This 49er Will Not Be The MVP Of The Super Bowl
Although he is one of the most important players on the field, Mike Iupati has a less than zero chance of becoming the hero of Super Bowl XLVII. Iupati is the left offensive guard for the San Francisco 49ers. Offensive linemen are usually the last to be recognized for their value to their team, unless you are a coach or teammate.
Defensive linemen who ‘sack’ the quarterback receive the cheers of the crowd, but an offensive lineman who forces his defensive counterpart away from the area where the running back is going, is hardly noticed. Iupati doesn’t want the fan’s adulation, he wants to win the battle, and win the Super Bowl.
At 6 feet 5 inches tall, and weighing 330 pounds, sporting a Mohawk haircut, the 25 year old Iupati is described by his teammates as a “monster” and “fearsome”, but the Samoan is always soft spoken and polite.
The 49ers commitment to their running game has not wavered. The regular season saw them average 155.7 yards per game, 4th in the NFL. They continued their running attack in the playoffs, helping quarterback Colin Kaepernick set a rushing record for quarterbacks against the Green Bay Packers of 181 yards.
Running backs coach, and former San Franciso linebacker had this to say: “We like to play smash-mouth football,” said Tom Rathman, the team’s running backs coach and a noted 49ers fullback in his playing days. “Our philosophy is physical and talented. You want to move guys out of the hole to create lanes for the running backs, and I think that’s what our offensive line has done this year.”
Much of the team’s success can be attributed to the interior line. 61.2% of Frank Gore’s efforts have been runs behind Center Johanthan Goodwin, or left guard Iupati, and he has averaged 5 yards per carry on those attempts. Harbaugh praised Iupati as one of the best guards in the game, calling his line one of his “offensive weapons” against Baltimore.
“There’s no statistical agenda with those guys,” Harbaugh said. “They’re about playing the game, playing it tough, playing it strong, playing for a win and playing for a level of respect. That’s what drives our football team.”
Columnist-The Guardian Express