After Beyoncé strutted her stuff during Super Bowl XLVII’s halftime show, it was time to hand the microphone over to Jacoby Jones, who put on a performance of his own. On the opening second half kickoff, the Baltimore Ravens wide receiver caught the ball 58-yards deep in their own territory when he catapulted towards midfield. Breaking tackles and filling gaps, Jones weaved through San Francisco’s special teams crew and wound up in the end zone, extending Baltimore’s lead to 22 points. 49ers fans that travelled more than 2,000 miles to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans were becoming weary as their hopes of returning home with the Lombardi trophy were dwindling.
And then the power went out.
The pristine presentation of the Super Bowl – minus Janet Jackson’s nip-slip debacle – was suddenly flawed as the grand stadium that garners the New Orleans Saints during the regular season had suddenly undergone a power surge, leaving half of the dome’s lights blanketed by darkness, and, not to mention, CBS’ Jim Nantz and Phil Simms muted for over a half-an-hour.
“Next time you decide to put in your phone charger, give us a warning,” Nantz joked to Simms afterwards.
Momentum seemingly got lost in the darkness down on the field and wandered over to the 49ers’ bench, for when the power came back on, Colin Kaepernick led his team to 17-straight points.
A 31-yard pass to young wide receiver Michael Crabtree made it 28-13. A 6-yard run by running back Frank Gore then made it 28-20 after a sack of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco granted them solid field position. Then, after San Francisco’s dominant defense continued when Ray Rice’s fumble was recovered by the same Baltimore cornerback who forced it, Tarell Brown, the 49ers made the score 28-23, thanks to a David Akers field goal – a running-into-the-kicker penalty by Baltimore allowed Akers, who missed his first attempt, to give it a second go.
It took slightly less than 15 minutes to substitute sayings from 49ers fans like “What a blowout,” with “Thank you, blackout.”
Thus began a fourth quarter that amassed to the highest overnight ratings in Super Bowl history, according to the Nielsen company, with a score of 47.1, 1 point higher than last year’s game. The share translates to this: a whopping 71 percent of the nation’s televisions (that were turned on) and over 110 million viewers were tuned in to watch the most popular televised American event in history.
Flacco and Kaepernick duked it out for the rights of Super Bowl champion and a shower of multi-colored confetti to their best ability in that quarter, swapping scores like they were used DVDs.
Just after the 13-minute mark, Ravens kicker, Justin Tucker, culminated Flacco’s drive down the field with a 19-yard field goal, passing the baton over to Kaepernick while up 8 points. Kaepernick, himself, answered with a 3-minute drive down the field, finishing it with his very own rendition of his now infamous “Kaepernick” where he kisses his flexed bicep after running in for a touchdown. All that was left for him, then, was a two-point conversion attempt to possibly tie the game.
With an overthrow of tight end Vernon Davis, Kaepernick and the 49ers were left with a tormenting two-point deficit. But, little did they know, they would have another chance to rip the covers out from under the Ravens. The catch: 4th and goal with 1:50 remaining in the game.
Kaepernick dropped back to pass, but had to let it go quickly due to an all-out blitz by Ray Lewis and company. Crabtree, the intended receiver, wrestled with his defender, reached out, but his fingertips fell inches short of the football, and, therefore, a Super Bowl title. Baltimore, who never handed the lead over the entire contest, and who was hit with a fury of a second half by a young 49ers team, came away the victor, by the score of 34-31.
Flacco came away with the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Ravens took back their title as lead-dog for the second time in their existence – not to mention, in this century.
“How could it be any other way? It’s never pretty; it’s never perfect; but it’s us,” said Baltimore coach John Harbaugh in a press conference.
So if it wasn’t so pretty, then why did millions of remotes all over the world gravitate towards CBS on Sunday night? Well, the Super Bowl has always been a magnetizing event, but with so many news headlines surrounding it, it’s even harder not to be sucked in.
