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NFL: Ravens, 49ers set for Superdome showdown

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Super Bowl 47 will be the first to feature sibling coaches but come Sunday the spotlight will be shining on Baltimore's rock-solid defence or San Francisco's explosive offence.

The National Football League's championship spectacular is a classic matchup of the Ray Lewis-led Ravens defence and the San Francisco air and running attack keyed by versatile second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"The guys want the game to come so quickly," said veteran linebacker Lewis. "We just have to taper back all of our energies, all of our emotions ... and just enjoy the ride at the same time."

It is the first time two brothers -- John Harbaugh of the Ravens and Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers -- have coached against each other in an NFL title game.

The first Super Bowl in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 -- the 10th in the Big Easy overall -- will also mark Lewis' last hurrah after a 17-year career.

The Ravens look like this year's team of destiny, but San Francisco have history on their side with a perfect 5-0 Super Bowl record.

Lewis, who will retire after Sunday's game, will lead the way for his Ravens at the Superdome stadium, just blocks from New Orleans' famed Bourbon Street.

The 49ers are returning to the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years to face a Ravens team aiming to add a second title to the one they captured in 2001.

"It is crazy man," said 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. "I've never been a super-emotional guy when it comes to making a play or winning a game. But right now we are here at the Super Bowl.

"I really don't think it is going to hit me until the night before. I think that is when my nerves start moving and it is hard to sleep. I'm like 'OK, it's coming.'"

Willis' NFC champion 49ers weren't ready for prime time last year, missing out on a Super Bowl berth with a loss to the New York Giants in the conference championship game. But they are now and won't want to slip up after winning all five Super Bowls they have contested in 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1995.

The Ravens won their only previous Super Bowl, by routing the Giants 34-7.

Both the 49ers and the Ravens have had to weather adversity this season.

The difficulties didn't let up this week either with the 49ers having to quell controversy caused by anti-gay remarks from their cornerback Chris Culliver and Lewis having to defend himself against a report that linked him to a deer antler spray that contains a substance banned by the NFL.

Former Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Lewis will be looking for a big impact in his final game, hoping to ride off into the sunset with a second Super Bowl ring.

Then there's the Harbaugh Bowl, with San Francisco's Jim going up against his older brother John.

John, who is 15 months older, and Jim have 34 combined seasons in the NFL, including Jim's 15-year career as a quarterback.

Asked how hard it will be to face his brother, John said: "It is probably a little tougher emotionally. I don't think about it when you're coaching against somebody else.

"There's a little bit of a relationship element that's more strong. I will have a better answer for you after the game."

The Ravens won the most recent matchup between the two teams 16-6 in November of 2011. That was the first coaching clash between the Harbaughs.

But there is more on the line this time with the winners collecting $88,000 dollars in prize money per player while the losers earn $42,000 each.

Super Bowl week always comes with plenty of hype and this year is no exception.

Television commercials cost a record $4 million for a 30-second spot. Beyonce will headline the halftime show and Alicia Keys will sing the National anthem.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130131/nfl-ravens-49ers-set-superdome-showdown