Joe Gibbs won 171 NFL games and three Super Bowl titles as the head coach of the Washington Redskins, so it should come to no surprise that his driver lineup at Joe Gibbs Racing will be closely watching the Big Game alongside the rest of the country on Sunday night.
Each of the Team Toyota drivers were asked to preview the so-called Bayou Bowl in a recent manufacturer news release with generally mixed opinions. In short, NASCAR drivers expect Sunday’s game to be unpredictable must-see TV:
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
I don’t know how you can pick a favorite. I think the 49ers were extremely strong and had some things go their way just like you have to have to win a championship in any kind of sport. Certainly, the Ravens are full of confidence and momentum and had some things go their way as well. Man, I’m telling you it’s going to be one heck of a game. And, oh by the way, I’m going down to watch it.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing:
What’s weird is that it’s two teams that to me, they don’t spark an interest like the Broncos would or the Chicago Bears would or the Patriots would for me. They are two teams that are almost two forgotten teams.
It’s kind of unique that you get those two in a Super Bowl, which is cool and also having the brotherly rivalry going on there — I know what that’s like. That’s cool, but if I had to pick one — it’s a tough one to pick, but I like the 49ers
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing:
San Francisco. They’re just, I think, the better defensive team. I think the coach is slightly better — everything is slightly better. The quarterback is dangerous in San Francisco.
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing:
You know, I think the Super Bowl could go either way. I guess I’d probably have to stick with the NFC though and go with the 49ers. I think that Kaepernick adds another element to the game and he’s going to be tough to stop.
But man, the Ravens are looking good too. I think it’s — you never know what’s going to happen. Obviously, it’s a game, but I think it could be a pretty entertaining game.
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
I just hope it’s a good game. I don’t have a dog in this fight so a good game would be my vote. Hopefully, something comes right down to the end so we can enjoy it all night long. San Francisco has been pretty impressive. My buddy, David Akers, is their kicker and so I was excited to see him get the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. It’s been a few years since he’s went, so I’d like to see him win. I’d like to see him — he doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring and he’s been close a few times. It would be cool to see him get that.
I'm sticking with my preseason pick -- the Baltimore Ravens. At this point in the season, with two weeks to prepare, this year's Super Bowl matchup is really a coin toss. I believe these two teams could play 10 times and split the series in half.
Conventional wisdom seems to suggest that the San Francisco 49ers possess the winning formula but with the game taking place on the Eastern half of the country and with the momentum of defeating both the No. 1 and No. 2 AFC seeds on the road, I expect Baltimore to carry that energy all the way towards the Lombardi Trophy.
And honestly, I’ve always appreciated the way Joe Flacco has played the game. Up until this season, ironically and arguably his worst as a starter, the New Jersey native was a quarterback that efficiently took care of the ball and rarely made careless mistakes – all without the flash of rivals Manning and Brady.
That’s the quarterback I think will show up on Sunday night, leading his team to a 27-21 victory in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. But what do you think NASCAR fans?
Who are you picking in Sunday's Big Game? Tell us in the comments section below.