NEW ORLEANS — Football odds makers and sports writers seem to have reached a general consensus on this Sunday’s big game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Based on the latest industry polling, experts are predicting with 90% probability that coach Harbaugh and his team will emerge victorious from Super Bowl XLVII.
Citing a strong defense combined with exciting play calling, commentators at ESPN this week said this seems to be Harbaugh’s year. Sports Center co-host Tony Kornheiser made his pick Monday, saying he expects the Toledo, Ohio, native to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans.
“Got to be Harbaugh, all the way,” Kornheiser said. “An overtime loss in early December is hard to come back from, even if it’s an away game, but these guys put their shoulders down and they did it. Just a really impressive group of guys. I’m calling this one for Harbaugh, and, frankly, I don’t see how anyone could argue.”
NBC’s Bob Costas agrees, and he thinks it could well be a landslide.
“Young receivers, an experienced defensive line and a quarterback who clearly wants, not only to win, but to join that elite echelon of those wearing the ring – I really think coach Harbaugh has the recipe for success this year,” Costas said. “By two touchdowns, I’m gonna say. Did you see that conference championship on Jan. 20? They went into a hostile environment and they hung on against a tough bunch of professional football players and they got it done.”
“You can go ahead and monogram those champion caps,” Costas added. “J. Harbaugh.”
All the more impressive, many say, is the way Harbaugh’s boys have remained so likeable. Having not won a Super Bowl in more than a decade, the team wooed nationwide fans with human storylines and genuinely exciting games of play, which the coach will try to carry through into Sunday.
Reached for comment, father and former NCAA coach Jack Harbaugh agreed with the predictions, but he scoffed at the shadow of a statistical doubt.
“90% nothing,” Harbaugh, 73, said by telephone. “You can go ahead and call it now – I’m the father of a Super Bowl champion.”