Was this the greatest Super Bowl ever played? Not in my opinion, but it was better than the past few years have been… at least the second half was. (It’s relevant to Utah sports, I promise. In one of my previous posts, I referenced the 6 Degrees of Utah Sports, feel free to go back and read it, but for now, please read on.) I realize this is the second posting about the Super Bowl, so I hope you’ll bear with me.
Going into this Super Bowl I was very compelled by this game. Story lines such as Ray Lewis and his impending retirement after 17 years in the league, Colin Kaepernick, the Harbaugh brothers, and let’s not ignore the fact that this was the first Super Bowl in the past few years WITHOUT a Manning or Brady, which makes me smile. In my somewhat humble opinion, one thing that made this year’s game better than most was that neither team was dominant throughout the year. Neither team was at the top of their division, and let’s be completely honest with each other, outside of a few people much more qualified than us, no one had these two teams going against each other when the year started.
Baltimore amazed me more than San Francisco for a few reasons. First, the defense is not as domineering and feared as it has been in years past. They’re getting older, which entails all the usual comments about speed, resiliency, blah blah blah. The non-call notwithstanding, they sure didn’t look old and slow during the goal line stand in the final minutes. The offense has been overlooked for years, rightly so. But you have to give the offense their due this season. Let’s remember this about this year’s Ravens team: they went to Denver and dismantled that team… IN THEIR OWN HOUSE! Can’t lie, I loved watching it happen. I also loved watching them go into Foxborough and completely destroy Brady and the Hoodie (sounds like a cop dramady with a mischievous dog doesn’t it?). In both games the Ravens were the underdogs so it wasn’t surprising that they were going into the Super Bowl as well. It also wasn’t a surprise when they came out and went up 28-6, or was it? I think it may have been to the Niners. We hear it every year, that the team with the experience is better prepared, less likely to get caught up in all the hype and excitement in the lead-up to the game, etc. The Ravens certainly seemed to live up to that assertion. The biggest thing I noticed about the Ravens? That two of our very own Utah athletes had big plays. Kruger was impressive with 2 sacks, and Pitta with 4 catches, 1 a touchdown. You better believe that can be a helpful recruiting tool.
San Francisco…there’s not much to break down here, at least not for me. Both Harbaugh’s are passionate, colorful, and very talented coaches. Remember this though, this was Jim Harbaugh’s second year. NFC Championship in his rookie year, Super Bowl the second. Is that a foreshadowing of things to come? I believe so. This team is young. This team is tough. This team is smart. And this team will bring the glory back to the Niners. Even though everyone in the nation (save Jim Harbaugh, Kapaernick, and Kapaernick’s parents) thought (former Ute!) Alex Smith got a raw deal, Harbaugh stuck to his decision and it turned out pretty good for the team. It would’ve been great for Smith to remain the starter when he came back from injury, and honestly it would’ve been prudent, but it wasn’t so. Smith will land a new team. He might even go on to continue some of the great things he was able to do with San Fran, at least I hope he does. Harbaugh is a great coach and will have the Niners relevant every year going forward.
All in all, it was a great game. Plenty of good story lines, plenty of controversy leading up to the game, (deer antler spray…really???) and tons of drama in the game itself, what with the perceived blowout, then the power outage, the Niner comeback, and even a planned and perfectly executed safety. (Did you agree with that at first? No, you didn’t. Don’t lie.) To me it was made even more special to have so many former Utah athletes in the championship game, and if you’re a fan of the Utes or BYU, that’s something we can all agree on.