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Super Bowl XLVII Quarterback Preview

Those who choose to hate on Super Bowl XLVII will surely point swiftly to the unsexy quarterback matchup. After years of being spoiled in the Super Bowl by guys like Brady, Manning, Manning, Brees, Rodgers and Roethlisberger, we're left with a matchup between Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick. Both are young and have superb skill sets, but neither is a household name to your average, everyday American.

But that's also what makes this matchup sort of exciting. We know what those aforementioned future Hall of Famers can do, and we already know they're legends regardless at this point. This game gives us a chance to establish a new superhero quarterback. If it's Flacco, the whole "quarterbacks win championships" argument will again come under fire. After all, his numbers have never been particularly jaw-dropping but the Ravens keep winning with him under center. And if it's Kaepernick, the read-option offense might become the hottest thing since Los del Río gave us the Macarena.

So, yes, this is the least hyped Super Bowl quarterback matchup since Trent Dilfer's Ravens beat Kerry Collins and the Giants 12 years ago, but at least these guys have a lot of promise and can begin writing legendary stories right here and right now.

A lot separates the two of them. They're pretty much the exact same height and weight and both have superb arm strong, but the comparisons stop there. Flacco has more playoff wins (eight) than Kaepernick does regular-season starts (seven). Flacco has 430 career rushing yards in five years. Counting these playoffs, Kaepernick already has 615 rushing yards in only nine total starts. 

So while Flacco has been there and done that more often than Kaepernick, both in general and in the month of January, it's that read-option/surprise element that evens the playing field in this comparison. 

We could go on and on about what Flacco did between 2008 and 2011, but all that really matters right now is what each quarterback has done lately. So let's see how the two compare when looking at their rate-based states from 2012 alone. 

Kaepernick clearly has an edge, both as a rusher and a deep passer. That's the difference. While only Drew Brees completed more passes that travelled 20 yards or more than Flacco did this season, he was also second to only Andrew Luck in terms of total attempts beyond 20 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. And in a smaller sample size, Kaepernick was the league's most accurate passer on said passes, completing 19 of his 33 20-yard throws (Flacco was just 35 of 92). 

Both are clearly big deep threats. On those throws, the two quarterbacks combined for 16 touchdowns and only one interception during the regular season, and Flacco has been particularly lights out (12 of 24, four touchdowns, zero picks) on such throws in these playoffs. 

That has to be considered. Kaepernick ran like a stallion against the Packers in the divisional playoffs and is of course a huge threat on the ground, but they've been conservative with him through the air in January. The advanced stats on this chart could be a big factor next Sunday:

EDGE: EVEN

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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