NEW ORLEANS -- The success of the read-option this season has sparked heated debate over whether it's a passing fad or something that's here to stay.
The Baltimore Ravens are charged with finding ways to combat 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick whenever he lines up in the pistol formation and runs the read-option Sunday in the Super Bowl.
Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis said the 49ers succeed so often using the read-option because defenses aren't well-prepared.
"They're doing a good job with it," Lewis said of the 49ers. "At the same time, when you do watch the film, a lot of people who played against them just never communicated at all.
"That's one of the advantages of what we have as a defense. We do a job of communicating very well, whether you have the dive, whether you have the quarterback, how are you going to play this, how are you going to play that?"
Lewis said something glaring stands out when he breaks down tape of how other defenses play the read-option.
"You can tell that a lot of people playing against the read-option just played as individuals," Lewis said. "It's really hard to play that type of package as individuals. You have to play it as a group.
"If you (want) to try to slow it down, that's the only way to slow it down is to really play it as a group and make sure before the snap that everyone is on the same page."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he is a big fan of the pistol formation first implemented by Chris Ault, Kaepernick's college coach at Nevada.
"The beauty of it is, and part of the genius of it is, it's such a simple idea," Harbaugh said. "It goes back to Nevada and coach Ault out there. You can run your whole offense out of it. You're not limited to an option type of attack out of it. It's just a very versatile kind of offense."
He also draws a comparison to the 49ers and some of the great Ravens defenses of the past 15 years or so.
"You see the youth of what we were like when we were younger," Lewis said of the 49ers. "They're just running around and they're making a lot of plays. They have a lot of young guys who just love playing the game.
"You can tell that they really enjoy playing, not just the game, but playing with each other. And that's one of the keys to playing great defense is just having that defensive chemistry."