A Super Bowl That Had Virtually Everything

Twitter: @Li495Akiem

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis (middle) and head coach John Harbaugh (left) celebrate after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

 

Two quarterbacks playing in their first Super Bowl.

Two brothers coaching against each other in the Super Bowl.

One future Hall of Famer wanting to retire as a champion as did John Elway, Jerome Bettis, and Michael Strahan.

One franchise attempting to continue its undefeated streak in the Big Game.

Over the top commercials (as always).

A halftime that was actually worth watching.

The first ever fake field goal attempt in Super Bowl history.

The first 49er quarterback in Super Bowl history to throw an interception.

A power outage that lasted almost 40 minutes.

A team almost completing a comeback owed in part to that power outage.

A team intentionally taking a safety in order to give themselves better field position on the final kick.

When all of this is taken into consideration, one has to ask one simple question….

What didn’t this Super Bowl have?

Unless we’re talking about a Super Bowl involving the Steelers (and that happens often, obviously) it is rare when a Super Bowl is dominated by one team’s fans since it is played on a neutral site. But, prior to the game, numerous reports out of New Orleans had Baltimore Ravens fans outnumbering San Francisco 49ers fans by a 5 to 1 ratio. Some even said that Niner fans were out-fanned by a 10 to 1 margin.

A stirring performance of “America the Beautiful” was delivered by schoolchildren from Sandy Hook Elementary School. They performed along with Jennifer Hudson, but you can make a case that J-Hud wasn’t needed for that portion of the pregame ceremonies. After that, along came Alicia Keys for the National Anthem.

The fact that Ravens fans out-fanned the Niner faithful by an approximate 5-10 to 1 margin seemed to show itself early. When the class of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame was announced, Jonathan Ogden got much more of a sustained applause from the Superdome crowd than the rest of the class. It was obvious that the Ravens had turned the place into M&T Bank Stadium—just with a roof on top of it.

Early on, it looked like a tone would be set that would be advantageous to Baltimore. The first score would come courtesy of a 13 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin. The point after the touchdown gave the Ravens an early 7-0 lead.

Late in the opening quarter, a David Akers 36-yard field goal would make the game 7-3.

One thing that was certainly noticeable about this game was how “chippy” it was on both sides. There were numerous occasions throughout this game where both teams got in the face of their opponents and fights nearly did (actually did) on the field. When Colin Kaepernick threw his one interception to Ed Reed, a battle royale nearly broke out between the two teams. Jacoby Jones almost started something with one of the 49ers special teams defenders that was approaching him after catching a ball for a touchback.

Two more touchdown passes from Flacco (to Dennis Pitta and the 56 yard bomb to Jones) made it 21-3. It looked like that Super Bowl XLVII from New Orleans would be a super dud this year.

The game could’ve been 24-3, but Jim Caldwell and John Harbaugh, instead of kicking a field goal that would’ve put the Ravens up by 21, decided to fake the field goal and try for a first down with a kicker to run 10 yards. Patrick Willis came up with a big play in special teams to prevent that from happening.

What didn’t this Super Bowl have?

That had a chance to be a huge play we could talk about. One never had to think that even with the Ravens ahead by 18 at that point that the game was over. Did the two weeks of Super Bowl hype forget that the San Francisco 49ers were able to come from 17 down to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game? Even though, some of that was the Atlanta Falcons as well.

The Niners would score before the end of the half and make the game 21-6, but it was in a situation where the 49ers would probably prefer a touchdown rather than a field goal. The Ravens defense responded the way they had to after they practically left 3 points in the board.

But then again, those kinds of fake plays are only dumb if they don’t work and genius if they do. Sean Payton’s onside kick in Super Bowl 41 is regarded as one of the gutsiest calls of all time because it worked. The same would’ve happened to that fake field goal kick if it worked. It’s the nature of sports.

What didn’t this Super Bowl have?

With the score at 21-6 and the Ravens getting the ball in the 2nd half, Frisco without a doubt needed to stop Baltimore on the first drive. They needed something like that to get back into the game and make a statement that the first half would be different from the 2nd half.

Then came the halftime show which meant it was time for Beyonce to do her thing. For the record, I liked the halftime show as seemingly most people did. I know a lot of folks were a little bit disappointed that there wasn’t an appearance from either Jay-Z or Justin Timberlake, but we did get to see a Destiny’s Child reunion. It wasn’t Prince in 2007 when Sun Life Stadium was once known under its seemingly twenty other different names, if I remember correctly. But it wasn’t too bad.

Honestly….it could’ve been worse. If you like to have your halftime shows continuously plucked from the music libraries of WMGK 102.9 and WOGL 98.1, that’s your cup of tea. I liked that they brought someone on this year who appeals to a populace under 30. No disrespect to those older artists as I’m fans of a lot of them. But it was a case of overkill after the “wardrobe malfunction” with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson.

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Beyonce performs during the halftime show in Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

 

Oh, and Beyonce’s outfit wasn’t too bad either if I must say so myself.

As the game resumed, so much for that second half being different from the first thing, at least at first. The red & gold didn’t even get a chance at the outset of the 3rd quarter. A 108-yard kickoff return from Jacoby Jones made the score 28-6 and seemed like the final dagger for this football game.

