Ladies and gentlemen: we have ourselves a Super Bowl.
The 47th installment of the NFL’s championship game, which will take place February 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, will feature the San Francisco 49ers representing the NFC and the Baltimore Ravens representing the AFC. The favored 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the NFC Championship, and the underdog Ravens beat the New England Patriots 28-13 in the AFC Championship — both were the away teams.
A few quick facts to get you excited for the game:
— This is the sixth Super Bowl appearance for the San Francisco 49ers, who won their five previous Super Bowls. Winning this year would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most wins by one franchise.
— This is the Baltimore Ravens’ second time in the Super Bowl. They won their first, beating the New York Giants at the end of the 2000 season.
— 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is Ravens head coach John Harbaugh’s younger brother; Super Bowl XLVII will mark the first time two brothers have ever coached against each other in a Super Bowl. (It’s the first trip to the big game for both men.)
— The Super Bowl will be 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 10th start as a professional QB. In his second year out of the University of Nevada, Kaepernick replaced former #1 overall pick Alex Smith after Smith was injured in Week 9 and played well enough that he held on to the job after Smith was able to return. Kaepernick set the record for most rushing yards in a single game by a quarterback in his first playoff start, when the 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers January 12, and he had another great game against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship.
— Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who at 37 years old is in his 17th season in the NFL, says he will retire after this season. Super Bowl XLVII will be his final game as a professional football player.
— The Ravens lost in the AFC Championship in 2008 and 2011 and in the divisional playoffs in 2009 and 2010, making this year the correction of four years of near-misses. They also avenged their loss to the Patriots in 2011.
— John Harbaugh took over as Ravens head coach before the 2008 season; this is Jim Harbaugh’s second year as head coach of the 49ers. Neither Harbaugh has ever missed the playoffs as a head coach and are a combined 88-38-1 as head coaches.
— Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco became the team’s starter in 2008, the same year that Harbaugh took over as head coach. Flacco is the only quarterback in NFL history to make the playoffs in each of the first five seasons of his career.
— This will be 49ers receiver and likely future Hall of Famer Randy Moss’ second Super Bowl appearance. He lost his first, with the Patriots, in 2007.
— Football Outsiders’ DVOA rating, which takes into account a team’s performance versus the league average, has the 49ers as the league’s fourth-best team this year and the second-best in the NFC. It has the Ravens as the eighth-best and the third-best in the AFC. The 49ers went 11-4-1 in the regular season, and the Ravens went 10-6.
— The NFC has won the last four Super Bowls and leads the overall matchup, 25-21.
— As of right now, San Francisco is a 4.5-point favorite over the Ravens in Vegas.
- A conservation group in Zimbabwe reported that Jericho, the brother of beloved lion Cecil, was shot and killed by a hunter. But some scientists monitoring the pride believe he is OK.
- Joe Biden has begun to "actively explore a possible presidential campaign," the New York Times reports.
- The trooper who pulled over Sandra Bland was disciplined for "unprofessional conduct" in the fall of 2014, records show.