For the second time in their 17 seasons, the Baltimore Ravens are world champions.
The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers Sunday 34-31 in an epic clash at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in Super Bowl XLVII.
Among many firsts, Super Bowl XLVII was the first time in major professional sports that two brothers — Baltimore’s John Harbaugh and San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh — coached against each other in a championship.
This time, it was older brother John who came out on top in the “Harbaugh Bowl.”
John was quick to show his brother some love after the game.
“I just knew with Jim Harbaugh being on the other sideline and all of those years we have been together that game was going to be a dog fight right to the end,” said John Harbaugh.
John added, “There is no greater competitor and no greater coach in the National Football League or in the world, as far as I am concerned, than Jim Harbaugh.”
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco earned the game’s Most Valuable Player award on the strength of his three touchdown passes.
In what turned out to be a wildly entertaining contest, early on the Ravens looked like they were going to run away with the game.
Baltimore raced out to a 21-3 lead with near-flawless execution on both sides of the ball. All three first half touchdowns belonged to Flacco, who became the sixth player in NFL history with three touchdown passes in the first half of a Super Bowl.
Flacco finished the 2012 postseason with eleven touchdown passes. That mark ties a record set by Joe Montana in 1989 and Kurt Warner in 2008.
Flacco’s primary target was veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who caught six balls for 104 yards and one touchdown.
San Francisco started off slow, as quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who finished the game with 302 yards, one touchdown and one interception, looked shaky and nervous early on.
Kaepernick eventually settled in, but the 49ers could not muster more than a couple field goals in the first half.
Two local products made big plays for the Ravens tonight as well.
Baltimore safety and Destrehan High School alumnus Ed Reed had a crucial interception in the first half, and New Orleans native and Abramson High School alumnus Jacoby Jones scored two long touchdowns.
Jones’ first score came on a 56-yard touchdown bomb over the middle from Flacco. Jones caught the ball on his back, got up and eluded two San Francisco defenders to race in for the score.
His second score was a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half and put the Ravens up 28-6.
The kickoff return was the longest play in Super Bowl history, and Jones set another Super Bowl record with 290 combined yards in the game.
Several minutes later, the lights suddenly went out in the Superdome.
Several areas of the stadium lost electricity, Internet and other services, including the live television broadcast on CBS, which lost the audio feed from their play-by-play booth.
Confused fans and reporters quickly became restless.
NFL officials delayed the game for 34 minutes while Superdome personnel scrambled to assess and fix the partial outage.
A joint statement from the Entergy power utility and SMG, the company that operates the Superdome, read, in part, “Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue.”
Entergy New Orleans was quick to absolve themselves of any responsibility, posting on their Twitter page, “Power issue at the Super Dome appears to be in the customer's side. Entergy is providing power to the Dome.”
As it turned out, the outage provided San Francisco with some time to regroup. Trailing by 22 points before the lights went out, the 49ers scored 17 unanswered points to cut the score to 28-23 by the end of the third quarter.
Due to the extended halftime show featuring pop singer sensation Beyonce, Jacoby Jones’ kickoff return and the power outage delay occurring consecutively, the Ravens waited nearly an hour and a half between their last offensive play of the first half and their first play of the second.
Clearly affected by the long layover, Baltimore’s offense spent most of the second half trying to get their groove back.
John Harbaugh acknowledged the blackout’s affect on his team after the game. “Both teams had to deal with it. Actually, I thought they dealt with it better, obviously. They were able to turn the momentum of the game,” John Harbaugh said.
He was right. The momentum shift was evident, tangible and tremendous. Everything was suddenly going wrong for the Ravens.
Even sure-handed Baltimore running back Ray Rice, who fumbled only once during the regular season, fumbled the ball away late in the third quarter.
Several 49ers players contributed to the comeback bid. Running back Frank Gore rushed 19 times for 110 yards and a touchdown, while tight end Vernon Davis caught eight balls for 104 yards, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree had ten catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Kaepernick nearly immortalized himself in Super Bowl lore with a spectacular fourth quarter touchdown run down the sideline that cut the score to 31-29, but the two-point conversion attempt failed, and the 49ers were never able to equalize or overtake the Ravens.
The game went straight down to wire when the 49ers had a first-and-goal to go with just over two minutes remaining on their final possession.
San Francisco would advance no farther than the five-yard line, as Baltimore’s defense held on a thrilling goal line stand.
“Nobody ever panicked. Everybody looked at each other, and there was no panic,” Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said after the game.
Lewis played his final game as a professional Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII. Lewis, who is widely considered a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is the player on the Ravens’ roster remaining from their inaugural team in 1996 and their Super Bowl XXXV roster in 2001.
“For us to stand up like that, it is just a testament of what we’ve been (through) and how much trust we had all year with each other,” Lewis added.
“To me, that was one of the most amazing goal-line stands I’ve ever been a part of in my career. What better way to do it than on the Super Bowl stage?”
John Harbaugh became the 29th NFL head coach to win a Super Bowl game, and he heaped praise on Lewis and his team afterward.
Paraphrasing Lewis after the game, John Harbaugh said, “It was not perfect, it was not pretty, but it was us. That is who we are.”
Joe Flacco threw 11 touchdown passes in the postseason following the 2012 season, tying the NFL single-postseason record shared by Joe Montana (postseason after 1989 season) and Kurt Warner (postseason after 2008 season). Flacco and Montana did not throw an interception during those respective postseasons.
Ed Reed made the ninth interception of his postseason career, tying the NFL record shared by Charlie Waters, Bill Simpson and Ronnie Lott.
Super Bowl XLVII was only the second league championship game in NFL history (including the pre-Super Bowl era) in which each team scored 30-or-more points. Pittsburgh defeated Dallas, 35-31, in Super Bowl XIII in January 1979.
Super Bowl XLVII — Records set and tied
SUPER BOWL RECORDS SET IN SUPER BOWL XLVII
Most Combined Yards, Game – 290, Jacoby Jones
Longest Play – 108-yard kickoff return, Jacoby Jones
Longest Kickoff Return – 108 yards, Jacoby Jones
Longest Kickoff Return for Touchdown – 108 yards, Jacoby Jones
Longest Touchdown Run, Quarterback – 15 yards, Colin Kaepernick
Most Kickoff-Return Yards, Both Teams – 312 (Baltimore 206, San Francisco 106)
Longest Time Of Game – 4:14
SUPER BOWL RECORDS TIED IN SUPER BOWL XLVII
Most Touchdowns, Plays of 50-or-More Yards, Game – 2, Jacoby Jones
Most Receiving Yards, Game, Tight End – 104, Vernon Davis
Most Touchdowns, Kickoff Returns, Game – 1, Jacoby Jones
Most Safeties, Game – 1, Chris Culliver
Most Touchdowns, Kickoff Returns, Game, Team – 1, Baltimore
Most Safeties, Game, Team – 1, San Francisco
Most Players, 100-or-More Receiving Yards, Game, Team -- 2, San Francisco (Michael Crabtree 109, Vernon Davis 104)
Most Points, Third Quarter, Both Teams – 24 (San Francisco 17, Baltimore 7)
Most Field Goals, Game, Both Teams – 5 (San Francisco 3, Baltimore 2)
Most Field Goals Without Miss, Game, Both Teams – 5 (San Francisco 3, Baltimore 2)
Fewest Rushing Touchdowns, Game, Team – 0, Baltimore
Stats compiled by Elias Sports Bureau