Lights out, a compelling Super Bowl
Some notes and observations from Super Bowl XLVII:
n In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say I turned on "Downton Abbey" at 9 p.m. when the score was 28-6 in favor of Baltimore and the lights had gone out.
As a sports columnist, I probably deserved to be hit on the head with a wet noodle for switching off the Super Bowl, but it didn't seem like much of a contest at that point. However, I was following the game on Twitter, so while Lord and Lady Grantham were dealing with the tragic aftermath of Sybil's death, I knew the momentum in the Superdome had seriously turned.
There were times I was tempted to change the channel back to CBS before 10 p.m., but I knew I'd be able to watch the entire fourth quarter, when the game would ultimately be decided.
n Actually, it was really decided in the first half, when mistakes by San Francisco and great execution by the Ravens left the 49ers in a 21-6 hole. I know San Francisco came from behind to beat Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game, but there's a reason no one has ever overcome more than a 10-point deficit in the Super Bowl.
When you get that far, the teams are just too good. They're not going to fall apart and blow a huge lead.
Yes, the Ravens almost blew a 22-point lead, but the point is, they didn't.
And that's all that matters.
n There were a lot of turning points, although I'd have to pick LaMichael James' first-half fumble as the biggest.
The 49ers' backup tailback coughed up the ball as his team was driving -- on one of those plays where struggling for extra yards ends up being costly -- resulting in potentially a 14-point swing.
n Amazing statistic of the game: Colin Kaepernick's interception was the first pick ever thrown in the Super Bowl by a 49ers quarterback.
I knew Joe Montana and Steve Young were superb signal-callers, but really -- not even one interception thrown in four previous title games? That almost defies belief.
n Best commercial: the Tide ad where the fan spills ketchup on his 49ers jersey, with the resulting stain shaped like Joe Montana's head. His wife, a Baltimore fan, washes the now-famous jersey with Tide, saying, "Go Ravens!" into the camera.
n My favorite play was probably Jacoby Jones' long touchdown catch, when he got behind the defense (what was up with the 49ers' D, anyway?), fell to the ground after making the grab, realized he was untouched, and ran across the field toward the end zone, escaping the clutches of San Francisco defenders.
You could make a really good case that Jones was Super Bowl MVP, considering he also scored on a 108-yard highlight-reel kickoff return.
And that's not to belittle Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who was pretty much flawless. It's just that Jones' two touchdowns were flat-out amazing plays.
n I know there was a lot of grousing about the noninterference call on fourth-and-goal at the end of the game, and it did look like the Niners' Michael Crabtree was held.
So I can see why a San Francisco fan would be pretty steamed.
However, the 49ers were the beneficiary of a gift call after a controversial running-into-the-kicker penalty allowed San Francisco to rekick. David Akers had missed the first field goal, and the second one was good, giving the Niners three points they would otherwise not have had.
My point? Fans for both clubs had reason to complain, which means the officiating -- if nothing else -- was reasonably fair.
Paula Wolf is a staff writer for the Sunday News. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She also blogs about sports at lancasteronline.com/blogs/wheelchairqb.