When you don’t care much about the Super Bowl turns out – and a lot of folks in the Carolinas I’ve talked to in the past two weeks really didn’t – about all you can ask for is a game like the one we just saw, which ended with Baltimore edging San Francisco, 34-31, and older brother John Harbaugh edging younger brother Jim.
The game wasn’t decided until 49ers kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. was tackled on the final play, returning a free kick to about midfield as the clock ran out after the Ravens had taken an intentional safety.
What a terrific Super Bowl this was. Outside of that annoying half-hour stadium power outage in New Orleans, it was great theater. There were no lead changes, but San Francisco nearly came all the way back from a 22-point deficit (at 28-6 early in the third quarter). Both quarterbacks were fantastic. It made you realize once again why the NFL, despite its various problems, is America’s No.1 spectator sport.
Five quick points I’d like to make fresh off of turning off the remote control:
1) On that fourth-and-goal play on San Francisco’s last drive, that was defensive holding, even though it wasn’t called. A frantic Jim Harbaugh was right. The hold on San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree occurred outside the legal five yards. But a lot of times NFL officials let that much contact go at the end of a game.
2) CBS announcer Jim Nantz was right on top of it in the final seconds, correctly bringing up the intentional-safety scenario. His partner Phil Simms? Not so much. First, on the 49ers’ fourth-and-goal play, Simms said it was a good “no-call,” then saw more replays and said he was “confused.” Then he said the Ravens shouldn’t take a safety once they got the ball back and were trying to run out the clock inside their own 10, even though it clearly was the right call given the field position.
3) I thought the Super Bowl commercials were down a notch overall from some of the past years. Didn’t you think so? The one with Deion Sanders "re-entering" the NFL I liked, and the one about farmers, too, but I can’t remember what either one advertised.
4) It is indeed time for Ray Lewis to retire. After all the hype, he looked old and slow to me. I know he’s the Ravens’ emotional leader and all of that, but he wasn’t nearly as big a factor in this game as, say, Jacoby Jones. But you do have to hand it to the Ravens -- I am still stunned they stopped San Francisco on that final drive on four plays inside the 10, even with the questionable no-call.
5) I once watched in person as Appalachian State creamed Delaware, 49-21, for one of its FCS national championships. QB battle that night? Armanti Edwards vs. Joe Flacco (Sunday's Super Bowl MVP). The clear winner that night? Edwards. A long, long time ago it was, children, way back in the ancient days of December 2007.
Frank Alexander among Panthers' inactives
4 hours ago