Sports Opinion & Analysis

A Legitimate Win: Super Bowl XLVII Reaction

In NFL on February 4, 2013 at 9:47 am

By Jonathan Danielson

Every time I read any given sports article, I like to scroll to the bottom of the page and read the comments posted by readers. I like to try to get a sense for what the fan community (or at least the vocal minority who post comments on articles, fan boards, or have their own blogs, errr…) is saying about the game.

And today, not surprisingly, I’m reading a lot of angry 49er fans vent their frustration. And that’s fine, of course. It’s to be expected of any fan base whose team loses the Super Bowl.

49er fans think Joe Flacco is a big, fat, stupidhead.

Apparently, Joe Flacco is stupid doody head.

But the persistent theme consistent throughout all the frustration is how the referees allegedly “stole the game” from the Niners. How it’s all the refs fault the Niners finally lost their first Super Bowl. How, like Montana’s 1981 pass to Dwight Clark is famously referred to as “The Catch, the last offensive play for the Niners should equally be referred to as “The Hold.”

So will this then be referred to as "The Muff?"

So would this be referred to as “The Muff?”

Quite frankly, the no call on the last play was the best call the referees could make. It will not go down as an infamous tarnish on officiating. It was nothing more than a missed opportunity, and that’s all it was. On that play, Niner receiver Michael Crabtree initiated contact and pushed off the defender before any holding occurred, and in a Wham-Bam play like that at the end of a game, let alone the Super Bowl, no flag is ever going to get thrown. It just ain’t. The refs were letting the players play.

If anything, the refs actually favored the 49ers with their no-calls. On the previous Ravens possession, when Joe Flacco was ruthlessly hit after throwing the ball, no flag was thrown for roughing the passer. If there was, there would have been a whole new set of downs for the Ravens to work with in the red zone, and if they could’ve punched it in for a touchdown, there would have never been an opportunity for the Niners to even attempt a plausible comeback. Again, when push came to shove, the refs let the players play.

The Super Dome took a different approach though.

The Super Dome, on the other hand, took a different approach.

“The Hold” wasn’t a hold at all, and the Ravens were just the better team. They had the better coach (that safety at the end was genius), quarterback, receivers, defense, and special teams (did I mention that safety at the end?). While Kaepernick had huge numbers by the end of the night, it wasn’t until the lights went out he actually earned most of them. Before that, he was a non-factor and his inexperience seemed to be haunting the offense. Prior to the power surge (both figuratively and actually), he looked like a shaken Private in the Army, seeing war for the first time, while Flacco looked like the hardened General who has seen his share before.

Flacco talking to his teammates about their game plan during the power outage.

Flacco talking to his teammates about their game plan during the power outage.

In the end, the Ravens receivers made the big catches, while balls just bounced off Crabtree and Randy Moss’s hands. While the Ravens defense gave up 22 points in the second half, it didn’t matter, because that final goal line stand made them the superior squad. With the way they were playing before the outage, it looked like the Ravens were going to run away with the thing even more than they already were, and it looked like the 49ers were simply outmatched at every position. The game was totally lopsided, but fortunately for San Francisco, when the lights went out it gave them a chance to calm down, and get some balance back. It made the last 20 minutes of the game one the more exciting Super Bowls ever. One in which nobody stole anything from anybody.

And now, after saying he was an elite quarterback and nobody believed him, Joe Flacco’s finally getting his well deserved trip to Disney World. Ray Lewis is leaving the game as a two-time champion. Anquan Boldin got the ring he missed out on in 2008, and Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs finally have some jewelry to wear, after missing out on the first Ravens Super Bowl because they were drafted just a few short years too late. A fitting end for an older team on its last legs.


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