Stage is set for Super Bowl

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FINAL WALKTHROUGHS

The next time the 49ers and Ravens step onto the field at the Superdome, it’ll be time for the Super Bowl.

San Francisco and Baltimore finished up on-field preparations on Saturday with 15-minute walkthroughs.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said the stadium lights are brighter than they were when the 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints in the Big Easy on Nov. 25, so getting his players adjusted to that was important.

Harbaugh invited family members and friends – 11 busloads of people – to attend the short session and come down to the field to pose for photographs.

One person hollered Harbaugh’s signature chant from the stands: “Who’s got it better than us?”

The rest of the group replied: “No-body!”

The coach smiled.

Baltimore’s session was more of a pep rally than a workout.

Running back Ray Rice playfully tackled his mother on the sideline and guard Marshal Yanda had a video camera attached to the top of his Ravens cap.

Coach John Harbaugh describes his team’s work this week as “effective.”

“We’ve gotten everything we’ve needed to get done, that’s the No. 1 thing,” Harbaugh said.

GLORY, PLUS CASH

The Super Bowl isn’t just about the glory – players for San Francisco and Baltimore both have decent paydays riding on the outcome.

The difference between winning and losing is $44,000, nearly $9,000 less than the median annual household income in the United States from 2007-2011, according to U.S. Census data.

Winning players get $88,000 each, losers get $44,000.

That’s just cash – it doesn’t count the marketing clout gained by going from NFL player to Super Bowl champion.

THE PISTOL, EXPLAINED

You’ll hear about it from the first time 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stands behind center, and listen to it be endlessly dissected in the Super Bowl.

But just what is this pistol offense San Francisco is running?

Put simply, it’s a variation of the shotgun, a formation that has been in the NFL for decades. Former Nevada coach Chris Ault invented it, and gave it the name because it reminded him of a shorter version of the shotgun.

In the pistol, the quarterback lines up 4-5 yards behind the center. Unlike the shotgun, the running backs line up behind the quarterback instead of next to him so they can be in motion when they get the ball and run north and south more easily.

The tweak that makes the pistol even more effective, though, is the read-option. This what Kaepernick runs so well, and what Baltimore has spent two weeks preparing to stop.

THE MANY FACES OF RAY

There are many sides to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

Even he admits that the guy he professes to be most of the time – deeply religious, a caring mentor, a humble leader – is not the one you see when he puts on his helmet and pads.

“I turn into a different person on the field,” Lewis said. “I am a totally different person off the field. But on the field, I’m driven to do whatever it takes for my teammates. There are so many of my teammates here today who I’ve honored and told them that I would do anything in my power so we can feel that confetti drop together, because that is the ultimate. For me being a leader of this team, I owe that to them.”

SENSITIVITY TRAINING

After playing in the Super Bowl, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver is immediately starting sensitivity training.

The 24-year-old took a hit to his image this week after making anti-gay remarks to a comedian, saying he wouldn’t welcome a gay player in the locker room.

Now, his public relations spokesman Theodore Palmer says Culliver will begin working with “The Trevor Project,” an organization that provides crisis and suicide intervention to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

MCGRAW ROOTING FOR BLIND SIDE

Country music superstar Tim McGraw doesn’t want to explicitly share who he’s rooting for to win the Super Bowl. But he gave a pretty big hint.

“It would be nice to see Michael win and see that whole ‘Blind Side’ story come to completion,” McGraw says.

He’s referring to Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher, whose life was the subject of the film “The Blind Side.” It starred McGraw and Sandra Bullock, who won an Oscar for her role.

VIKING WINS TOP HONOR

NEW ORLEANS — Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 2,019 yards, earned The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award.

Earlier Saturday, Peterson won Offensive Player of the Year.

Also on Saturday:

• Houston’s J.J. Watt was named Defensive Player of the Year.

• Washington’s Robert Griffin III beat out Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson for the Rookie of the Year award.

• Denver’s Peyton Manning netted the Comeback Player of the Year award.

• Bruce Arians, who filled in as coach of Indianapolis in place of Chuck Pagano, was named Coach of the Year.


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