Ravens, 49ers Massively Changed Since Super Bowl XLVII


Super Bowl XLVII was on replay on the NFL Network Wednesday afternoon, and it was on the several televisions flipped on in the Ravens cafeteria.

Nobody grabbed the controller and flipped it off. Nobody extended their lunch to intently watch it either.

A couple players walking by flipped their eyes up. Tight end Dennis Pitta stopped, took a couple bites from his to-go container, and went about his business.

It's been more than 32 months since the Ravens and 49ers faced each other in Super Bowl XLVII, a 34-31 Ravens win. It seems like forever ago now.

"You talk about three years ago, that's an eternity in the NFL," said 49ers Head Coach Jim Tomsula, who was San Francisco's defensive line coach at the time.

Sunday's game will be their first regular-season rematch since, and both teams are drastically different. And they've both gone through rough times since.

First, let's look at the differences.

The 49ers have switched head coaches. Each team has lost their iconic inside linebacker and the heart and soul of their defense, Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis. The Ravens' starting wide receivers from Super Bowl XLVII have switched sides.

The Ravens only have four starters from Super Bowl XLVII: quarterback Joe Flacco, left guard Kelechi Osemele, right guard Marshal Yanda and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw. The 49ers have six.

Overall, Baltimore has just 12 players remaining from the Super Bowl team. It's dwindling fast.

No player better understands roster turnover better than 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith, who now wears scarlet and gold after catching two passes for 35 yards against the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

"The NFL is a revolving door," Smith said. "Being on the other side, the other team, it's different."

Smith said the replay of Super Bowl XLVII was on televisions at the 49ers complex a while ago. Talk about awkward.

"[Left tackle] Joe Staley, we were in the huddle, and he looks at me and was like, 'You didn't deserve that,'" Smith said. "We kind of talk trash about it every once in a while, but it's definitely a sensitive subject. I'm still glad that I was on the winning side of that. But I think that change happens."

The amount of success has changed for both teams too. The Ravens and 49ers both went to their respective conference championships the year before reaching the Super Bowl. They each looked like franchises that would be contending for Super Bowls for years to come.

Both teams likely feel that's still the case, and in some ways, they could be right. While the 49ers entered the season with few people picking them to do much after so much roster turnover, the Ravens were widely seen as Super Bowl contenders.

But that has changed quickly at the start of the year. The Ravens and 49ers both enter the contest 1-4.

Each team has been back to the playoffs once in the two years since meeting in Super Bowl XLVII, and they both have just five percent odds of getting back there again this season.

Since the Super Bowl, the 49ers have a 21-16 regular-season record. The Ravens are 19-18 since.

"It's tough to stay at that level," Flacco said. "I think you see that consistently across the board. It's just tough from year-to-year to keep that same team together and keep injuries down and all those things. It's unfortunate that we're both in the same situation right now, because I think we feel as though we have a better team."

With both squads off to such a slow start, players on each side said what happened on Feb. 3, 2013 in New Orleans is the furthest thing from their minds. Flacco joked that seeing the replay on the TV "doesn't bring up bad memories," but he doesn't think about it unless it's right in front of his face.

"I don't think about it at all," Flacco said. "It feels like so long ago.

"It's disrespectful to even talk about it, because you have so many guys on this team who weren't a part of it, and they're trying to be a part of something great in the moment, and I am too. So, it doesn't really cross my mind too often, and I think I like it that way."

On Sunday, it will be two teams badly in need of a win at Levi's Stadium – not the Superdome.

"Going in there against this team, they're going to be very hungry for this game and we're going to be even hungrier," said cornerback Jimmy Smith, who was instrumental in the Ravens' final goal-line Super Bowl stand. "I expect a dogfight to go down to the wire again, just like every other game so far [this season]."

And just like Super Bowl XLVII. "It should be at daytime," Smith joked. "So there's no light switch they can hit."

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