Harbaugh vs Harbaugh For the first time in Super Bowl history, two brothers, John of Baltimore and Jim of San Francisco, coached the opposing teams. On top of that, both of them held a press conference together – also for the first time in Super Bowl history – on Friday. John showed up with a fancy blazer while Jim adorned his usual game-attire – 49ers hat, sweatshirt and dress pants. It was a lackadaisical affair with not much football talk, as they showed their brotherly love by poking fun.
“I’d be hard-pressed to spell philosophical right now,” Jim said, while John retorted, “I know he couldn’t spell commonality”
As for the post-game handshake, which will surely be done with a mixture of polarizing emotions, according to the brothers, neither has used an ounce of energy thinking about that.
“I’ve given absolutely no consideration to the post-game handshake or bear hug or anything else, have you, Jim?” in which Jim replied, “I have not.”
Goodbye Alex Smith, Hello Colin Kaepernick After Alex Smith, San Francisco’s quarterback at the beginning of the season, and whom also led the team to an NFC Championship game in 2012, suffered a mid-season concussion. In week 11, Niners coach Harbaugh went with the man with the “hot hand.” And, boy, did that hand stay hot. Completing over 60 percent of his passes, acquiring a 97.9 quarterback rating, passing for 10 touchdowns and running for 5, throwing and scampering for over 2,000 yards while only tossing 3 interceptions during his portion of the regular season in the starting role, it was easy for Niners fans to leave Smith in the rear-view mirror.
During the playoffs, Kaepernick remained steady, and Smith was limited to the bench while watching the sophomore quarterback lead his team to the Super Bowl – and almost winning it, for that matter, in grand fashion. With his signature touchdown stance, swift feet and rocket arm, Kaepernick is sure to have a bright future… just hope he doesn’t get a concussion.
Flacco: Elite or Just Plain Boring? The previous Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning, was the latest to be granted the label as “elite” by most analysts on networks such as ESPN, so what about this year’s MVP? His name has been thrown out there, but will his inconsistency over the season derail him from such heights? His 22 completions out of 33 pass attempts, 287 yards and 3 touchdowns on the biggest stage in sports, along with zero – yes, zero – interceptions throughout the entire playoffs begs to differ.
As far as Joe’s father, Steve Flacco, is concerned, though, “Joe is dull,” he said in a telephone interview with the New York Times. “As dull as he is portrayed in the media, he’s that dull.”
“He is dull,” he added one more time. But despite his nonchalant attitude on the field, in the locker room and, according to his father, at home, Joe is shown as a person with a vibrant personality in his wedding-pictures-gone-viral. In one, he is shown orchestrating his family and newlywed, Dana, like they are his offensive line, with a champagne bottle acting as the football. The other shot takes place in a movie theater where he and the same group act as if they are watching a horror movie, screaming and throwing their popcorn in the air.
Or maybe not…
“I guarantee none of it was Joe’s idea,” Steve said.
The Man, the Myth, the Incredibly Controversial Ray Lewis He seemed to be in the clear, cascading through the playoffs on the verge of ending his career on the highest note possible – winning a Super Bowl in his last game ever. But, with Lewis, anything is possible.
In his 17-year career, Lewis has been accused of a double-homicide, fathered six children from four different women and, now, has been linked by SI.com to an extract from, of all things, deer antlers, which contains a growth hormone that is banned by the National Football League. The article suggests he used that specific “spray” to heal his torn triceps more quickly in order to return to the Ravens in a convenient manner. Lewis deflected any questions or accusations that came his way, citing that he’s never failed a drug test over the last 17 years, during the media week that swallowed the city of New Orleans leading up to the big game.
“I wouldn’t give that report … any of my press,” Lewis said last week, shaking his head and referring to the report as a “joke.”
Think what you will of the man, but nothing takes away his decorated career, high spirits and presence on the football field. For some, his ensuing retirement will be a blessing – no more hard hits. For his teammates, such as Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Ray Rice, it will be bitter sweet to bid him adieu – no more fiery pregame speeches. For Lewis, his faith and determination has brought him to a fitting end to a historic career.
“How could it end any other way than that?” Lewis said, alluding to the goal line stop on San Francisco’s final drive. “And now I get to ride into the sunset with my second ring.”