San Francisco was the first to move on, after they rallied back to top the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the NFC Championship game. Atlanta got off to a great start, going up 17-0 heading into the second quarter, and they even held a 24-14 lead going into halftime. However, the second half was all San Francisco, who moved ahead thanks to a pair of Frank Gore touchdowns, and then held the Falcons offense scoreless in the second half.
The 49ers victory in the NFC Championship is the team’s first trip to the Super Bowl since 1994, where they crushed the San Diego Chargers 49-26. In terms of local ties, Former Buffalo Bill Donte Whitner is the starting strong safety for the 49ers and will play in his first Super Bowl.
The Ravens advanced to their second-ever Super Bowl after they shocked the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. It was a defensive struggle in the first half that ended with a 13-7 Patriots Lead. However, the Ravens came out of halftime an inspired team as they scored on two straight drives with Flacco tossing TD’s to both Dennis Pitta and Anquan Bolden.
But, the biggest momentum change came early in the fourth quarter, when Stevan Ridley lost a fumble, and the Ravens turned it into another scoring drive that ended with Flacco finding Bolden in the end zone again to put Baltimore up 28-13. The Ravens defense held strong until the end of the game and even forced Tom Brady to uncharacteristically throw two interceptions. Baltimore held on to win the AFC Championship 28-13 and end the Patriots’ season.
The last time the Ravens made it to the Super Bowl was in 2001, where they defeated the New York Giants 34-7 to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the only time in franchise history. The team’s second Super Bowl trip seems fitting for Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis, who stated before the playoffs that this season will be his “Last Ride”. Lewis would end his 17-year career with the record for most games started at Middle Linebacker, 13 Pro Bowl selections, and a Super Bowl XXXV ring, in which he was voted MVP.
In terms of local ties to this team, Baltimore starts a Western New York native in Cornerback Corey Graham. The Buffalo native attended Turner-Carroll High School and later played college ball at New Hampshire.
The 49ers and Ravens will play the biggest game of the season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday, February 3, 2013. Remember, you can listen to the entire game and it’s festivities on WGR 550. Stay tuned for the latest news leading up to Super Bowl XLVII
*Photo courtesy of the AP.