1 Thing We Learned from Superbowl XLVII | February 7, 2013
This is a tough task! How to pick out the key moments from one of the most epic and memorable games in NFL history. There seemed to be a standout incident during every drive, unexpected plays, moments of controversy and even a 30 minute interlude in which nothing whatsoever happened. So, instead of trying to over analyse events, I think it would be appropriate to simply say that we learned that..
1.The NFL is Brilliant!
Yup, you can go round in circles talking about the x’s and o’s of certain plays and whether or not the refs made the right calls, but at the end of the day this is the NFL’s biggest showcase and last night it showcased a thrilling, unpredictable sport that is loved by hoards of people over the world. Hopefully, it will have encouraged a lot of people in the UK to give the sport another try and join the ever growing masses of British fans.
However, before I get all positive and glowing, there were a couple of big negatives on Sunday night. Firstly, there was the power failure. Yes, it was a talking point and yes, it was something that made the game memorable. But let’s face it, it made New Orleans look a bit shambolic, stalled the momentum of the game and at 2am in the morning made for a pretty dull half hour. Secondly, there was Cary Williams blatantly shoving the a referee during a mass bout of handbags. It was as clear an ejection offence as you’ll see, it should also have got him a ban for a few games next season and a large fine. Instead it didn’t even merit a flag and Williams played the rest of the game. It was a shocking error form Steve Stelljes and one that could have had a massive impact on the game. Ejections simply don’t happen in the Superbowl, but to allow a player to get away with shoving an official is terrible refereeing in any game.
Luckily, pretty much every other aspect of the Superbowl was wonderful. For a start we had a fairy tale of a build up. The media always find angles to hype the big game, but this time Ray Lewis, Colin Kaepernick and the Harbaugh’s made it an easy task.
As for the game itself? Both offences showcased an impressive array of plays. WE had 2 contrasting but brilliant quarterback displays. The poise and accuracy of Joe Flacco (who’d have thought I’d be saying that a few weeks ago!) compared to the power and pace of Kaepernick. I’ve watched Kaepernick plenty of times this season, but his rocket arm still amazes me. It’s a credit to Vernon Davis and the Niners receivers that they manage to hold on to the ball as it bullets at them. Kaepernick had a few jittery moments in the First Half, but was outstanding in the Second. He even produced a trademark touchdown run on a read option – something that’s going to be a familiar sight in the NFL for years to come.
As for Flacco, this was a performance befitting a Super Bowl victor. He lead numerous long drives, made some key short throws and also showcased his outstanding deep ball. It helped that Anquan Boldin was providing him with a perfect go to target. Boldin has been outstanding throughout the Play Off run and his ability to catch balls whilst under pressure is ideal for tough third down scenarios. However, the outstanding plays of the game went to Jacoby Jones. His deep, diving catch and subsequent get up and run to the end zone was impressive enough, but he managed to gazump it at the start of the second half by taking the kick off 108 yards for a Touchdown.
On defence, Ray Lewis looked like a player who was retiring at the right time as he struggled to keep pass with Vernon Davis and co. Ed Reed struck a blow for the veterans with a vital pick and Jimmy Smith made the biggest defensive plays of the day by covering Michael Crabtree on the Niners last ditch red zone drive. Sadly for San Francisco, their Smiths were largely anonymous and corner back Chris Culliver had a shocker and was continually targeted by Flacco.
Another aspect of the Super Bowl that made it so memorable was the element of surprise. The Ravens fake field goal was a highly ambitious play, Justin Tucker did his best but was one block short of converting the play. Still 8 yards rushing is pretty good for a kicker in a Superbowl! Sam Koch didn’t have a great day punting, but he made a TD saving tackle on Ted Ginn and showed remarkable composure whilst wasting 8 of the final 12 seconds by dancing around the EndZone before running out for a safety.
You see, must Super Bowls have 1 or sometimes 2 iconic moments, this game had about ten. Jones’s TDs, the black out, the Niners 3rd Quarter comeback, Koch’s safety, the Raven’s goal line stand. They were all moments that will be remembered for years to come. More importantly, they were all moments (apart from the Blackout!) that will have helped draw in new fans. Let’s hope they all tune in for Week 1 in September!