NEW ORLEANS -- Distilled to its essence, Super Bowl XLVII isn't about the Harbaughs, Colin Kaepernick or Joe Flacco.
The 49ers and Baltimore Ravens aren't about subtlety and nuance.
"It's football at its finest," 49ers right guard Alex Boone said. "You get a lot of big guys in there, strong powerful guys going hard, and it's going to be a full game."
Kaepernick can't throw without time and can't run without room. Baltimore running back Ray Rice, absent a cutback lane, becomes ordinary if the Ravens can't successfully execute the stretch play against one of the NFL's top run defenses.
Both 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Ravens coach John Harbaugh have long been advocates of tough, physical football with a heavy emphasis on winning at the point of attack.
The Most Valuable Player trophy will probably to go to a skill position player Sunday at the Superdome. The Lombardi Trophy will end up with the team that wins the point of attack.
The last time the 49ers and Ravens played, on Thanksgiving in 2011, Baltimore had nine sacks of Alex Smith, whereas San Francisco never sacked Flacco. Neither team ran the ball effectively, with Baltimore having a 92-74 edge in yardage.
The end result was a 16-6 win by the Ravens and a decided edge in physical superiority.
Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is playing at less than 100 percent after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, regards it as ancient history.
"A year ago is a long time ago," Suggs said. "These are two completely different teams. Last year is in the books."
Some of Suggs' teammates agreed, noting the 49ers offense under Kaepernick is different and that San Francisco's offensive line is playing much better.
Baltimore nose tackle Terrence Cody was the lone voice of dissent.
"That game means a lot because the last time we played 'em, it was a butt kicking," Cody said. "Physically, we beat 'em, and they kind of almost quit on us. We know they're going to come out with a different mentality, starting the game out trying to be physical. We're going to try and make it the same game it was last year."
Offensively, the 49ers' challenge at the line of scrimmage is successfully blocking a defense that is 3-4 in name only, running mostly even fronts. Suggs operates more as a defensive end than outside linebacker, with Baltimore setting the edge and funneling the action inside to linebacker Ray Lewis.
San Francisco left tackle Joe Staley said the Ravens are more of a "line up and play" defense this season as opposed to the variations in scheme they used a year ago.
"I don't think they do as much as they have in years past," Staley said. "I think we'll have a good idea about who our responsibilities are and who we'll be blocking. It's nothing we haven't seen as far as scheme. We've seen everything."
Rather than push the nine-sack disaster into the background, offensive line coach Mike Solari made it required viewing when the 49ers began to prepare for the Super Bowl.
"That's the first thing we showed them when they came back off our break after Atlanta," Solari said. "I wanted to make sure we saw that and remember what a miserable feeling we had after that game."
San Francisco's defensive front needs a stout effort to keep Rice in check and not allow Flacco time to pass. The break between the Super Bowl has allowed defensive lineman Justin Smith an additional week to rehabilitate his torn left triceps and outside linebacker Aldon Smith time to rest an injured shoulder.
Justin Smith said the Ravens have gone to more zone-scheme stretch runs with Jim Caldwell replacing Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator.
"They want to make the corners and safeties make tackles so they can throw it over your head on play-action pass so it's going to be important to shut the run down," Justin Smith said.
Ravens center Matt Birk said the 49ers, like his own team's defense, will not be relying on the element of surprise.
"You can have the best scheme in the world, and it really doesn't do you any good if you don't have the players," Birk said. "There are no weak links. There's no one guy where you can say, 'Here's a guy we can exploit.' They're simple, but sound, and they execute it very well."