Super Bowl XLVII: Flacco's arm battles Kaepernick's legs
When his career is through, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco may go down as one of the NFL's most prolific postseason presences.
The fifth-year pro - who has started every game of his career, including 12 playoff games - already ranks 15th among quarterbacks on the career playoff starts list. That's more than Super Bowl champion Giants quarterbacks Eli Manning and Phil Simms. Flacco has a chance to earn a championship ring of his own in Super Bowl XLVII.
His San Francisco 49ers counterpart in Sunday's game, Colin Kaepernick, is also looking to pick up his first Lombardi Trophy. Of course, Kaepernick has fewer professional starts in the regular season and postseason combined than Flacco does in the playoffs alone.
Kaepernick, in his second NFL season, took over as the Niners' starter the week after previous starting quarterback Alex Smith suffered a concussion. He played well enough to keep the job even after Smith was healthy.
Flacco is a typical pocket passer in the mold of Dan Marino or Kurt Warner. He's not likely to take off and run unless absolutely necessary.
Flacco's primary weapon is his missile launcher for a right arm, one ESPN's Ron Jaworski told NFL.com is "the strongest arm in the NFL."
Not that Kaepernick's throwing ability should be sold short - his arm strength is part of the reason he supplanted Smith - but his ability to make plays stems from the ever-present threat that he could take off for a long run.
No performance was more eye-opening than when the Niners' signal caller ran 16 times for 181 yards against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs two weeks ago, a feat no quarterback had ever accomplished.
If Flacco is the old breed, Kaepernick is from the new QB school.
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Flacco's 92 starts in five seasons give him a wealth of knowledge that Kaepernick hasn't had enough time to gain.
Flacco is playing the best football of his career during this postseason (eight TDs, 0 INTs), and it seems to be a case of the Ravens' veteran starter taking the next step.
It's tough to give Kaepernick the edge over Flacco given the disparate bodies of work. If it comes down to the quarterback putting his team on his back, bet on Flacco being the man to pull it off.