In their final installment of the season, the guys break down Super Bowl
XLVII, the bizarre power outage, Joe Flacco's next contract and Jim
Harbaugh's beef with the officials.
The Baltimore Ravens captured Super Bowl XLVII with a thrilling victory over the 49ers. How impressed were you by this win?
Joe Flacco was a given, but if the defence doesn't come up big at certain points in the game we're not discussing his amazing playoff performance today. What this defence has done this post-season against top-flight offences has been remarkable. You look at the Super Bowl
and it limited San Francisco to field goals on three of its trips inside the red zone. Of course, the stand that will define this game was the Ravens denying the 49ers the go-head touchdown with under two minutes to go, when San Francisco had four chances from the seven-yard line.
A few things stood out on Sunday (besides Beyonce's thighs
). Joe Flacco's ability to avoid the 49ers' pass rush to complete deep passes was very impressive, especially considering his reputation as a drop-back thrower, not a runner. I also liked John Harbaugh's decision to intentionally allow a safety near the end of the game (more on that later). I didn't like CBS's coverage. Phil Simms seemed confused a lot, particularly on the aforementioned safety call, and the power outage resulted in more Shannon Sharpe than anyone should ever be exposed to.
Jason Davidson: Pretty impressed. More impressed, though, with how they got there considering the wins along the way, especially in Denver and New England. I admittedly did not give them much of a chance after they clinched the AFC North, given the many injury concerns. But it didn't matter in the end. They jumped out to an early lead and just barely held the fort in New Orleans. Joe Flacco was great but so was Jacoby Jones, who could have been Super Bowl MVP with his two touchdowns, both of which were pretty spectacular. A 108-yard record-setting kick return for a TD? Incredible stuff.
Joe Flacco was named MVP for his performance. What kind of contract can he expect now that he's finally won the big one?
Tony Care: Flacco wants Peyton Manning money, which is $20 million US a season. Funny, had Broncos safety Rahim Moore ran the correct line toward Jacoby Jones three weeks ago, we wouldn't be throwing around that kind of figure. But Flacco had one of the great playoff performances -- 11 TDs, 0 INTs -- that led to his MVP honour. Make no mistake: Flacco isn't going anywhere. If for some ridiculous reason contract talks stall with the Ravens, the team will franchise its pivot at a one-year exclusive-rights tag of $20.464 million. Either way, Flacco is going to get paid. In my humble opinion, he will get at least a five-year, $100-million deal.
It's all about timing, and Joe Flacco's timing for producing the best run of his career
could not have been better. I still don't think Flacco is on par with the Big 4 of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, but he's going to get paid like them. Before this season, Brees signed a five-year, $100-million contract with New Orleans, and Manning got five years, $96 million from Denver. Brady is still playing through a four-year, $72-million deal, while Rodgers is "underpaid" in the six-year, $65-million contract he signed in 2008, before he became the superstar he is today. Using the Brees and Peyton Manning deals as markers -- if only because they're the most recent -- and given his relatively young age (he just turned 28) you've got to figure Flacco commands a five- or six-year deal that pays him, on average, in the neighbourhood of $18-20 million per year. If the Ravens don't give it to him, eventually someone will.
Jason Davidson: The big money is on its way to Flacco. He can put himself in the elite category now and it's not just because of his Super Bowl performance, it's his play throughout these entire playoffs. Eleven TD passes, zero interceptions, and he only got sacked six times. It took Flacco five seasons to earn respect as a legit pivot in this league, but now he has just that. He'll get locked in for 5-6 years at least now, although I'm not going to guess on the financial terms.
The Ravens had a 28-6 lead after Jacoby Jones's record 108-yard kickoff return for a TD to start the second half. Then the 34-minute power outage began shortly after that and the 49ers stormed back to nearly pull out an improbable win. What happened to the Ravens?
I think the argument that the Ravens suffered a letdown is overblown
. Now, what the delay did do was calm the 49ers down, allow all the players to collect themselves and play loose, even with a 22-point deficit. That mentality paid immediate dividends as the 49ers drove 80 yards on their second possession of the third quarter to score a touchdown. The defence also tightened up in the second half. Like the NFC title game, the 49ers didn't allow a touchdown in the second half after getting scorched by Flacco and the Ravens' receivers in the first 30 minutes.
Jesse Campigotto: It's fun to blame the power outage for "taking the momentum away" from Baltimore and swinging it towards the 49ers (if you believe in momentum) but San Francisco was likely to narrow its deficit anyway over the course of the second half. These were two pretty evenly matched teams (and actually San Francisco was a four-point favourite), so the longer the game went on the better chance the Niners would balance the score out. I really think that's the simplest, and best, explanation.
Jason Davidson: Their near-collapse started with Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, the more mild-mannered of the two brothers, berating an off-field official during the stoppage. As it turns out, he was incensed at the suggestion that he may have to continue the game momentarily without his headset. Not a good thing when your coordinators are upstairs. The Ravens were caught off guard as it hurt their momentum, whereas the 49ers clearly got a spark from the delay as it gave them another chance to regroup, seeing as how the extended halftime did not help them at all.
On San Francisco's final offensive play, Colin Kaepernick attempted a fade pass to receiver Michael Crabtree that fell incomplete. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was irate that a holding penalty wasn't called on Ravens CB Jimmy Smith. Does Harbaugh have a legitimate beef?
Tony Care: I understand Harbaugh's frustration but he got a similar non-call against the Falcons that allowed his team to reach Super Bowl XLVII. Having said that, I believe there was holding on that play and it drives me nuts when refs don't want to "affect" the outcome of the game by throwing a flag that may have repercussions. Well guess what? You are "affecting" the game the other way by not throwing the flag. Remember, two teams are on the field. Still, I question the play-calling on the four downs. Running back Frank Gore, who rushed for 110 yards and a TD, got the Niners down to the seven but didn't touch the ball again. Baffling!
Jesse Campigotto: Harbaugh probably had a point, but it became clear early in this game that the officials were taking the old NHL Game 7 approach and "letting 'em play." A lot of penalties that could have been called were not. Let's talk about some different holds: the obvious ones that members of the Ravens' line committed on the intentional-safety play near the end of the game. Nothing was called, but it seemed like the Baltimore players were instructed to hold, and why not? There's no downside. If you're called for offensive holding when your team has the ball in its own end zone, an automatic safety is awarded, which is what the Ravens wanted anyway. The key for Baltimore here is that, holding call or not, precious seconds come off the clock. The NFL needs to adjust the rule to allow for the defensive team (in this case San Francisco) to get the wasted time put back on if it desires.
Jason Davidson: Really hard to say because I'm not even sure if Crabtree is able to make that catch without the hold. Kaepernick had a couple of tries to run it in or hand off to Frank Gore, but instead he opted to pass the ball on second and third down. I know they needed the touchdown, but with the ball on the seven-yard line you can take another shot at running it in. Officiating will always come under added scrutiny in big games and there will always be missed calls, especially when they are borderline. The younger Harbaugh has an argument but not a big enough one to say his team was ripped off.
Back to accessibility links