Big games almost always have great back stories, and the 2013 Super Bowl, won by the Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers, is no exception. Here are five books that could be crafted from the team members involved in Sunday's game. My bet is that at least one will be written within a year.
-- The Fall and Rise of Ray Lewis. On the night of the 2001 Super Bowl in Atlanta, a promising young player is ensnared in a street fight and charged with murder. Lewis pleads guilty to a lesser charge, while two other defendants are acquitted of murder. Lewis goes on to a career worthy of the Hall of Fame, and plays his last game in the Ravens' Super Bowl victory, but cannot silence detractors.
-- The Brothers Harbaugh. John and Jim Harbaugh, who grew up in a football family, meet in the Super Bowl as opposing coaches. Laid-back John (at least in comparison to his tightly wound younger brother) wins the game for the Ravens, while Jim -- a former pro quarterback himself -- fumes on the sidelines.
-- Glory. Joe Flacco leaves a big-time college program and transfers to the University of Delaware, a relatively unknown program. He goes on to become a successful quarterback for the Ravens, but with his laid-back personality, cannot garner as much acclaim as his rivals. At the Super Bowl, he is named MVP and is assured of a new contract that could be worth as much as $20 million a year.
-- Brother, I'm Dying. Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith is shattered early in the season by the loss of his younger brother, who is killed in a motorcycle accident. Within 24 hours, Smith is back on the field, helping his team to victory. A few months later, he is a key member of the championship team.
-- The Things They Carried (a concession to the losing 49ers, so they get something more than Jell-O pudding). A mixed-race baby is born to an unwed teen mother. He is adopted by a white Wisconsin couple, and true to his cross-cultural upbringing, Colin Kaepernick becomes the prototype for the quarterback of the future: strong-armed, fast and smart. In mid-season, a veteran star is injured and Kaepernick is chosen to lead the team. He goes on to set running records, but cannot lead his team to the go-ahead touchdown in the closing minutes of the Super Bowl.
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