On Sunday night we witnessed yet another entertaining game, in what’s been yet another emotional and exciting NFL season, with Super Bowl 47’s spectacle proving to be a great way to end the year. The game had so many story lines leading up to the big game, mainly linked to the rivalry between the Harbaugh brothers & Ray Lewis’ final ride for the Ravens. But this game provided so much more, and it’s a game that will be remembered very fondly for years to come. Before the game people were worried that there wouldn’t be many points, and that it would be all about defence. How wrong they were. We saw 2 sides going at each other from the very start, and it was very entertaining fans, despite the 35 stoppage due to the power cut. In my eyes there were 10 reasons why this game will be memorable for me, despite my Giants not being in the game itself, and I’ll talk through those reasons now.
The Jacoby Jones 108 Kick Off Return
What a way to start the second half. All the talk at half time was that the 49ers needed to come out and show some good defence and not allow the Ravens to score another touchdown if they were to have a chance of winning the game. So what happens, Jones returns a kick off for a 108 yard TD which is tied for an NFL record. It wasn’t the start Jim Harbaugh would have wanted, and it put the Ravens firmly in control at 28-6. Jacoby Jones posted numbers which were arguably MVP worthy, with 290 total yards which included one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history with his 56 yard catch, fall and then run in for a TD. Although that TD was very memorable, people will remember his kick off return for a TD even more.
Joe Flacco Shows He's Elite
This was the big stage for Flacco, and a chance for him to prove all his critics wrong. During the play-offs Flacco earned the name ‘flukeo’ from some areas of the media, who believed that what he was doing was merely a fluke, and that he wouldn’t turn up at the biggest game. Well he certainly proved them wrong. With stats of 22-33, 287 yards & 3 TDs, it’s true that this guy is the real deal. I said a few weeks ago that I felt Flacco was an elite QB after being so impressed with him throughout the whole play offs. Beating Peyton in his own back yard, and beating Brady in his own back yard. Those two will go down as 2 of the greatest QBs of all time, and Flacco outplayed them. With a total of 11 TDs and 0 interceptions in the play-offs, you can’t really argue that Flacco is very worthy of being given the franchise tag, which Baltimore will inevitably do. Flacco now has the most road wins of any QB in NFL history, and also he’s tied with the great Joe Montana for the only QB to have 11 TDs and 0 INT in a postseason. Baltimore, pay your MVP.
Ray Lewis’ Last Ride
Ray Lewis, arguably the greatest linebacker in NFL history bowed out in the best way possible on Sunday, with his 2nd Super Bowl ring, 12 years after his 1st. Ray Lewis finished the play-offs with 51 tackles in the 4 games, which is a franchise record. All of this was done with a damaged triceps which undoubtedly isn’t still 100% considering he should still be on the sidelines. Ok, Lewis didn’t have his best game, with a few missed tackles, but he made 2 key tackles on the 49ers final drive and wasn’t it just fitting that the Ravens won the Lombardi for a 2nd time thanks to a goal line stand from their defence. He’ll be missed by the NFL, and remembered as one of the greatest leaders of all time. But now he can happily retire with 2 rings in hand, as one of the greatest defenders the NFL has ever seen.
The Power Cut
Whichever way you look at it, the power cut will be one of the memorable moments of this Super Bowl. This caused a 35 minute stoppage in play which allowed the 49ers did stop the Ravens’ momentum, and almost win them the game. John Harbaugh was livid on the sideline, as you can imagine, as he knew that this would have a negative effect on his side. In the end, it didn’t ultimately deny his side the win, but you can imagine there would be uproar if the 49ers had managed to overturn that deficit. But thankfully for John, the power cut won’t be giving him any sleepless nights.
