(Orange, Texas)

January 31, 2013

Will it be the Ravens? Say it is so, Joe!

Van Wade
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Folks, it is now time to get ready for the Harbowl!

Many have asked who I’ve got.

I’m almost afraid to make a prediction because every team I’ve been rooting for since the divisional playoffs started have gone 0-6.

My Texans lost in the second round AGAIN and my Cowboys are too busy filling up the POLICE blotter!

My boys Matt Bryant (Falcons) and Earl Thomas (Seahawks) are not in the picture and my wife’s Peyton (Broncos) had to warm up his chilly arm in Honolulu.

However, the battle between those AFC Baltimore Ravens and those NFC San Francisco 49ers should be a dandy to watch.

Everyone is talking about the matchup between the coaching Harbaughs — John with the Ravens and Jim with the Niners.

That story line has already wore thin on me. Sure, it’s a great story but I look at what both of them have achieved and the bold moves they made to get where they’re at.

Jim made, what I thought was a strange decision at the time, a move in the middle of the season by replacing solid quarterback Alex Smith with a unproven Colin Kaepernick.

Not only has Kaepernick help start a new era at the position along with Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Washington’s Robert Griffin III, the numbers speak for themselves. The Niners averaged 23 points a game with Smith and nearly 30 with the once unheralded quarterback from the University of Nevada.

In Baltimore, Brother John sent offensive coordinator Cam Cameron down the road, replacing him with former Indianapolis head coach Jim Caldwell. The Ravens have averaged more points a game since.

When everyone talks about the 49ers, Kaepernick’s name always seems to come up first. After all, the dude with all the tattoos team did defeat Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan.

The guy, though, that I’m rooting for is Joe Flacco.

There’s a man that has never received his just due.

When you think of the Ravens, and all the television networks are bad about it, you think about Ray Lewis. Sure, Ray-Ray is retiring, but I’m getting a little tired of all of his long rants and his dance.

However, Flacco has been the Man. He can flat-out “ball” with the best of them. Just ask Tom Brady and Peyton Manning where they’re chillin’ at this weekend.

Flacco has always been under the radar, despite his eight career playoff wins, many of them coming on the road. He now has one less career playoff win than Manning.

In three postseason games this season, he has eight touchdowns and no interceptions, which matches what Troy Aikman accomplished before the Cowboys went on the win the Super Bowl in 1994.

Oh, the good old days, when Jimmy Johnson was running the ship. Thank you NFL Network for running that old Super Bowl footage that showcased the Doomsday Defense against the Broncos in the late 1970s and the Triplets of Aikman, Smith and Irvin trouncing the Bills twice in the 1990s. Oops, off of subject.

By the way, not to get off topic, but while the other general managers around the NFL were gathered up at last weekend’s Senior Bowl in Mobile scouting away, the Cowboys’ general manager was in Aspen enjoying the Winter X Games. C’mon Man, get real Jerry. Oops, off of subject again, Dang it!

So as the big game nears Sunday, I’m thinking about grilled burgers and sausage at the Old Man’s house, knowing that I will be full as a tick.

I’ll kick back and watch the $4 million dollar ads and watch Beyonce lip-sync again hoping Mr. Flacco proves me right.

Like I mentioned before, teams I’ve been rooting for in the last two rounds have gone 0-6 so don’t use me as a guide when you ring up Vegas.

However, think about this one fact for you betting fans, a “Joe” has always been great in Super Bowls. Montana is 4-0 and lets not forget about a dude named Namath who guaranteed it.

I’m counting on you Joe!