Craig: Four questions going beyond the Super obvious

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2013 - 6:19 AM

Lurking below the dominant story lines of the "Super Baugh" are a few other topics.

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Wide receiver Randy Moss missed out on a Super Bowl XLII ring with the Patriots; he’ll try again with the 49ers.

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We have 12 days to get to the brothers coaching in the "Super Baugh," the three R's (Ray, Religion and Retirement) and the ink that's on Colin Kaepernick's arms and not on Joe Flacco's next contract.

But for now, let's try to venture off the paths that will be beaten silly soon enough. Here are four questions we thought of well before the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens kick off Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome in New Orleans on Feb. 3.

Q: So who drafted the tattooed QB?

Trent Baalke was a high school athletic director looking for a career in finance when the Jets called to see if he'd like to interview for a scouting position back in 1998. He said yes, went to New York, got the job and, well, just look at him now.

Today, the 1987 graduate of Bemidji State is one of the NFL's hottest decision-makers. Baalke is also the guy who traded up to select Kaepernick in 2011 during his first draft as 49ers general manager.

Baalke, the Rosendale, Wis., native who became an All-Midwest Region outside linebacker at Bemidji State, traded three picks to Denver to move up nine spots and select Kaepernick 36th overall. Kaepernick was the sixth QB selected that year after Cam Newton (Panthers), Jake Locker (Titans), Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars), Christian Ponder (Vikings) and Andy Dalton (Bengals).

A week from Sunday, Kaepernick will make the Super Bowl his 10th career NFL start. Only former Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler (six) and former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo (seven) had fewer starts before starting in the Super Bowl. Hostetler won Super Bowl XXV, while Ferragamo lost Super Bowl XIV.

Q: Will Birk follow Lewis into retirement?

Unlike Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, Ravens center Matt Birk won't tell anyone whether he plans to retire after the Super Bowl, the first of his 15-year career.

"A guy like Ray Lewis, you send him off properly -- press conferences, all that stuff," the former Vikings center told the Baltimore Sun. "Guys like me, I just disappear, and then you're sitting around one day wondering, 'Hey, whatever happened to that guy whose locker used to be over here?' That's how it goes."

Actually, that's not how it goes for six-time Pro Bowl players. But that mentality is part of Birk's success story as a former sixth-round draft pick by the Vikings in 1998.

Overall, the Ravens offensive line has given up only three sacks in three postseason games. That's impressive considering three positions had to be juggled at the start of the playoffs.

Rookie right tackle Kelechi Osemele was moved to left guard to replace the injured Jah Reid. Left tackle Michael Oher was shifted to his old position at right tackle and former Viking Bryant McKinnie was brought off the bench to play left tackle.

Q: Who gets the ring, Birk or Moss?

Birk was the 173rd pick overall by the Vikings in 1998. Chosen 152 spots earlier by the Vikings that year was Randy Moss, now a 35-year-old role player with the 49ers. One of these polar opposites will leave New Orleans with his first Super Bowl ring.

It's doubtful they'll interact in any way. It's also a decent bet that they haven't spoken in eight years.

An already rocky relationship bottomed out near the end of a Vikings loss to the Redskins at FedEx Field on Jan. 2, 2005. With the Vikings lining up for an onside kick with two seconds left, Moss walked off the field.

After the game, an angry Birk hurried after Moss and confronted him alone in the locker room. Birk told Moss that his behavior wasn't acceptable and that it couldn't happen again.

But Moss' first stint as a Viking lasted only two more games. A week after a wild-card playoff win at Green Bay, the Vikings were eliminated at Philadelphia.

With reporters watching, Birk approached Moss in that losing locker room. He asked Moss, "Do you have a minute?" Moss never said a word, put his headphones on and walked out. Birk turned to the reporters and said, "Guess not."

Q: What kind of reaction will Goodell get?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's photo is hanging in bars throughout the Big Easy. Some have it attached to dart boards. Others have it posted with the words, "Do Not Serve This Man."

Obviously, Goodell won't be walking the streets and visiting with locals still seething over his unprecedented punishment of the Saints following the "Bountygate" scandal. But he does have a trophy to present inside the Superdome.

Fortunately for Goodell, Super Bowl crowds are notoriously flat. So he's unlikely to garner any sort of reaction from the crowd of 76,468.

Twenty-five percent of Super Bowl tickets go to the league. Another 34 percent is split evenly by the participating teams. Only 5 percent -- or 3,823 tickets in the Saints' case -- goes to the host team, while the other 29 teams split the remaining 36 percent.

Also, the more rabid NFL fans get priced aside by the scalpers and the corporate suits. Tickets to this year's game were starting at $2,168 on stubhub.com on Monday.

Four years ago, I got my brother a ticket to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla. He went to the Tampa Convention Center, paid the $850 face value, got the ticket, took one step outside the building and was offered $3,500 for the ticket.

He didn't sell. I shook my head and told him I would have done exactly what Mike Tice did with his tickets to Super Bowl XXXIX.

Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com

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Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
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George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
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Jacksonville 68
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Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
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Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
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Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
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UCF 75
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UNC-Wilmington 73
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Illinois State 64
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Northwestern 67
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Texas Tech 101
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Tulsa 74
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Nebraska Omaha 92
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UNC-Asheville 66
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(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
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Campbell 51
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UCF 64
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UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
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Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
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(13) Duke 92
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San Francisco 60
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
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Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
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