NEW ORLEANS — Strange things have been known to occur in New Orleans: beads flowing from balconies, Mardi Gras, Hurricane Katrina, Bounty Gate, and much, more. This year’s Super Bowl added one more strange thing to the city’s list.
The Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII 34-31 over the San Francisco 49ers. Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense stopped the 49ers from taking it with a gutsy goal-line stand with just minutes left in a 34-29 game.
The dramatic goal-line stand completed one of the most exciting-bizarre-thrilling finishes in Super Bowl history. Quarterback Joe Flacco is no average Joe. He joined Joe Montana and Joe Namath as legends of Super Bowl lore. Flacco threw three touchdown passes, all in the first half, and was the named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Flacco tied Montana as the only other quarterback to throw 11 touchdown passes with no interceptions in the playoffs. This was the first meeting in professional sports history of two brothers, John and Jim, to coach against each other with a World Championship on the line.
The 49ers had two first-half turnovers as the red-hot Ravens built a 21-6 lead at half.
After a spectacular halftime performance by a global music icon, 16-time Grammy-Award winner Beyoncé, the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones took the second half opening kickoff and raced a record-tying 108 yards for a touchdown. Bam — the Ravens’ lead swells to 28-6. Game over, right?
Suddenly, with just over 13 minutes left in the third quarter, the lights went out. Here we were sitting in the dark, all 71,000-plus, and an apparent power surge stopped everything. It stopped the game and communications and sent CBS-TV and a worldwide audience — Dial Global Radio Network also and the 700 stations worldwide — scrambling.
The power outage is still under investigation. It is believed that the NFL was aware that the company that supplies electrical power to the Superdome had previous concerns. In this age of security concerns, I honestly did not know what to think. Power was restored to the Superdome after 34 minutes.
It seemed to zap the Ravens’ momentum with a 22- point lead. The 49ers came to life and scored the next 17 points to close the Ravens’ lead to 28-23. Just like that, it was on in more ways than one. They out-scored the Ravens 25-6 after the power outage and had the opportunity to come all the way back with a first and goal at the Ravens’ five-yard line.
Super Bowl XLVII was there for the taking.
Here was Lewis in his last game willing his team to not allow the 49ers a touchdown. The 49ers tried four straight pass plays, all going incomplete. The Ravens had done it — they dug in and refused to lose. With just over a minute left, the Ravens ran four plays, including taking a safety with just four seconds left.
Ravens 34, 49ers 31. It’s the first time since Super Bowl XIII (Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31) that both teams scored in the 30s.
The Ravens’ bend-but-don’t-break plan prevailed; the 49ers had 468 yards in offense and lost. It’s the most yards ever allowed by a Super Bowl winner. The Ravens were also the second team to lead the NFL in penalty minutes and win the Super Bowl, joining the 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens, founded in 1996, have now won two Super Bowls and have the best 14-7 playoff record in NFL post-season history.
It’s also the second year in succession that the Super Bowl champion has had a Black general manager — last year’s champion New York Giants’ Jerry Reese and Ozzie Newsome of the Ravens. Lewis rides off into retirement like Jerome Bettis, John Elway and Michael Strahan as Super Bowl Champions in their last games.
The 49ers ran for 186 yards; they were previously 13-0-1 when rushing for 100 yards. The 49ers’ young quarterback, Collin Kaepernick, threw for 302 yards and one TD and one interception.
The 49ers were just 2-9 on third down, 0-1 on fourth down, and had five penalties for 33 yards. In this case, it’s how you started that mattered most. The Ravens are the third-straight Super Bowl Champion, with Green Bay and the New York Giants, to go 4-0 in the playoffs.
Fitz Super Bowl XLVII Notes
Vikings star Adrian Peterson was named the NFL Most Valuable Player and NFL Offensive Player of the Year for his incredible 2,097 yards rushing, leading the Vikings to a 10-6 record and a return to the playoffs. He joins HOF’s Alan Page (1971) and Fran Tarkenton (1975) as Vikings NFL MVPs. Vikings great Cris Carter was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Vikings have had six players elected to the HOF in the last eight years. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and Vice President Kevin Warren were both honored by the Fritz Pollard Alliance Salute to Excellence Awards as minority coach and executive of the year.
It’s a shame that the Vikings ownership group did not attend the Super Bowl events — they were on vacation. The Super Bowl is to the NFL like the Oscars and Grammys: It’s the biggest week in the NFL industry, and it’s not every year you have the NFL MVP. As billionaire owners who now have a new stadium approved, you would think they would take ownership of this franchise more seriously.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry- fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.