Michael Crabtree Soaks Up SB XLVII


NEW ORLEANS -- Michael Crabtree spent his Tuesday morning facing the surge of media day. He spent his Monday night playing the Madden NFL video game.

The matchup? Naturally, it was 49ers and Ravens.

"We didn't finish the game," Crabtree said. "It was tied up at halftime."

Crabtree and the 49ers don't have to wait long to see how the real game plays out. On Sunday, the two proud franchises will do battle in front of a worldwide audience for Super Bowl XLVII.

"Feels unreal," Crabtree said.

While Crabtree said he doesn't remember watching the 49ers play in the Super Bowl in 1995 against San Diego, he remembers playing with Bo Jackson on Tecmo Super Bowl during that time as a kid.

How the times have changed.

Crabtree and the 49ers are now in the limelight, less than a week away from the biggest game of their lives. The mood was light on Tuesday as the media day madness took over the turf at the Superdome, but Crabtree knows the 49ers are on the ultimate business trip.

"I will probably enjoy the game more than I enjoy all of this," Crabtree said. "It's always good to be here and it is what it is. We are just out here having fun."

Crabtree was personally upset with his performance in the 2011 postseason, but should be proud of his 2012 output so far in San Francisco's first two playoff games after totaling 15 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns.

In a continuing trend, Crabtree has been Colin Kaepernick's favorite target in the passing game. The two have struck up a quick chemistry since Kaepernick took over as the starter in Week 11. In all, they've connected for 56 receptions for 771 yards and seven touchdowns in that span.

Count Crabtree among those amazed that Kaepernick has made just nine NFL starts but still led his team to the Super Bowl.

"It's crazy man and it is what it is," Crabtree said. "The guy can play some ball. We are in the Super Bowl and half of it is because of Kaepernick. You can't ask for a better quarterback."

Add Kaepernick to the impressive supporting cast that the 49ers feature, and there's a reason why they're playing in the sixth Super Bowl in franchise history.

"I think it's the weapons that are around him that makes the guy feel that much more comfortable," Crabtree said. "Because having all of these guys, Randy Moss, Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Frank Gore, LaMichael James, having all of these weapons kind of makes you feel comfortable in what you are doing and confident in what you have. I feel like that guy has a strong arm, he could run at any moment, and he is fast. He has a great line in front of him. The sky is the limit."

Just as Crabtree was quick to complement his quarterback, offensive coordinator Greg Roman was quick to complement Crabtree. The leading 49ers receiver finished the regular season with career highs in receptions (85), yards (1,105) and touchdowns (nine).

But it's not just what Crabtree did which impressed his coach, it's how he did it. Tough yards after the catch, picking up first downs and crisp route running were a staple of Crabtree's game in 2012.

"Crabtree's really come through," Roman said. "He's got us going a lot of times and I'm really, really thrilled with how Michael's developing as a player. His run after catch, some of the ones he's had this year, he's separated himself from a lot of people in the league I think. As far as us, he's been a go-to guy for us because he just keep making plays."

Crabtree has also shown signs of growing as a key figure in the locker room in recent years. Just ask Davis, who also features one of the team's most vocal personas.

"I think that Michael Crabtree has done a terrific job as far as stepping up and becoming a leader. He's been through a lot as well. It's takes time for a guy to come in and be successful. You have to go through some things first before you can reach your highest peak. So I think that he's been patient as far as that."

Crabtree, for one, can't wait to get past the two weeks of media buildup that leads up to the Super Bowl.

"It's a football game, it's something that we have to do," Crabtree said. "It's a goal we have had for so long and we have finally reached it. Now, we just have to make it happen."

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