(Reuters) - Brief profiles of key San Francisco 49ers players for Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans:
Colin Kaepernick (quarterback) - The second-year backup got his chance midway through the campaign when starter Alex Smith suffered a concussion. He played so well the coaches gave him the top job. A strong runner, he set an NFL record for most rushing yards (181) by a quarterback in his first playoff game.
Frank Gore (running back) - A four-time All-Star who has rushed for over 1,000 yards in six of his eight NFL seasons. Holds the 49ers record for rushing touchdowns with 51, including eight this season, plus three in the playoffs.
Michael Crabtree (wide receiver) - Drafted 10th overall by the 49ers in 2009, he has 21 touchdowns in his four years in the NFL, including a career-high nine this season, as well as 85 catches, to emerge as the team’s number one receiver.
Vernon Davis (tight end) - The sixth overall draft pick in 2006 struggled early in his career, reaching a low point when he was benched after an unsportsmanlike penalty in a 2008 game. It marked a turning point, however, as he had a career-best 13 TDs the next year, earning Pro Bowl honors, and has since emerged as a team leader.
Patrick Willis (linebacker) - A Pro Bowl selection in each of his six NFL seasons, Willis is arguably the best tackling linebacker in the game, making 120 this season, including 88 solo tackles.
Aldon Smith (outside linebacker) - Drafted by the 49ers in 2011, he made 13 sacks in his rookie season despite not starting a single game. He was second in the National Football League with 19.5 sacks this season, three short of Michael Strahan’s all-time record of 22.5, but has none in his last five games.
David Akers (kicker) - A six-time Pro Bowler who holds the NFL records for most points in a season by a kicker, most field goals in a season and shares the mark for the longest successful field goal (63 yards). Playing in his second Super Bowl after making the 2004 season title game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue