Super Bowl XLVII - The Bro Bowl

Marc Lawrence | Jan 26, 2013 | ARCHIVE

By Marc Lawrence

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 SB XXXV MVP will be performing his final dance at the Superdome on Sunday, February 3. 

As such, SB 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.  

Oh Brother

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 is rushes the ball 25 or more times a game. 

In addition, the Harbaugh’s bring smiles to the face of ‘Over’ players with Jim going 10-1 SU and 8-2-1 ‘Over’ in games when the total is set at more than 43 points, while John is 5-1-1 ‘Over’ 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.

Advantage: Even.


These two teams squared off two common opponents on 2012, New England and the New York Giants. 

The Ravens were 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS, winning the total yardage stats by an average 127 YPG.

The Niners went 1-1 SU and ATS despite being out-yarded in both games by an average 86 YPG.

In head-to-head games against fellow playoff squads this season Baltimore went 4-3 SU and ATS and 3-4 ITS (In The Stats), while Frisco was 5-2 SU and 3-3-1 ATS and 3-4 ITS.

Advantage: Ravens.

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.

28 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.

Advantage: Ravens

Conference call

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 of late in the last 13 Super Bowl contests.

Ironically this game marks the 7th year in a row that the NFC representative squared off against the AFC East in its designated non-conference clashes.

One final note: this is only the 2nd time in the last 11 years the AFC is the underdog.

Advantage: Niners

Statistically Speaking

Baltimore’s 364 YPG 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 Nine 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.

Advantage: Even

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 the last six years. 

Advantage: Niners

There you have it.  Enjoy the game and the battle of the Harbaugh’s.