Super Bowl XLVII: Special Teams
All week we discussed the offense and defense of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. Today, I want to highlight the special men on special teams. (Go back to “special men will make or break you” to review why they are so special.) Both of our Super Bowl contenders know all too well how important special teams are in championship games. Last year the Ravens lost the AFC Championship game when they missed a field goal at the end of the game and sent the New England Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI. The 49ers lost the NFC Championship in overtime. They fumbled a return and the New York Giants kicked a field goal and earned a chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy.
A game between two teams coached by brothers with the same philosophy could easily come down to one final play from special teams. Both men put a lot of emphasis on preparing this unit. Jim Harbaugh’s (49ers head coach) special teams coach was with the England Patriots when they won Super Bowl XXXVI with a game-winning field goal. Older brother John Harbaugh (Ravens head coach) got his start in the NFL as the special teams coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was in that position for nine years, so he may have the edge.
Here are the crucial players for both Baltimore and San Francisco on Special Teams.
Justin Tucker (#9 Kicker) – Made 90.9% of field-goal attempts during the regular season. During the playoffs, he scored 12 extra points while finishing 2 for 2 on field goals.
Sam Koch (#4 Punter) – 170 career punts inside the 20 rank first on the Ravens’ all-time list.
Jacoby Jones (#12 Kick and Punt Returner) – Pro Bowler. Only player in NFL history to record dual kickoff return touchdowns of at least 105 yards.
Ed Reed (#20 Punt Returner) – Seven-time Pro Bowler. Starting free safety. Can return and tackle.
San Francisco 49ers
David Akers (#2 Kicker) – Six-time Pro Bowler. Tied the NFL record for longest field goal in league history (63 yards).
Andy Lee (#4 Punter) – Three-time Pro Bowler. Set the NFL single-season record in net punting average. (44.0)
Ted Ginn, Jr. (#19 Kick and Punt Returner) – Very fast. He had several returns for over 70 yards, but has not been consistent.
Now you are armed with information on the key players for Super Bowl XLVII. Ask questions in the comments section or tweet me.
Who is going to win Super Bowl XLVII?
Get in the game!