And there we have it, another lights-out Superbowl (pun intended) is complete. Another wildly entertaining event where large masses of time were put into strategy, millions were spent on commercials, and even more effort put into the big event itself. Historically, any big event that features a blunder as boisterous as what we all witnessed last night early in the third quarter would be chalked up as one for failure. That was far from the case last night.
Last night’s game was one of the highest-rated Superbowls of all time. It was a game that featured two opposing head coaches who are brothers, a Hall of Fame linebacker in his final season, a sudden power outage shortly following Beyonce’s hip thrusting halftime shindig, a 108-yard kick return by Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones that was the longest in postseason history, and most importantly, a highly competitive game that came down to the wire.
After watching this game in its entirety and analyzing all of the extra-curricular activity, a larger part of me will always bring a game like it back down to brass tax. I leave the rest of the story lines open for discussion with my peers as I look at it like just another game with its twists and turns.
Most Superbowls feature the two best teams in their respective conferences outright. I don’t think that was the case this time around, but I do think it was close. This year’s Ravens and 49ers in the post season were simply an example of two teams who had good, solid regular seasons and played better football than their opponents when it mattered most. There is no bigger aspiration for a coach, player or fan when their team is playing its best on the biggest stage.
The 49ers showed that they were more than capable of coming from behind as they did against Atlanta in the NFC Championship game. Unfortunately for them, the 28-6 deficit they inherited proved to be too large to overcome. As just another guy without a vested interest in the game, but found myself pulling for Baltimore, it became apparent that if they could take away either the Frank Gore run game or Colin Kaepernick’s scrambling ability, they could win. While Gore had a decent performance (19 carries, 110 yards, 1 TD) and Kaepernick threw the ball well (16/28 for 302 yards, 1 TD), neither player blew up. The Ravens did the rest.
From here, I can forsee a number of pieces moving for Baltimore. Ray Lewis will retire, as we all have known for some time now. Ed Reed has entertained the idea of playing for Coach Belichek in New England like many veterans have chosen before him. Flacco will most certainly want a fatter pay check for his labor and that should be an easy investment for the Raven’s front office to make. After that, it’s hard to anticipate how they will go about filling the positions that players are vacating.
I see it going much more easily for San Francisco. I think it would be safe to say that they have a complete team that should make the playoffs most every year that they are playing at their full potential. Alex Smith will almost certainly move on after he was bailed on halfway through the season following his injury. From his point of view, I think it would be safe to say that it was the second time that confidence in his abilities were questioned. The first coming when the 49ers shopped Peyton Manning. Nonetheless, they will be in the hunt next season as a force to be reckoned with.
And until next year, happy trails Ray Lewis. Happy shopping Alex Smith. Happy brotherhood Harbaugh brothers. Happy burden-off-your-shoulder Joe Flacco.
Until next year when it all happens again.