The Super Bowl represents an interesting mix of old hat and new frontier for the Ravens: A big game is nothing new for this team, but few players – with the notable exception of Super Bowl XXXV MVP Ray Lewis – have been tested on this stage.
The same law applies when it comes to facing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick: Every member of the Ravens defense has faced a mobile quarterback, but none of those opponents has accomplished what Kaepernick has.
Earlier in this postseason against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick set a single-game rushing record for quarterbacks with 181 yards. The next week against the Falcons, without much luck on the ground, he completed 76 percent of his passes.
Kaepernick’s prowess on the ground and through the air impressed Ray Lewis enough for the linebacker to submit a flattering comparison:
Terrell Suggs offered equally effusive praise:
Just this season, the Ravens defense has grappled with another of the NFL’s rising dual-threat stars, losing a close game to Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.
That experience was an unpleasant one for the Ravens defenders, though Griffin himself did not prove particularly damaging before leaving the game with an injury.
Now, in the run-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl, coach John Harbaugh will try to keep his team grounded, focused, and singularly confident in their ability to come out on top.
All of their opponent’s records and exploits will be pushed aside – and it will surely be pointed out that San Francisco’s Kaepernick is making just his 11th career start.
Sure, Kaepernick is just another dual-threat quarterback – in the same way that the Super Bowl is just another game.
You can always say the words, and sometimes they’re true. But this time, it’s different.
It doesn’t get any bigger than the Super Bowl, and right now, quarterbacks don’t get much more dangerous than Colin Kaepernick.