RUSH: The NFL championship games are this Sunday. If I’ve got this right, and I know I do, the early game at three o’clock is the San Francisco Fort’iners and the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia dome, and the late game is the Patriots hosting the Baltimore Ravens.
Let’s look at the first game first since it comes first. In fact, probably the most important factor in both games happens to be two quarterbacks. In the case in the Fort’iners and Falcons, the quarterback in question is Colin Kaepernick, known affectionately to some backwards, old-fashioned dryballs as Tattoo Man. Colin Kaepernick cannot be planned for. You know, defensive coordinates love to come up with a game plan. You look at hours’ worth of tape of the opposing offense. You see tendencies. You see formations. You see snap counts. You see plays. You see, when do they pass off that formation, when do they run off that formation, when do they fake, who goes in motion, when not, what does a quarterback do on every play.
The problem for every team playing the 49ers is Kaepernick, the quarterback. He doesn’t know what he’s gonna do in most plays. I mean, he’s got the script, but the guy is a classic sandlot quarterback. In the last game the Fort’iners played, he led the team in rushing as a quarterback. That doesn’t happen in the NFL. Now, eventually NFL teams, defensive coordinators, are gonna come up with a way — in fact, this is the role, I should say, that the Jets said they had planned for Tim Tebow. Never happened.
The Falcons just haven’t had enough time here to plan for Kaepernick. He took the job over halfway through the season, week six, I think, week seven, and there’s not enough data on him to know when he’s gonna take off, the run option, when he’s gonna use it, when he’s gonna throw it, and so defenses have to lay back and play soft and can’t really plan for what the guy’s gonna do. And plus the 49ers are a great road team.
Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the Fort’iners, has somehow managed — you know, of all the West Coast teams, I remember every Raiders game this year, if you listen to pregame analysis from the wizards of smart on ESPN, or anywhere, they would all say the Raiders traveling east, time zone change, one o’clock game, starting the game ten o’clock, body clock time, don’t have a prayer. And the Raiders never did win in the Eastern time zone at one o’clock. It doesn’t affect the Fort’iners. It doesn’t affect the Seahawks much, either, and it’s not said to affect the 49ers. I don’t know where the 49ers are practicing. I think they stayed in San Francisco, but one week they spent in Youngstown, Ohio. It’s where the DeBartolo family is, getting ready for it. But it ain’t gonna matter.
I think the quarterback is the big difference in the game. He’s still a rookie, Matt Ryan, the quarterback for the Falcons. This is only his second playoff game, too, so I think Kaepernick is the guy to watch. If he has a typically good Kaepernick game, plus that defensive line for the Fort’iners — I have to go with the Fort’iners in the game. And the Patriots and the Ravens, and again that’s a quarterback game, and that’s Tom Brady. And if Tom Brady’s on your team, you win. Brady’s playoff record at home is astounding. Now, since Spygate they’ve had some troubles going all the way, admittedly so. I’m just doing this straight up. I don’t even know what the points are, I’m just doing it straight up, so I’d have to go with the Super Bowl being the Fort’iners and the Patriots.
Many of you are gonna be disappointed at this. Many of you are looking for an all Harbaugh Super Bowl, because John Harbaugh, the coach of the Ravens, Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the Fort’iners, but don’t sweat it, the coaches don’t play. You know, after all the hype, brother against brother, they’re not playing. Mind against mind. How do you watch that in a football game? So that’s the picks. I thought about doing environmentalist wacko picks, but I thought, no, we’ll go straight up here. It’s been a while since we did this anyway and treated it seriously. Until there’s other data, if, for example, players on the 49ers, any of them have imaginary relationships with girls that don’t exist, if that surfaces and comes out, you’ve gotta factor that. So far we don’t know that that happens anywhere but Notre Dame.