SUPER BOWL WATCH: Super indeed, Baltimore's joy
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Around the Super Bowl and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of everything surrounding the game:
WHAT A GAME! SUPER BOWL SUPER INDEED
This year's Super Bowl sure lived up to its name.
With a power outage, a record kickoff return, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scoring flurry and the biggest goal-line stand of Ray Lewis' long career, the Baltimore Ravens' 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers was so wacky and thrilling it even made folks briefly forget about the Harbaughs.
Until John shoved a photographer to get to his little brother, that is.
The game had all the makings of a yawner in the first half, as the Ravens steamrolled San Francisco to a 21-6 lead. When Jacoby Jones returned the opening kick of the second half 108 yards for another Baltimore touchdown, most folks at home headed for the kitchen, happy to have seen Beyonce's Destiny's Child reunion and leaving their TVs on just so they could see the commercials. (To recap: Chrysler and the Clydesdale were warm-and-fuzzy, GoDaddy.com was just gross and most of the rest were forgettable — many were released in advance, anyway.)
Then the power went out. And the game's entire mojo changed. Fitting, considering this is New Orleans.
The 49ers that could only manage two field goals in the first half went on a scoring frenzy, ripping off 23 points in a little over 12 minutes. When they reached the Baltimore 5 yard line just before the two-minute warning, the unprecedented comeback was almost complete.
Right. Like this game was going to get wrapped up that easily.
The Ravens defense stopped quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers not once, not twice, but three times, forcing them to turn the ball over on downs. Then Baltimore tried to run the clock out — literally. Did you see punter Sam Koch run around the end zone like he was playing a game of keep away? San Francisco wound up with a safety, but did nothing with the final kickoff.
The Ravens ran onto the field, the confetti fell and, just like that, it was done.
Four hours and 14 minutes has never been so much fun.
REPEAT? 14-1 ODDS, VEGAS SAYS
So now that the Baltimore Ravens are NFL champs, what are the odds they'll do it again?
According to sports books in Las Vegas, 14 to 1.
Casinos put up lines for next year's championship immediately following the Super Bowl.
The San Francisco 49ers are actually a bigger favorite to win it all next year, 8 to 1, tied with the Denver Broncos. New England is the overall favorite.
QUICKQUOTE: VERNON DAVIS
While the Baltimore Ravens can revel in their Super Bowl win for the next few months, the San Francisco 49ers are already looking ahead.
"We've always got next year, we've got next season," tight end Vernon Davis said. "May as well look forward to next season."
KAEP: LAST PLAY WAS AUDIBLE
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick came just short of leading the 49ers to an unprecedented Super Bowl comeback.
But with three chances to take the lead needing 5 yards for a touchdown, Kaepernick had three straight incompletions.
All three passes were intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who got tangled up with a defender on the final play. No holding was called — 49ers coach Harbaugh screamed from the sideline and signaled for a penalty.
Kaepernick's off-balance throw under pressure on fourth down sailed through the end zone. He lowered his head slightly and walked slowly off the field.
"That wasn't the original option," Kaepernick said. "It's something I audibled to at the line based on the look they gave us."
QUICKQUOTE: RAY RICE
Ray Rice wants diamonds in his Super Bowl ring. Lots and lots of them.
"I want to light up like a chandelier when I turn off the light," the Baltimore Ravens running back bellowed, urging Ray Lewis to ask Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti for some bling in their rings.
Rice finished with 59 yards on 20 carries in Baltimore's 34-31 victory over San Francisco.
DAHLBERG: ADVANTAGE, JOHN
AP national sports columnist Tim Dahlberg just filed his latest dispatch on what he calls "the strangest Super Bowl you will ever see."
If football is a game of momentum, the San Francisco 49ers probably deserved a better fate. It took a blackout to get them going, only to have some pedestrian play calling with the game on the line finally finish them off.
This wasn't two coaching geniuses at their best, not even close. Their father, Jack, surely saw that from the stands, where he and his wife, Jackie, spent more than four hours trying their hardest not to root either way as their sons went up against each other on the biggest stage in football.
One, though, was better than the other, and in the end that was why the Ravens were holding the Lombardi trophy aloft in celebration while the 49ers filed quietly off the field.
Read the whole column here: http://bit.ly/VJYQX4
QUICKQUOTE: MICHAEL CRABTREE
With the lead, and the Super Bowl victory, right there in front of them as they lined up on the Baltimore 5 yard line, the San Francisco 49ers could think of only one thing.
"Make a play," receiver Michael Crabtree said. "All we needed to do is get in the end zone. We were that close to the Super Bowl title, and we fell short."
