This was a pretty weird year for football, although in recent times it seems you could say that every year. We had two of the biggest rookie quarterbacks of all time to come into the league in the same draft, taken 1 and 2 overall, and both finish the season by taking non-playoff teams into the playoffs. We had replacement refs officiating the first few games of the season, which went so badly that the only reason the real refs came back when they did was because they were blowing it on a weekly basis. We had the pistol office dominate the league in a way no one could have predicted, leaving analysts (and the rest of us) to wonder if a mobile quarterback who can run as well as any running back is the future of the NFL. Peyton Manning came back as good as ever, Adrian Peterson came within 9 yards of breaking the single season rushing yards record, Calvin Johnson broke the single season receiving yards record… to name just a few remarkable things. A lot happened.
But perhaps most amazing thing, and fitting by where we lie, is that the two teams left standing have some of the most compelling stories. We have the brothers Harbaugh facing off as rival coaches in probably the biggest football games of their lives. Both of whom made it to their respective conference championship games last year but failed to push past to make it to the Super Bowl. If that alone isn’t heart warming, go watch Friday Night Lights and soften your attitude towards football.
On the John Harbaugh side of things are the Baltimore Ravens. Ray Lewis’ Baltimore Ravens. Ray Lewis who announced this was his last year earlier this season, Ray Lewis. I’m not a fan of his – or the Ravens – but you cannot deny his greatness or his impact on this organization over his long career. It’s a pretty special thing for anyone to go out on top, and the fact that we get to see someone of his caliber compete for that is pretty cool. There is also the Joe Flacco aspect of this. He can’t seem to ever get no respect. Not like the Bradys, the Mannings, the Breeses… Because they all have rings and Flacco just looks like Sam The Eagle. I’m not a huge believer in Flacco but he has turned it on this post-season and it’s a chance for him to prove himself.
On the Jim Harbaugh side are the San Francisco 49ers. A team I like a lot, and the team I’ll be rooting for. The biggest and best story about them this year is the choice that Jim Harbaugh made to replace Alex Smith as QB1 with second year (but essential rookie) back up, Colin Kaepernick. Not that Alex Smith is Aaron Rogers, but at the time he had fantastic numbers and one of if not the highest QB ratings in the NFL, and there was no reason for him to be replaced other than the fact the Kaepernick came in and was doing well and Harbaugh felt he had a higher ceiling. He took the risk and as we all know, he has completely torn everything up while looking like the most dangerous player in the NFL, it paid off. What a story for him, Harbaugh, and the team if they win. The Super Bowl will be the 10th game he’s started. Ever.
Football is cool, bro.
Also, because I put so much effort in talking about sports and none in talking about design, (because who cares, right?) here is the sketch that wound up driving this.