I predict Eli Manning will handily best his older brother Peyton in passing stats — oh, wait, wrong NFL brothers. Okay, how about this for a bold prediction? Harbaugh will coach his team to victory. But wait, there’s more: In overtime.
The conventional wisdom is that the Ravens, with the veteran Flacco calling signals, are a killer second-half team, and that the 49ers need to build a first-half lead. I predict the opposite. Colin Kaepernick will display his rookie nerves in the first half — probably throw an interception — but in the second half he’ll start to outrun the aged and tiring Ray Lewis. Forget overtime: 49ers by ten. Or if it does go to overtime and neither team can score, we’ll settle it by having the Harbaugh brothers arm-wrestle for the Lombardi trophy.
— Steven Hayward is author of the two-volume Age of Reagan.
I come into this Super Bowl with a lot of bias, not a conservative one but a Steelers one. I look at this Super Bowl, as I do much of life, through the eyes of my unfailing devotion to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On the one hand, I suppose this means that I should root against the Ravens — or such is the conventional wisdom. The Ravens are the Steelers’ new arch-rival, replacing the Cleveland Browns, who, frankly, stink. Thus, it’s hard to see the Browns as much of a rival. I often cheer for the Browns (when they’re not playing the Steelers) simply to keep the rivalry going, but, alas, they usually lose. The Ravens have easily replaced them.
What about the 49ers? Well, if they win, they will tie the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins, the most Lombardi trophies. That is something I could not stomach. So, I must root for the Ravens. Besides, imagine how much better the Steelers–Ravens rivalry will be if both Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger have won a Super Bowl.
Okay, so that explains my sympathies (such as they are), but which team will win? I’m predicting the Ravens based on their heart and experience on defense and with the expectation that Ray Rice and Joe Flacco will step up on offense. Rice will. The key is Flacco. The key is also turnovers — as the Steelers learned against Green Bay.
I say Ravens, 24–20.
— Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He is author of the new book The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.
If there is any trend that has become clear in this football season, it’s that the progressive wing of American politics is feeling emboldened from the destruction of Hostess Twinkies™ to the defiance of the Obama administration in the face of last week’s slap-down on recess appointments.
Football is a proxy for America’s politics: rough-and-tumble, both about using blunt force and occasional finesse to win.
So we have to review this year’s Super Bowl match-up within that prism . . . two teams from two progressive states going head-to-head . . . and when viewing it within that prism, it is clear who the winner is going to be . . . it’s going to be the state that is at the cutting-edge of this progressive wave . . . the state where the realities of economics and policy impacts truly do not apply . . . where machine cronyism is a cherished way of life. And that state is . . . MARYLAND!
Maryland, which has been far bluer, far deeper, for far longer than California. Where Governor Martin O’Malley has taken his lessons from ol’ Jerry Brown, refined them, and is doing his best to outdo California on a whole host of metrics . . . spending, debt, cost of doing business, tax flight, etc . . .
Ravens win. 31-27, ‘hon!
— Andrew Langer is president of the Institute for Liberty, based in Maryland.