They say that history repeats itself. This is especially true in the NFL.
When trying to decide a winner of Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, you can look at what the teams have done during the season to this point. However, you can also look at past Super Bowls for help.
Examining the past is a great way to predict the future. In the case of this year's big game, there are a few past results that could tell us a lot about what will happen on Sunday.
Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19
The most important player to examine in this game is Jeff Hostetler. The quarterback of the New York Giants had spent most of his career as a backup but was thrust into action toward the end of the season and did not disappoint.
In fact, he only had four regular-season starts in his career before the playoffs, in which he led the team to a Super Bowl victory.
While his lack of experience was an issue against the tough Bills defense, he came through with 222 passing yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions in the win.
This year, Colin Kaepernick is coming into the Super Bowl with only nine career starts after taking over for Alex Smith midseason. While Kaepernick has been outstanding on the field, it is understandable to be a little nervous with the world ready to focus on you.
However, Hostetler proved that an inexperienced quarterback can succeed in the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XXXVII: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21
Despite the fact that both sides put together impressive seasons, this was still a surprising Super Bowl.
The Raiders had not been that close to a championship since winning as the Los Angeles Raiders in 1983. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers had never reached that point.
What followed was a lot of sloppy play from a bunch of players competing in their first Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay had three interceptions returned for a touchdown, while the Raiders scored on a blocked punt in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers and Ravens are two disciplined teams, but few players have been on this stage before. In addition, both teams are very capable of scoring in different ways. Baltimore had five touchdowns from defense and special teams this season, while San Francisco had three.
Do not be surprised if one of these teams is able to replicate the 2003 battle and score a non-offensive touchdown in this game.
Super Bowl XLVI: New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17
Sometimes you do not have to look too far into the past to get what you are looking for. Instead, last year's game showed that one factor can go a long way in deciding the outcome: pass rushing.
The Patriots had one of the best offenses in the NFL, but the Giants were able to disrupt the passing attack with a great pass rush. In the Super Bowl, New York had only two sacks, but eight quarterback hits did more than enough to throw Tom Brady out of sync.
Although the Giants struggled during the regular season, the pass rush was always there, as the team ranked third in the league in sacks. The year before, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the NFL in the same category.
San Francisco had one more sack than Baltimore during the regular season, but the team has struggled in this area in the playoffs. With Justin Smith not completely healthy, the defense has totaled only two sacks for a combined nine yards lost.
On the other hand, the Ravens are just hitting their stride with Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs both healthy.
Whichever team is able to put more pressure on the quarterback will have the easier time on Sunday.
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