Frank Gore Will Outshine Ray Rice in Super Bowl XLVII

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20:  Running back Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers scores a five-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In a matchup between two of the better running backs in the league, Frank Gore will get the plaudits from Super Bowl XLVII.

With the tandem of Gore and Ray Rice, the Super Bowl has the opportunity to go just beyond a showdown between Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco.

Neither the San Francisco 49ers nor the Baltimore Ravens have relied heavily on their running backs this year. Both Gore and Rice have taken a step back in their respective offenses as the quarterbacks have risen to prominence.

It's unlikely that either Gore or Rice will be the best player on the field during Super Bowl XLVII. The stage isn't set for them to put on the kind of performance to be remembered.

Of the two, though, Gore gets the edge and will have the much better game.

Gore has been able to benefit from what is by far the best offensive line when it comes to run-blocking. Football Outsiders has the 49ers as the best in the league in that regard. San Francisco had two offensive linemen—Mike Iupati and Joe Staley—be named to the 2013 Pro Bowl.

The unit has not gotten anywhere near enough credit for how well the 49ers have been able to run the football. Everybody just looks at how explosive Kaepernick has been without seeing the holes that have been opened up for him.

Some might argue that anybody could be successful on the ground with an offensive line like that. To a certain extent, those people are right.

That doesn't give enough credit to Gore, though.

The eight-year veteran has been incredibly reliable over his pro career. Gore has rushed for over 1,000 yards six times.

He's been just as steady in these playoffs. In the 49ers' two postseason games, he's run for 209 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries.

Jim Harbaugh's not an idiot. He knows Kaepernick will be getting the majority of the Ravens' attention as their coaching staff tries to devise a game plan.

With Baltimore looking more and more at the 49ers QB, Gore can slip under the radar a bit and carry the ball to greater effectiveness. He can also take on more of the offensive burden.

With Kaepernick's relative inexperience—he's only made nine starts—it also makes sense that Harbaugh would lean more and more on Gore.

It's something he did in San Francisco's first two playoff games.

During the entire regular season, Gore only carried the ball 20-plus times in five games. He did it in both the Divisional Round and NFC Title Game.

If the 49ers are going to win Super Bowl XLVII, Gore will certainly be a reason for his team's success.