Kaepernick Delivering On The Biggest Stage
Before the game many wondered whether Kaepernick would deliver on the biggest of stages, despite already proving that he’s a franchise QBs. Kaepernick already has on his resume wins against the Bears & Saints in the regular season, as well as play off wins against the Packers & Falcons. This kid is the real deal. Ok he got picked off once, but apart from that his numbers were 16-28, 302 yards, 1 TD & 1 rushing TDs. In the play offs he’s been breaking records already with the most rushing yards for a QB in one game, the play offs as well as the longest rushing TD in a Super Bowl. This is a guy who we’re going to be seeing on the biggest stage in the future, mark my words. The 49ers will be even stronger next year with this guy in the clutch, and let’s not forget that this was his TENTH career start. Unbelievable pressure on the guy, and he didn’t let it phase him too much. If it hadn’t have been for a few questionable refereeing decisions, he may have been a Super Bowl champion, but it wasn’t to be. But I’m confident that the 49ers will be back on this stage next year, and that time they could well get their hands on the Lombardi.
The Comeback From The 49ers
They said it was impossible, but in the end the 49ers very nearly did just that. Down 28-6 after Jacoby Jones’ kick off return for a TD, everyone from Baltimore was already celebrating a 2nd Lombardi. But the 49ers had other ideas. In the space of 2 minutes & 20 seconds, the 49ers scored 2 TDs, 1 from Crabtree and another from Gore, to make it a 28-20 game, before David Akers added a field goal to make it 28-23. Then Joey Tucker, the ever reliable rookie, kicks a FG to make it 31-23, before Kaepernick runs in for a TD to make it 31-29, with the 2 point conversion being no good. On their final drive, the 49ers came so close to scoring the TD which would have won them the game, and if Smith gets called for holding or pass interference on Michael Crabtree, it may have been a different story. In the end it wasn’t to be, and the 49ers fell short for the 1st time in a Super Bowl. But you have to take your hat off to the 49ers, who gave it a really good go, and came so close to pulling off the impossible.
All through the 2 weeks leading up to Super Bowl 47, the talk was dominated by the ‘harbowl’. 2 brothers managing different sides in a Super Bowl was unprecedented, and I thought the whole build up to the game with a joint press conference, was a great touch by the NFL. We saw how much these 2 brothers admired and respected each other, and during the game we saw how these two are leaders of men, and are 2 of the finest coaches in the NFL today. In the end older brother John outsmarted Jim in the Harbowl, but even though there’ll be some disappointment on Jim’s side, even he can admit that this game was a great spectacle for the fans, and those brothers were mainly responsible for that.
The safety by the Ravens in my eyes was a genius call by John Harbaugh. With 12 seconds left to play, the Ravens were about to punt the ball, which would have given the 49ers perhaps one shot at the end zone with a Hail Mary. But John called a timeout and instead told punter Koch to take a safety. The next play, Koch managed to eat away 8 seconds of the clock, which meant the 49ers needed to score on the punt return or the game was over. That shrewd move by John, clinched the Lombardi for the Ravens.
The Faked Field Goal
But then there was John Harbaugh’s not so good side. Asking Joey Tucker to try and get 9 yards for a 1st down was a stupid move, and everyone can see it. The Ravens were playing against one of the best defenses in the League, and not Kansas City (no disrespect). In that situation, they should have just taken the 3 points and moved on. If they had just taken the FG it would have been 17-3, before the Ravens scored another TD before halftime to make it 24-6. At that stage of the game, scoring points is all that matters, and trick shots should be left for the pre season in my eyes. If those 3 points go in, I don’t think the 49ers get even close to winning the game, so in that respect thanks John for making the game a bit more exciting.
The Underdog Winning Again
For the 4th time in 6 years, Vegas got it wrong. The only 2 winners they’ve got right in the last 6 Super Bowls have been the Steelers in 08 and the Packers in 10. What that basically tells us, is no to trust Vegas! Everyone loves an underdog, and a lot of pundits before the game said that they were tipping the 49ers, so as a result a lot of people supported the Ravens. Myself and many other people I know were supporting the Ravens down to Ray Lewis, and wanting him to get a 2nd ring, but it did help the fact that the Ravens were the underdogs. So in the future when you’re looking to make a bet on the Super Bowl, maybe look at what Vegas has to say, and bet the opposite!