Quick Links

Who are these guys at QB in Super Bowl?

201301272128773300900-p2.jpeg

Who are these guys at QB in Super Bowl?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) No Tom Brady. No Aaron Rodgers. No Ben Roethlisberger. Not a Manning in sight.

Super Bowl has a pair of fresh faces at quarterback, bona fide nobodies as far as the NFL title game goes. One will leave New Orleans as football's newest star.

For Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco, this is new territory. And, of course, exactly where they want to be.

``To be AFC champs feels good,'' Flacco said Monday. ``We move on now to this challenge.''

Flacco, the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five NFL seasons, will lead the Baltimore Ravens into Sunday's matchup against the NFC-winning San Francisco 49ers and Kaepernick, a backup for most of his two seasons.

It's the first time in a decade that the big game doesn't feature one of the big five household names in the glamour position.

You can't get much fresher than quarterbacks who never have gotten this far before.

``At the start of the season, I was just hoping to get on the field some way, somehow,'' said Kaepernick, the backup for Alex Smith, who took the 49ers to the conference final last season.

He got that chance after Smith sustained a concussion on Nov. 11, and hasn't seen the bench since.

Win this one and he'll have a piece of history, joining a heady quarterback club that includes Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young, who guided the 49ers to five NFL titles - a victory every time they played. No. 6 would tie the team with Roethlisberger's Pittsburgh Steelers - a record for most Super Bowl wins.

A second-round draft pick in 2011 out of Nevada - not exactly Alabama - Kaepernick has the shortest pro resume of any Super Bowl quarterback. It's impressive, nonetheless. His legs (181 yards rushing against Green Bay, a record for the position) and his arm (105.9 passer rating in the postseason) are the main reasons San Francisco is in its first NFL title game in 18 years.

``Anybody that is out there on the football field, you want to see them produce and get results,'' left tackle Joe Staley said. ``With Colin, his first couple of starts, you did not know what to expect because we had not seen him out there as a starting quarterback. He did amazing and he has all season, as well as the playoffs. I think it was one of those things where we saw him in practice and we just wanted to see how he was going to handle the situation in the games. He has done that.''

Still, he's new to this environment and that hardly seems to faze Kaepernick.

``One thing I've always said about him from the start is he comes off as a guy that has a lot of confidence,'' said center Jonathan Goodwin, who won a Super Bowl snapping for Drew Brees and the Saints three years ago. ``I'm not just saying that. You can feel it by the way he acts and talks.''

Flacco has that air of certainty, too, but at least it's built on a more substantial foundation, including an 8-4 mark in the playoffs, with six road wins - the most for any quarterback, Montana and Young included. That goes for Baltimore's John Unitas, too.

Nobody is comparing Flacco to them just yet, except for the self-belief he brings to the job.

``You naturally become more of the guy when you spend a number of years in the league,'' he said at the Ravens' first Super Bowl news conference Monday. ``As a quarterback, it's my job to lead from Day 1.''

As a five-year starter, that's exactly what Flacco did after Baltimore drafted him out of Delaware - yep, not exactly Alabama.

As has become the custom in the NFL, Flacco represents the high draft pick who steps behind center early in his career and, usually, stays there. Both Mannings did it, as did Roethlisberger. Just this season, the top two picks in the draft, QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, were anointed starters at the outset and played sensationally.

Now Flacco and Kaepernick try to join those big-name quarterbacks who own all those Super Bowl rings.

``We try to pass tests every day,'' Flacco said.

That's how you become a Super Bowl quarterback.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Ben Roethlisberger to mull the idea of retirement this off-season

Ben Roethlisberger to mull the idea of retirement this off-season

Don’t expect the Ravens to hold their breath, waiting for Ben Roethlisberger to announce his retirement.

The Steelers’ quarterback wouldn’t commit to playing next season during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options, to consider health and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season, all those things,” Roethlisberger told 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday. “I think that’s - in my point of my career and my age, and that’s the prudent thing to do each year.”

Whenever there is doubt about Roethlisberger’s status, the Ravens always expect him to play. Roethlisberger returned ahead-of-schedule from a knee injury to face the Ravens in November, and before that game, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs correctly predicted that Roethlisberger would play.

“Don’t fall for that,” Suggs said back in November. “I saw this movie before. He’s going to act like, ‘I’m not playing. I don’t know. I did individual today and threw a little bit. I still don’t know.’ Then he’s going to walk his big ass on out there. I’m going to be like, ‘How you doin,’ Benjamin.’’’

Roethlisberger is coming off an emotional loss in the AFC Championship game, he is under contract, and he doesn’t have to rush any decisions. It’s understandable, and wise, that he is thinking about his long-term health at age 34.

But can a competitor like Roethlisberger really walk away at this stage of his career, playing with a Steelers’ team that was one victory from another Super Bowl? That would be difficult to do. So until they hear differently, the Ravens will expect to say “hello” to Roethlisberger again next season.

MORE RAVENS: Mosley to miss Pro Bowl and Jeremy Zuttah to play

Quick Links

C.J. Mosley out of Pro Bowl, but Jeremy Zuttah in to replace Steelers' Pouncey

C.J. Mosley out of Pro Bowl, but Jeremy Zuttah in to replace Steelers' Pouncey

Ravens linebacker C. J. Mosley won’t play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl due to a calf injury suffered in the season-finale against the Bengals. However, the Ravens will be well-presented in the game, especially for a team that went 8-8.

Ravens center Jeremy Zuttah was added to the AFC roster on Monday, replacing center Maurkice Pouncey of the Steelers who withdrew. That makes seven Ravens who have been named to the Pro Bowl – Mosley, Zuttah, long snapper Morgan Cox, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, safety Eric Weddle, kicker Justin Tucker, and guard Marshal Yanda, who won’t play due to a shoulder injury.

Mosley has made the Pro Bowl in two of his first three NFL seasons, and figures to be a cornerstone of the Ravens’ defense for years to come. However, the immediate future is not as certain for Juszczyk, who is a free agent, or for Zuttah, who could be a salary cap casualty this offseason. The Ravens would save around $2.4 million in cap space by releasing Zuttah, and they could look to address that position during free agency or the draft.

MORE RAVENS: Taking a CB early in draft may be Ravens best move