1 season as the coach of Stanford, and in his first season with San Francisco he managed to turn their fortunes around. Aided by breakout seasons from quarterback Alex Smith and receiver Michael Crabtree, high 49ers draft picks who had taken years to emerge, San Francisco improved from a 6–10 record in 2010 to a 13–3 record in 2011 and an appearance in the NFC title game.
Smith entered the 2012 season as the starting quarterback, but missed two starts mid-season after suffering a concussion, and second-year backup Colin Kaepernick successfully filled in. A quarterback controversy then began because Smith was ranked third in the NFL in passer rating (104.1), led the league in completion percentage (70%), and had been 19–5–1 as a starter under Harbaugh, while Kaepernick was considered more dynamic with his scrambling ability and arm strength. After Smith was fully recovered, Harbaugh chose Kaepernick as the starter for the 8–2–1 49ers, but also stated that the assignment was week-to-week and not necessarily permanent. Kaepernick ended up being the starter for the rest of the season and led the team to an 11–4–1 record, throwing for 1,814 yards and 10 touchdowns, with just 3 interceptions and a 98.4 passer rating, while also rushing for 415 yards and 5 touchdowns.
San Francisco's top receiver was Crabtree, who caught 85 passes for a career high 1,105 yards and 9 touchdowns. Other key contributors to the passing game included tight end Vernon Davis (41 receptions for 538 yards and 5 touchdowns) along with offseason acquired receivers Mario Manningham and Randy Moss. Manningham had been signed away from the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, while Moss, the NFL's second all time leader in receiving yards, had been signed out of retirement after missing the previous season. The 49ers backfield featured pro bowl running back Frank Gore, who rushed for 1,214 yards and 8 touchdowns, while also catching 28 passes for 234 yards and another score. The team also had a strong offensive line with two pro bowl selections, Left Tackle Joe Staley and Left Guard Mike Iupati.
On special teams, punter Andy Lee led the NFL in net yards per punt (43.2) and ranked 5th in gross yards per punt (48.1). He planted 36 punts inside the 20 yard line with just 5 touchbacks. Kicker David Akers had a relatively bad year overall, converting only 69% of his field goal attempts, but in the week 1 contest against the Green Bay Packers tied the NFL record for the longest field goal with a successful 63-yard attempt.
The 49ers strongest unit was their defense, which ranked 2nd in fewest points allowed per game (17.1) and sent 6 of their 11 starters to the pro bowl. Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Smith led the line with 66 tackles and 3 sacks. Behind him, all four of the team's starting linebackers—Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks—were named to the 2012 All-Pro Team, and all but Brooks made the pro bowl. Aldon Smith set a franchise record with 19.5 sacks, more than the rest of the team had combined. Willis ranked second on the team with 120 tackles and picked off two passes, while Bowman's 149 tackles were second most in the NFL. The 49ers secondary featured Pro Bowl safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner.
Baltimore finished the season as the AFC North champion and the No. 4 seed in the conference. The Ravens began their playoff run at home against the #5 Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round in what would turn out to be Ray Lewis's final career home game. They defeated the Colts 24–9, with Flacco throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns, while their defense held the Colts to just 9 points, 13 below their regular season average.
In the divisional round, the Ravens would face the top-seeded Denver Broncos, who came into the game with an 11-game winning streak. Baltimore fell behind late in the game, but with less then a minute left on the clock, Flacco's 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones sent it into overtime. Then near the end of the first overtime period, Corey Graham's interception from Peyton Manning set up Tucker's 47-yard field goal to win the game 1:42 into double overtime.
Finally, Baltimore advanced to the Super Bowl by beating the second-seeded New England Patriots 28–13 in the AFC Championship Game, avenging their previous year's lost against them, forcing three turovers, intercepting two passes from Tom Brady, and shutting them out in the second half.
As the NFC West champion and No. 2 seed in the NFC, San Francisco earned a first-round bye. The 49ers started their playoff run against the #3 Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. Jim Harbuagh's decision to start Kaepernick for the playoffs came into immediate question when he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Sam Shields on their opening drive, but this turned out to be the only miscue he would make for the rest of the game, as well as the only interception he would throw in the playoffs. By the end of the game, Kaepernick racked up 444 total yards (more than the entire Packers team), including 181 rushing yards, the NFL single game record for rushing yards by a quarterback, as the 49ers went on to win easily, 45–31.
They then faced the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, where they quickly fell behind 17–0 in the first half. No team in NFC championship history had ever overcome a deficit that big, but the 49ers proved up to the challenge, cutting the score to 24–21 going into the final quarter. Late in the game, their comeback hopes suffered a setback when Crabtree lost a fumble on the 1-yard line as he was going in for the leading score. However, their defense forced a punt, and Ted Ginn Jr.'s 20-yard return set up a touchdown run by Gore. The defense then held firm, forcing a turnover on downs at their 10-yard line to secure the victory.
As the 49ers are the designated home team in the annual rotation between AFC and NFC teams, San Francisco elected to wear their red jerseys, which they wore in Super Bowls XIX, XXIV and XXIX. The Ravens also wore their white jerseys in Super Bowl XXXV, but unlike during that previous game, they will wear black pants instead of white, which they wore in their playoff wins against Denver and New England.
Much of the pregame media hype centered around the Harbaugh brothers, and how their father Jack, a former college football head coach, raised them. On Thursday, January 24, Jack, along with his wife Jackie and daughter Joani, conducted a media conference call, answering questions about John and Jim. Jackie joking asked if the game could end in a tie, before stating that the family is staying neutral but remain excited that both John and Jim brought their respective teams to the Super Bowl