Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/24/13
There are so many subplots to Super Bowl XLVII that people will be looking at.The Harbaugh Brothers coaching against each other. Can a non-traditional offense actually carry a team to a Super Bowl championship? Is Joe Flacco truly one of the elite quarterbacks in the game?But the storyline I find intriguing is the one no one is really talking about.This is going to be the official passing of the linebacker torch from the old guard, Baltimore's Ray Lewis, to the new guard, San Francisco's Patrick Willis.Ray Lewis announced before the start of these playoffs that he was going to be retiring after 17 years of NFL service.Ray Lewis is going to go down as one of, if not the greatest, linebacker to play the game. He filled in a resume of 13 Pro-Bowls, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, seven First-Team All-Pro appearances, and a Super Bowl MVP -- which make Ray Lewis one of the most decorated linebackers in the history of the game. So with Ray Lewis leaving, it begs the question who is going to fill the void? Who is going to be proclaimed the best linebacker in football after Ray's departure. Well the answer to that question will be standing on the opposite side of the field from Ray Lewis, in the 6'1", 242-pound frame of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis.It has been said that behind Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis is arguably the best middle linebacker in the NFL. With five First-Team All-Pros, six Pro Bowl appearances, and the 2007 Defensive Rookie of the Year award, Patrick Willis has started quite the resume and has legitimate rights to the torch being passed to him.This is going to be one of the rare times in sports history that we will witness the torch of greatness being passed from one great player to another. From the looks of this I feel Ray Lewis will be comfortable knowing that he is passing his torch on to someone as worthy as Patrick Willis.This is the storyline that is the most gripping to me. The transfer of greatness. 
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