- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Super Bowl week is almost upon us! Here’s the A-to-Z rundown of everything you need to know.
Akers -- David Akers is a kicking time bomb. The veteran 49ers kicker has made just three of his last six field goal attempts and is the favorite to win Super Bowl XLVII’s prestigious Scott Norwood Award. But it’s OK. Jim Harbaugh seems like a guy who would totally take missed field goals in the Super Bowl in stride. He wouldn’t beat Akers to death with a folding chair or anything.
Brothers -- Jim and John Harbaugh are brothers. It’s all over the news. Unfortunately, only one of them can win the Super Bowl. The other will be a loser and be given up for adoption to the Ryan family.
Commercials -- Thirty seconds of ad time went for $3.7 million to $3.8 million for this game. Money is apparently no object for Peyton Manning to appear in a Super Bowl.
Dancing -- Baltimore is designated as the away team for the Super Bowl, so we may not see Ray Lewis’ patented home-game dance routine. Maybe he would have added some New Orleans elements to it with an umbrella and beads. We’ll never know. Bummer.
Elite -- Younger readers may not believe this, but it’s true: The Super Bowl was originally created to determine the best team in the NFL. Now, of course, it’s a game used to declare one quarterback forever ELITE.
Flacco -- Joe Flacco said before the season that he sees himself as the best quarterback in the NFL. Winning a Super Bowl would really silence his critics … for as much as a second, at which point Flacco’s place among the worst quarterbacks to ever win a Super Bowl would be discussed.
Gimmick -- Baltimore backup linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo said before the AFC Championship Game that New England’s hurry-up offense was a gimmick. He later apologized. But now Baltimore is facing San Francisco’s read-option. Thoughts, Brendon? Come on. Out with it. We desperately need some storylines that aren’t about brothers or Ray Lewis. HELP US.
Harbaugh -- Remember them? The brothers? As neat as the Super Bowl is, the most exciting story might be whether a publisher can get a (guaranteed to be best-selling) book about Jack, Jim and John Harbaugh out in time for Father’s Day. All the best books are researched and written in about six weeks.
I -- There’s no “I” in “TEAM.” That’s the kind of thing team leaders like Ray Lewis will spout all week. However, there are three “I’s” in “INDIVIDUAL,” and the Super Bowl awards an MVP to the player who has the best individual performance. You can’t win a big game like this if one player doesn’t step up and have an amazing performance. Remember that, kids. Your team is only holding you down.
Justin -- Justin Smith of the 49ers will be as important as any player in Super Bowl XLVII. Unfortunately, he doesn’t play offense, doesn’t have a brother in the game and doesn’t do interpretive dance. Boring. Next.
Kaepernicking -- Colin Kaepernick has filed a trademark for “Kaepernicking”: the act of kissing one's biceps in celebration. Ugh. Athletes trademarking everything they do has gotten way out of hand. Next up: An athlete trademarks “Trademarking”: the act of trademarking everything they do.
Lip-synching -- American fraudstress Beyonce is performing at halftime. BOOOOOOO. We want the golden voice of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo instead! (Tip for Beyonce: Trademark “Beyonceing:” the act of lying to America at a presidential inauguration, thereby destroying the country and freedom the world over.)
Michael Phelps -- The former amateur swimming champion and current professional brah credits Ray Lewis with motivating him to keep swimming after the 2008 Olympics. Perhaps Lewis filled an entire pool for Phelps with his tears. Generous.
New Orleans -- New Orleans is the host of Super Bowl XLVII. The letter N also works for next year’s Super Bowl host: North Jersey. Both are great vacation spots.
Offense -- Baltimore’s offense was averaging 344.4 yards per game when John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron. In their final three regular-season games, the Ravens averaged 406.2 yards, and in the playoffs they’ve put up 424.7. “It was a brilliant move," Cameron said of his firing this week to The New York Times. "Everyone on the team took a look in the mirror after that." He’s right. They looked in the mirror and never saw Cam Cameron anywhere in the background.
Parties -- Outside of determining an ELITE quarterback, the other point of modern Super Bowls is so athletes, fans and media members can party for a week. Of course, one can party too much and get into trouble. Or, even worse, one can attend a party in which Pitbull performs. The horror.
Questions -- In addition to media day, each team has its arrival press conference. And then there will also be the special Harbaugh-Harbaugh media session. So many opportunities to ask great questions like “How does this feel?” and “Are you excited?” and “Talk a little bit about how you feel and if you are excited.”
Ray Rice -- In all the hoopla surrounding the “Superbaugh” and Ray Lewis’ farewell tour, Ray Rice -- the man who has essentially been Baltimore’s entire offense for the last four years -- has been overlooked. He could change that by having a big game or announcing he is also retiring. The Ravens probably prefer the former.
Smith -- Alex Smith. He should trademark “Smithing,” the act of standing on the sidelines while your former backup starts in the Super Bowl over you.
Truths -- Moments after Super Bowl XLVII is over, an eternal truth will be declared and it will be one of the following:
-- if the 49ers win: MOBILE QUARTERBACKS ARE THE FUTURE OF THE NFL! R.I.P. POCKET PASSERS!
-- if the 49ers don’t win: MOBILE QUARTERBACKS SIMPLY CAN’T WIN A SUPER BOWL! TRADITIONAL POCKET PASSERS FOREVER!
-- if Kaepernick sustains an injury: MOBILE QUARTERBACKS ARE TOO INJURY-PRONE! I THOUGHT WE HAD DECIDED THAT QUARTERBACKS SHOULD NEVER LEAVE THE POCKET IN THE WILD-CARD ROUND WITH RG III!
So no pressure, Kaepernick. The future of the NFL, and/or one day’s sports media cycle, is hinging on you.
Underwear -- What undershirt will Ray Lewis have for us after this game? A Bible verse? A picture of Art Modell? A picture of Art Modell reading the Bible? A nation waits.
Vernon -- If 49ers tight end Vernon Davis gets a Super Bowl ring, that has to clinch his status as the greatest athlete named Vernon in history. Sorry, Vernon Maxwell.
Wacky -- Ha! Someone at media day is going to dress up in a funny outfit and ask questions! Good one. Be advised, however: Jim Harbaugh does not take kindly to gobble gobble turkey questions from jive turkey gobblers.
X’s -- The 49ers and Ravens reached the Super Bowl by beating teams with inferior defenses. So maybe defense still is a little bit of a thing in the NFL. Enjoy it. Super Bowl XLVII might be defense's last game. It better be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in five years.
Your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers -- Hosting a Super Bowl party brings together a strange mixture of people. Only at a Super Bowl party can you overhear your aunt talking about blitz packages and Beyonce’s outfit with your boss. Better buy more beer.
ZZZZZZ -- College football has its obvious strengths, but the BCS title game tends to be a snoozer. Meanwhile, the last nine Super Bowls have been decided by an average margin of less than seven points. So even if the 49ers or Ravens take a big early lead, don’t give up on the game or turn it off. Remember: No game is ever over in the modern NFL. Consider every game to be a Falcons game.