That is before the lights went out. What didn’t this Super Bowl have?

Shortly after the Jones 100+ yard return, the Superdome went SuperDark as half of the stadium lights near the roof would go dark for a forty minute period. There are plenty of reasons that were attributed to it, the latest being an “abnormality”. The entire CBS crew along with the NFL and Superdome staff were running around like chickens with their proverbial heads cut off.

The “abnormality” in my opinion is the abnormal praise that Southern cities get for holding Super Bowls. Tonight’s 40 minute power outage should put to rest the argument that many pundits have that the NFL can’t have a Super Bowl in a cold-weather city. Abnormalities like this can happen anywhere. It rained colts and bears when Indianapolis and Chicago met in that Super Bowl in South Florida. Now, this happens in The Big Easy?

New Orleans is a great city that has come back from Hurricane Katrina. But let’s not use the facts that its stadium has a roof and it is in the Southwestern United States as the reason to continue to grandfather it into hosting Super Bowls every five years. The argument has run its course and is a farce. These things can happen anywhere and can’t merely be excused for the weak excuse of weather to deny cities like Philadelphia, Washington DC, Seattle, and others of hosting a Super Bowl.

What made this power outage unique, were its after effects. This game was 99% over prior to it, and one had to think that it would only help the 49ers if they were to get back into the game.

Did. It. Ever.

It was as if it was a new ball game. A 31-yard pass to Michael Crabtree from Kaepernick made it 28-13. Then, after the Ravens couldn’t put together a drive, San Francisco came back onto the field and a Frank Gore 6-yard run made it 28-20. The injury that happened to Haloti Ngata only made things easier for the 49ers to run the football considering how much space he clogs up against opposing running offenses.

An egregious fumble from Ray Rice (his 3rd of the postseason) would give the 49ers even more life and momentum. The result of that would be a David Akers field goal after he had two attempts to convert on said field goal. He got a second shot after missing the first one, but Baltimore was flagged on what looked like a questionable penalty of running into the kicker. The lead was only 28-23.

What didn’t this Super Bowl have?

Apparently, the stadium’s power wasn’t the thing knocked out, but so was that of the Baltimore Ravens. All of the momentum had switched over to the 49ers. A classic “Tale of Two Halves” Super Bowl had ensued.

The Ravens wouldn’t see the endzone again for the rest of the game as their last two scoring plays would come via field goals from Justin Tucker. I wonder if Billy Cundiff would’ve made them, but that’s another story right now.

Meanwhile, the 49ers continued to make the Super Bowl a redux of what they completed two weeks ago in another domed stadium in Atlanta. With the score at 31-23, a 15-yard run from Kaepernick would make it 31-29 when it was obvious to everyone that Jim Harbaugh would try for 2. The 2-point conversion would fail, but it felt like the 49ers were winning this game.

It’d later became 34-29 Baltimore, but when the 49ers had a chance to drive down the field one last time, the Ravens were able to pull off a goal line stand (perhaps aided by a questionable holding “no-call” on the last 4th down play) for the Ravens to take over on downs.

And if this game couldn’t get any more bizarre, John Harbaugh decided to even get more seconds off the clock with his kicker. Sam Koch didn’t immediately punt the ball back to the 49ers because of the likelihood that they’d get great field position right at the end. Koch ran out of the endzone and the Ravens took a safety so they’d have a chance to punt the football from the 20 to pin San Francisco deep. 34-31 Ravens

What didn’t this Super Bowl have?

At that point it was too late for the 49ers to execute any more comebacks. Baltimore won despite everything that went down. The Ravens are Super Bowl champions. Ray Lewis will retire just as Elway, The Bus, and Strahan did as a champion, even though, there is renewed talk about his use of performance enhancers—deer antler spray in particular. Flacco is now a Super Bowl champion and the Ravens hope he can win more as they transition into being a team that’s more about what most NFL teams are about in 2013—pass happy offenses. One can say that the Baltimore Ravens are the best team in the AFC after the last couple of years and now they’re the best in the NFL. Congrats to the Super Bowl champs.

The 49ers have nothing to be ashamed of as they almost completed one of the biggest comebacks in NFL history. With Colin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh at the helm of this team, they’ll be contenders for a long time. Great effort from San Francisco and they’ll likely be back in the Big Game very soon.

By the way, in my opinion, even some of the ads were watchable this year. Doritos, Tide, Bud Light, and NFL Network were among those spots that were good. Oreo bombed and so did GoDaddy, the later of which, is no surprise.

Again, what didn’t this Super Bowl have?

Topics: 47, 49ers, Akers, Aldon, Anquan, Baltimore, Boldin, Bowl, Colin, David, Davis, Dennis, Ed, Flacco, Football, Francisco, Frank, Gore, Haloti, Harbaugh, Jacoby, Jim, Joe, John, Jones, Justin, Kaepernick, Koch, League, Lewis, Louisiana, Michael Crabtree, National, Network, New, NFL, Ngata, Orleans, Outage, Patrick, Pitta, Power, Ravens, Ray, Reed, Rice, Sam, San, Smith, Super, Superdome, Torrey, Tucker, Vernon, Willis, Xlvii

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