Randy Moss Will Be Super Bowl X-Factor for 49ers vs. Ravens

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 16:  Wide receiver Randy Moss #84 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a touchdown passed by quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 in the first quarter against New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

When the San Francisco 49ers decided to take a chance on polarizing veteran wide receiver Randy Moss, they weren't thinking about a Week 2 game against the Detroit Lions. They were thinking about a championship, which is also a missing piece on Moss' résumé.

Plenty of questions were asked before the season about how Moss would fit in with the 49ers. He had sat out for an entire season and was known for playing on his own terms, which didn't always match the direction of his team.

But he's been nothing short of a model citizen since arriving in San Francisco. Despite an extremely limited role within the offense during the regular season, he stayed out of the spotlight and eliminated any concerns about his affect on the locker room.

Including the playoffs, Moss has made 33 catches for just over 500 yards and three touchdowns. Even though those numbers would suggest he's nothing more than a minor option in the 49ers offense, the Baltimore Ravens can't afford to overlook him.

Baltimore is surely going to spend countless hours over the next two weeks attempting to figure out how to contain Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore. It will also key in on Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, who emerged from a slumber in the NFC title game.

It would be easy for a player like Moss to get lost in the shuffle. After all, he's a 35-year-old wideout who is past his prime and clearly not a top target in the San Francisco offense. Yet, that's exactly what makes him dangerous.

Since teams get two weeks to prepare, there are no secrets in the Super Bowl. Offensive production comes down to perfecting the plays you've run all season and mixing in some things the opponent didn't see over the past four months.

That's where Moss comes in to play. While he's not the dynamic weapon he was during his days with the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, he can still make plays. A 47-yard touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8 showed that.

Don't be surprised if the 49ers get him more involved in the season's biggest game. It would give Moss, who remains noncommittal about his future according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, a chance to shine after a season in the shadows.

Moss has been one of the league's most explosive playmakers over the past 15 years. The 49ers should give him a chance to turn back the clock next Sunday. The Ravens won't be ready for it.