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Frank sent the following question:
This is not really a football question, but we were wondering who you were cheering for in the Super Bowl?
One of the difficult realizations about coaching in the NFL is that no matter what you do during the long season, in the end only one team will emerge victorious when that final whistle blows. The rest are left to think about what might have been.
Knowing what a tremendous accomplishment and difficult task it is to just reach the Super Bowl, and realizing that this could be the last time some players get the honor to play in the game makes me understand how great it would be for a player like Ray Lewis, the outstanding middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, to retire after winning this game. It was 2000 when he played in his last one.
When I look at the game, my first thought is that all those years I served as defensive coordinator makes me lean toward wanting to cheer for Ray Lewis and Ravens teammate Ed Reed. What a pleasure it would be to have those two players every day in your meeting rooms, on the practice field and lining up in your defensive huddle during a game.
Picking a team to cheer for in this game is really tough for me, though I realize that it is not as tough on me as it is for Coach Jack Harbaugh and his wife, Jackie, the parents of the two head coaches, Jim and John Harbaugh.
You would like to think positive – that as parents they cannot lose. One of their sons is going to win the Super Bowl. Few parents ever have that guarantee.
But the flip side of that coin is one of their sons is going to lose the Super Bowl.
Their plan of retreating into their basement, just the two of them, and watch the game on television is probably a good idea. It is the only way they can be free to react honestly to what happens on the field.
Like both his sons, Coach Jack was an outstanding head football coach, and I am certain that the years they spent watching their father prepare and coach his teams have been a major contributing factor to the success that both sons are enjoying.
Both teams are guided by outstanding quarterbacks, Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers and Joe Flacco of the Ravens. They have proven under fire that they have the mental toughness needed to compete and win big games. Both teams have assembled a surrounding cast of offensive players that perform efficiently at a high level and present unique challenges to opposing defenses.
Having attended San Jose State University in the Bay area and attended 49ers games while in college, I may start out leaning toward San Francisco team prior to kickoff, but I know in my heart that won’t last for long.
Ultimately, all those years of coaching defense, of spending countless hours designing ways to stop the opposing offense, will sneak in and cloud how I see the game. As happens so often, I will end up cheering for the defense on the field regardless of which team it is.
I know we will see a very competitive, hard fought game. Hopefully, the game will be one without any serious injury and one where the brothers and players can walk off the field arm in arm knowing that they gave their best and share memories will last a lifetime.
Enjoy the game.
Coach Tom Bass
Coach Tom Bass, a 30-year NFL coach and a technical writer and advisor for USA Football, also is the author of several football coaching books, including "Play Football the NFL Way" (St. Martin's Press), the only authorized NFL coaching book, “Football Skills and Drills” (Human Kinetics) and “The New Coaches Guide to Youth Football Skills and Drills” (McGraw Hill). If you would like to order a personalized autographed copy of Coach Bass' books, copies of his printed “In-Depth Coaching Clinics” or “NFL or College Sport Maps,” visit http://coachbass.com.