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In Super Bowl, its 49ers Against the World

Randy Shawbyline‚ Jan. 23‚ 2013

It's their sixth appearance, but the San Francisco 49ers face a unique challenge in the upcoming Super Bowl: nearly all pro football fans outside the Bay Area will be rooting against them. The Baltimore Ravens are the Cinderella Team with two poignant stories: Ray Lewis’ last game and the inspirational O.J. Brigance. Brigance was Lewis' teammate on the Ravens 2000 Super Bowl team, and is now a senior adviser on player development who speaks through a computer after contracting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease). Baltimore is also the popular favorite because the city has not won a sport's title since 2000, while the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010 and 2012.

Despite both teams’ players coming from similar race and class backgrounds, the nation sees the match-up as The Wire v. Twitter, the hard streets of blue-collar Baltimore against San Francisco’s thriving high-tech economy. But the Ravens growing bandwagon could help the 49ers, as Jim Harbaugh motivates his team by instilling in them an "us against the world" attitude.