Super Bowl XLVII is for royalty.
The San Francisco 49ers vs. the Baltimore Ravens. The gold standard of franchises. Past champions that promise another classic title game.
The NFL may flourish through parity, but the Super Bowl seldom admits lesser franchises like Jacksonville, Kansas City or Arizona. The big game is for the big boys, and the 49ers and Ravens are titans.
San Francisco is the better team, though. The 49ers raced past the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 for the NFC championship; they didn't wind up needing the 10 points they threw away on a missed field goal and a fumble at the goal line in the second half.
Baltimore claimed the AFC championship over New England with an old-fashioned smash-mouth effort. Ironically, it was the offense that kept delivering haymakers, scoring three straight touchdowns in the second half.
San Francisco showed why the NFL playoffs are the most exciting postseason in sports. The 49ers trailed 17-0 and didn't flinch. They're good enough to beat anybody under any circumstances and knew the Falcons lost a 20-point lead the previous week before escaping.
San Francisco doesn't need quarterback Colin Kaepernick to act like the second coming of Robert Griffin III. After running past Green Bay for 181 yards the previous week, Kaepernick ran just twice for 21 yards against Atlanta. Gee, seems there's a lesson in there for Washington.
Instead, the 49ers flexed their passing game. Vernon Davis, who seemed forgotten the past nine games after Kaepernick became the starter, caught five passes for 106 yards and one touchdown when shedding a block and skipping into the end zone unchallenged. The Falcons were more worried about Kaepernick running, but he instead completed 16 of 21 for 233 yards and a 127.1 rating.
Trying to stop San Francisco's targets of Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss and Davis is like finding the red queen in three-card Monte. Additionally, running back Frank Gore provides too much balance for most defenses to counter both. Green Bay and Atlanta never stopped San Francisco.
Maybe San Francisco's success comes from its Washington connection of Davis (Dunbar High), Navorro Bowman (Suitland), Cam Johnson (Gonzaga) and Ahmad Brooks (Hylton). It just proves Maryland could return to the rankings if the Terps could dominate local recruiting.
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh is even getting some genius credit for his midseason move to Kaepernick, though his sideline tantrum after losing a challenge was embarrassing. Toddlers could take cues from that meltdown.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh completed the Harbowl by leading the Ravens to their first Super Bowl in 12 years. Who would have guessed Baltimore would have reached the finals after losing three of four in December?
Now it's Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who finally is shedding his image as an underachiever, vs. Kaepernick, who has all of 10 starts. And, of course, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis rightfully will be playing the final game of his sure Pro Football Hall of Fame career in the Super Bowl.
It figures to be a super game.