The Baltimore Ravens defense stopped the 49ers for no gain on three straight downs, ending San Francisco's title hopes.
POWER SYSTEM 'ABNORMALITY'
Officials say the Superdome power outage during the Super Bowl was triggered by an "abnormality" in the power system.
That triggered an automatic shutdown and forced backup systems to kick in, officials said about two hours after the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.
But officials still aren't sure what caused the initial problem.
A joint statement from Entergy New Orleans, which provides power to the stadium, and Superdome operator SMG gives a chain of events.
The problem started at the spot where Entergy feeds power into the stadium's lines, and occurred shortly after Beyonce's halftime show with extravagant lighting and video effects.
"A piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system," the statement said. "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 and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality."
The FBI has ruled out terrorism.
The concourses didn't go totally dark thanks to auxiliary power.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh says he's happy but partly hurting for his brother Jim after beating the 49ers coach in the Super Bowl.
"I just love him, obviously. I think anybody out there who has a brother can understand. I just believe in him and I have so much respect for him. I admire him. I look up to him in so many ways and I am hurting for him in that sense,"
John Harbaugh didn't seem surprised that San Francisco nearly came back after being down big before a power outage delayed the game 34 minutes.
"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," John Harbaugh said. "Those guys were coming back. There's no greater competitor and no greater coach in the National Football League or in the world, as far as I'm concerned, than Jim Harbaugh. The way that team played proves it. ... That is who he is and that is who they are. I could not be more proud of him."
John Harbaugh said that after the game he simply told Jim, younger by 18 months, that he loved him, and that Jim congratulated him.
QUICKQUOTE: PATRICK WILLIS
"The clock hitting zero."
— San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis on the worst part of the 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday night's Super Bowl.
STAT CHECK: ATTENDANCE
Attendance at Sunday's Super Bowl: 71,024.
No word if that includes the electricians they had to bring in.
SF FANS CALM IN DEFEAT
Fans in San Francisco seem to be relatively calm in Super Bowl defeat.
Not like when the Giants won the World Series in late October. Back then, a city but was set on fire, cars were overturned and bonfires lit up trash containers and streets. About three dozen people were arrested.
But despite a large number of people on sidewalks, most appeared to be well-behaved in the Mission District after the 49ers lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens. Police declined to say how many arrests had been made.
"City-wide, everything seemed to be pretty good," Officer Carlos Manfredi said. "We did have a couple of flare-ups in the Mission District but otherwise everyone seemed to be behaving themselves."
M-V-P! M-V-P! FLACCO NO ORDINARY JOE
Joe Flacco won't have to do much negotiating after this.
The Baltimore Ravens' low-key quarterback put off talks on a new contract until after the season. Now when he and the Ravens sit down, all he'll have to do is show off his Super Bowl MVP trophy.
"It's cool," Flacco said after Baltimore's 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. "We just won a Super Bowl. That's the last thing I'm concerned about. But (owner Steve Bisciotti) did let me know that if that day came, I could go beat on his desk and really put it to him.
"So that's exactly what I'm going to do."
Flacco capped a perfect postseason, throwing three touchdown passes in the first half to stake the Ravens to a lead they would never relinquish. When the 49ers made a furious comeback after a power outage interrupted the third quarter for 34 minutes, Flacco was cool and controlled.
Let the Niners make their run, he almost seem to say, we'll hold our own.
"You've seen these guys do it," Flacco said. "They have the ability to score and to score quickly, and that's what they did."
But the Ravens defense made a spectacular stand late in the fourth quarter, stopping San Francisco not once, not twice, but three times on the Baltimore 5. A safety gave San Francisco one last chance, but the Ravens went hard after Colin Kaepernick again, and his last-gasp pass was way off the mark.
Flacco finished 22-of-33 for 287 yards. He didn't throw an interception — didn't throw one the entire postseason, to be precise. His 11 touchdowns in the postseason matched a record set by Joe Montana.
"That's pretty cool," Flacco said. "Joe Montana is my favorite quarterback so it's pretty cool."
So is being the Super Bowl MVP.
Truth is, the trophy could have gone to a number of the Ravens. But Flacco is happy to have it.
"They have to give it to one guy," Flacco said, laughing. "I'm not going to complain that I got it."
BALTIMORE PARADE TUESDAY
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tells local TV station WBAL-TV that the city will hold a parade Tuesday to honor the NFL champion Ravens.
Rawlings-Blake said Sunday night in a live interview from New Orleans that the parade will start at City Hall and end at the Ravens' stadium.
Right now, she's celebrating — dancing and singing alongside fans.
