Unlike Romulus and Remus, Jim and John Harbaugh will not be fighting to a terrible death. Instead, they are the first pair of brothers to coach against each other in a Super Bowl.
In addition, this game marks Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis’ last game in his NFL career. The mercurial future Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XXXV MVP will be performing his final dance at the Superdome on February 3.
As such, Super Bowl XLVII will be filled with plenty of firsts… and lasts.
Let’s take a look at how Baltimore and San Francisco arrived to New Orleans and what history says about their chances of hoisting the trophy.
All results are ATS (against the spread) unless noted otherwise.
Baltimore’s John Harbaugh has been at his best when playing with a week or more of rest in his NFL career, going 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. In addition, John is 30-12 SU against teams he managed to defeat in a previous meeting.
The Ravens downed the Niners, 16-6, on Thanksgiving Day last year, marking the only time Brother Jim has come up short in a non-conference tilt, as he is 7-1 SU and ATS against the AFC. That ties into his 19-5 SU and 18-4-2 ATS record in all games played outside the NFC West division.
Under his lead, San Francisco is an eye-opening 25-1-1 SU in games in which it rushes the ball 25 or more times a game.
In addition, the Harbaughs bring smiles to the face of over players with Jim going 10-1 SU and 8-2-1 over/under in games when the total is set at more than 43 points, while John is 5-1-1 over/under in games identically set at more than 43 points.
Warning: 12 of the 18 Super Bowl games on artificial turf have played under the total.
These two teams squared off against two common opponents on 2012, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.
The Ravens were 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS, winning the total yardage stats by an average 127 yards per game.
The Niners went 1-1 SU and ATS despite being out-yarded in both games by an average 86 yards per game.
In head-to-head games against fellow playoff squads this season, Baltimore went 5-4 SU and 4-5 ATS and 4-5 ITS (In The Stats), while San Francisco was 5-2 SU and 3-3-1 ATS and 3-4 ITS.
Not so sweet favorites
The sporting public loves backing favorites and when it comes to the Super Bowl it’s like putting kids in a candy store. They go crazy.
As a result the public today suffers from a severe case of betting diabetes. That’s because overloading on these super-sweet favorites has proven to be an unhealthy experience, with favorites sporting a 20-12 SU and 13-17-2 ATS record, including 5-10-2 ATS the last 17 games.
Super Bowl favorites (read: San Francisco) taking on opponents off back-to-back SU and ATS wins are just 13-10 SU and 7-14-2 ATS.
Twenty-eight points is the cut-line for favorites in Super Bowl games. Since 1980, those who failed to score 28 points in the big game are 1-16-1 ATS. Those who managed to tally 28 or more points are 12-1-1 ATS.
FYI: Baltimore has surrendered 28 or more points in 13 of 93 games under John Harbaugh, including twice in 12 playoff games.
Much like the National League’s one-time mastery over the American League, the NFC has held the upper hand over the AFC in Super Bowl games since the 1980 season, going 21-10 SU and 20-9-3 ATS, including 4-0 SU and ATS the last four years.
However, the NFC is only 6-9 SU and 8-6-1 ATS in the last 13 Super Bowl contests.
Ironically this game marks the seventh year in a row that the NFC representative squared off against the AFC East in its designated non-conference clashes.
This is only the second time in the last 11 years the AFC is the underdog.
Baltimore’s 364 yards per game offense is 11th best in the league while it’s 361 YPG defense ranks No. 21.
San Francisco owns a Top-10 ranked offense and defense, averaging 375 YPG on offense and 308 YPG On defense.
From Game 9 out, or the 2nd half of the season, the Ravens’ net yardage (offense gained and defense allowed) improved 31 YPG. Surprisingly, the Niners’ net yardage slipped 29 YPG over the same span.
Defense rules… most of the time
It’s no surprise that 39 of the 46 Super Bowl winners have owned Top-10 ranked defenses.
What is surprising, though, is that while clubs with the better defense have gone 22-10 SU and 17-13-2 ATS in the big game since 1981, these teams are only 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS over the last six years.