The 2013 Super Bowl is upon us, the culmination of a journey for not just two teams but all of us. It started back in April with the NFL Draft, then OTAs and Training Camp, preseason, the regular season, playoffs and now here we are—New Orleans, Niners, Ravens.
Perhaps some of you aren't all that interested in the outcome—this is a Packers site, of course and they're out of it. The spectacle of a Super Bowl is more than just the teams though, more than just the game.
The game itself is big of course, but the GAME is more than the sport.
Crazy how that's happened, huh? How the product on the field has become so much better (I recall far too many craptastic Super Bowls from the 80s and part of the 90s) but the focus is almost not the game.
How can it be in New Orleans?
Of course, it's more than the site of the game, it's the gathering of media and fans around it, which has grown to enormous proportions over the last decade.
It really struck me this year as I followed our own Aaron Nagler and Brian Carriveau as they ran the table down in the Big Easy—there is so much focus on things that aren't the game, it's amazing.
Which makes me look ahead to next year's Super Bowl, taking place in chilly New Jersey (with supporting events throughout NYC) and how that might affect the hoopla around the game itself.
Sure, there's a ton to do in NYC (not so much around the Meadowlands) but with the usually frigid climate, will there be less outside noise? Will we see less Beyonce press conference notes and interviews with wackadoos in the street and just general mayhem?
Will it be more about the football?
I suspect it won't, but I'm very interested to see what flavor next year's game brings. There's a part of me who hopes against all hope that it is a huge success and it opens the doors for Lambeau or Soldier Field or other long overlooked but historic football venues to get their shot.
There's another cynical and larger part of me which is pretty sure that success or not, those stadiums are likely to never see a Big Game again in our lifetime.
I think that's a shame, as I think weather and football (even Super Bowls) go together like chocolate fudge, chocolate ice cream, chocolate sprinkles (or jimmies) and some other chocolate thing.
But the Super Bowl is about much more than the game, and has been for some time.
And for some people (and media), nice weather and comfort is as big a deal as the game as well.
We saw the bitching in Dallas. I've already seen complaining on Twitter about New Jersey.
But let's hope it's such a rousing success we get some more cold weather football.
The way God (as well as Lombardi) meant it to be played.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for!
My pick for the Super Bowl.
I've actually thought this was going to be a close game since the end of the Conference Championships, but my pick stays the exact same as it was the Monday after that—the San Francisco 49ers will win this game.
Ultimately, the 49er offense is just too tough to stop and the age of the Ravens' defense will hurt them over the course of 60 minutes.
This isn't about the pistol or the read-option—not totally. Because those schemes are just a portion of the overall offensive playbook. During the playoffs we've seen the Niners shift gears between and within games.
A defense prepares for one thing, and San Fran comes out with something else. The defense adjusts and Jim Harbaugh alters the offense again.
There's just too much to stop.
I especially think the combination of Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick (with a dash of Lamichael James) is going to wear on this defense and by the end they'll be gassed.
While I do think the Niners' defense—especially the secondary—will have a rough time with Joe Flacco and the Ravens' offense, ultimately I say the Niners outpace the Ravens 31-27.
Got a pick for this weekend? Make sure you throw it down in the comments.
Last thing this week (and then we shift to full on Draft nonsense from here on out), but we say goodbye to Donald Driver who called it a career this week on Mike and Mike over at ESPN Radio.
I thought it worth a comment, since we're here on a Packers site—but Donald Driver has always struck me as one of the most professional receivers I've ever seen.
A hard worker, productive for much of his career and clearly willing to put the team first, I couldn't imagine a better player in the locker room over the course of his time with Green Bay.
Classy to the end, I wish him well in whatever comes next—which as far as I am concerned, should be an easy walk into the Packers' Ring of Honor.
Enjoy the Super Bowl and we'll see you next week as we shift to the NFL draft.
Meanwhile—Dracula the musical!