"The Baltimore Ravens once again demonstrated strength, poise, and perseverance as they prevailed in Super Bowl XLVII," she said in a statement.
PANETTA AND HOLDER
Recently seen leaving the Super Bowl: outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Attorney General Eric Holder.
When asked who he was rooting for, Panetta gave an angst smile and said: "The 49ers."
San Francisco lost to Baltimore, 34-31.
SUPERDOME STAFF APOLOGIZES
Superdome spokesman Eric Eagan is apologizing for the power outage that disrupted the Super Bowl.
He says technical staff were working more than an hour after the outage to determine what caused it, but still didn't know.
"We sincerely apologize for the incident," Eagan said.
The outage was a big glitch for New Orleans in its first Super Bowl since the city has rebuilt from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The 38-year-old Superdome has undergone $336 million in renovations since Katrina ripped its roof in 2005. Billions have been spent sprucing up downtown, the airport, French Quarter and other areas of the city in the past seven years.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the power outage unfortunate in an otherwise smooth week.
"In the coming days, I expect a full after action report from all parties involved. For us, the Super Bowl isn't over until the last visitor leaves town, so we're focused on continuing to show our visitors a good time," Landrieu said.
New Orleans is trying to get back to being a regular stop in the Super Bowl rotation, and has announced it will bid on the 2018 game.
That would coincide with the 300th anniversary of the city's founding.
QUICKQUOTE: JIM HARBAUGH
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is taking his team's 34-31 Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens hard.
He raised several questions about calls and non-calls made by the officials, but said "We want to handle this with class and grace.
"Had several opportunities in the game. Didn't play our best game. Ravens made a lot of plays," he said. "Our guys battled back to get back in it. We competed and battled to win."
LEWIS CAPS CAREER
Ray Lewis has capped his career as a champion, leaning on teammates in the Super Bowl to but a lovely bow on his 17th NFL season.
As he clutched the Lombardi Trophy, Lewis said: "It's simple: When God is for you, who can be against you?"
"It's no greater way, as a champ, to go out on your last ride with the men that I went out with, with my teammates. And you looked around this stadium and ... Baltimore! Baltimore! We coming home, baby! We did it!" he said.
Lewis, 37, had only two solo tackles through the first three quarters and struggled covering receivers. But he made two tackles during San Francisco's final drive, and pressured Kaepernick on a blitz on the 49ers' final offensive play.
PARTY STARTS IN CHARM CITY
The Super Bowl party has begun in the streets of Baltimore, with fans hugging and cheering to celebrate the Ravens' 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
They're wearing purple-feathered boas and team jerseys, and celebrating a win for team leader Ray Lewis, the linebacker who's the only player who started with the team when it came to Baltimore in 1996.
Darren Love, 40, says the celebration is "90 percent for Ray, 10 percent for the city of Baltimore."
The brothers' greeting wasn't emotional, and wasn't long. Just a handshake and quick hug.
"He said, 'Congratulations,'" Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
The exchange lasted less than 5 seconds, well under the line set by many offshore casinos taking action on the embrace, according to gambling expert R.J. Bell of Pregame.com.
Sports books — though not those in Las Vegas, which don't allow these kinds of prop bets — originally pegged the greeting at 7½ seconds but the line was bet down to 5½ seconds.
QUICKQUOTE: ROGER GOODELL
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had the title trophy in his hands, and immediately congratulated Baltimore's supporters on the Ravens' Super Bowl win over San Francisco.
"OK, Baltimore fans, this is what you're waiting for. Five straight playoffs appearances and now you've reached the mountaintop," Goodell said.
IT'S OVER! RAVENS WIN 34-31
The Harbaughs need to host the Super Bowl every year.
John Harbaugh has bragging rights on little brother Jim after his Baltimore Ravens withstood a furious second-half comeback by the San Francisco 49ers in what has to be the wackiest Super Bowl ever. Trailing 28-6 when a power outage interrupted the second half for 34 minutes, the Niners reeled off 23 points in 12 minutes and 20 seconds to make a game of it.
But with the ball on the Baltimore 5 and a chance for the Niners to take their first lead of the night, the Baltimore defense got downright nasty. They blitzed Colin Kaepernick on fourth down, forcing him to throw a bad pass.
A Baltimore safety gave San Francisco one last chance. But Colin Kaepernick's last-gasp pass sailed way over the head of any receiver, and the Ravens rushed the field as confetti began falling from the Superdome ceiling.
John Harbaugh pushed a photographer out of the way to get to his brother, and the two exchanged a quick hug before Jim Harbaugh headed off the field.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.