Two teams with unlikely journeys have reached their summits. But one, only one can stay on that mountain and look down as NFL kings.
Coach John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens are using a old but yet to tired cliche. They are a "team of destiny" with hard-fought victories over a Peyton Manning rookie clone, the master himself and finally Tom Brady.
Baltimore overcame an emotional, last home game for their defensive captain and team leader, Ray Lewis. They also defeated a mighty swell of ChuckStrong support in the name Indianapolis Colts coach, Chuck Pagano who took on cancer this season.
They then traveled to Denver and upset Peyton Manning and the Broncos who earlier in the season posted a 44-13 thumping on them.
In the third game, quarterback Joe Flacco outplayed Tom Brady and the Patriots to win the AFC championship. Baltimore won their last two, road games despite being a 8 pt underdogs twice.
Coach Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers are using a second-year (but still a rookie) quarterback in their ascension to Vince Lombardi's trophy. Colin Kaepernick has nine games under his belt and the knack for Sportscenter Top 10 highlights.
In the Niners overtime win in Foxboro, Kaepernick spearheaded an overpowering 31-3 run until a even more stirling 28 point 4th quarter comeback by Brady almost spelled D-O-O-M.
While battling Green Bay, he ran 16 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He also passed for two touchdowns and 253 more yards. His team racked up 578 yards of total offense (325 rushing).
Both teams are going in the Superbowl with mammoth offensive lines, quarterbacks playing at an elite levels and defenses playing physical and forcing turnovers. The contest will be settled in the Big Easy, New Orleans Superdome.
Fans should expect a high scoring affair. Ravens have put up over 80 points in three games. San Francisco has 73 in their two, playoff matches. Both teams have quarterbacks making big pass plays and throwing for 230+ yards. Both teams have running games of 100 yards.
Baltimore's offense is predicated more on Flacco's deep-ball passing, Ray Rice's and Bernard Pierce's running. Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones are solid wide receivers.
The 49ers go with the creative playmaking of Kaepernick. Throw in the between the tackle running of Gore, the speed change of LaMichael James, physical route-running of Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree with future Hall of Famer, Randy Moss providing the deep threat highlights. Advantage: San Francisco
Each teams features a dominate defense with impact players. San Fran has Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks. The Ravens have Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed. However, Lewis and Suggs both have torn tricep injuries and the Ravens defense has been on the field 80+ plus plays per game average. Advantage: San Francisco
As special teams go, Baltimore has a rookie kicker who has missed only three, field goals all year. San Fran's kicker is close to losing his job. Big advantage: Baltimore
As far as coaching, John Harbaugh has beaten his younger brother Jim once before in 2011. But this isn't the Alex Smith-led Niners. And only the St. Louis Rams have gotten the best of Harbaugh twice in one season. Advantage: San Francisco
Baltimore will win 34-24 in New Orleans. Kaepernick will throw two interceptions and 1 td to Moss, plus he'll run one in. Flacco is expected to earn an MVP but he will share the trophy with Lewis.