More than 100 million Americans are believed to have watched the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in a down-to-the-wire thriller, 34-31.
The first Super Bowl championship game to feature brothers -- Baltimore's John Harbaugh and San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh -- as opposing head coaches, it also was the final game in the career of Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis.
The Ravens were last in the Super Bowl in 2001, when they defeated the New York Giants, 34-7. The 49ers, one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the 1980s and early 1990s, were last in the championship game in 1995, when they defeated the San Diego Chargers, 49-26.
Despite the consensus among sportswriters, the first half was dominated by the Ravens who, led by quarterback Joe Flacco, had a 21-6 advantage over the 49ers at halftime. Flacco completed 13 of 20 passes for 192 yards, finishing the half with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 1:45 left.
Flacco's performance topped that of 49ers signal caller Colin Kaepernick, who threw the first interception in San Francisco’s Super Bowl history to Baltimore safety Ed Reed. Former quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young hadn’t thrown one in their five combined championship games.
Baltimore continued to dominate San Francisco at the beginning of the second half, as Jacoby Jones had a NFL-record 109-yard kickoff return.
Shortly thereafter, however, there was a major change in momentum associated with a power outage that darkened the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for about 34 minutes.
The 49ers then went on a tear, but their second-half resurgence wasn’t enough to sway the ultimate result, although it certainly made the game a lot more interesting.