Keeping Score

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AJ Neuharth-Keusch

aneuharthkeus@radford.edu

Every year the Superbowl is full of surprises. However, a power outage was no problem for the Baltimore Ravens and Ray Lewis.

      In what was known as the “Harbaugh Bowl”, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens John Harbuagh faced off against his brother and head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Jim Harbaugh, on the biggest stage in all of sports on Sunday for Super Bowl XLVII.

As should be expected after a close-finishing sporting event with the amount of hype and media attention it received prior to kickoff, controversy is sweeping the nation surrounding the Super Bowl.

The Ravens came out of the starting gates blazing.

After holding the 49ers for negative two yards on three plays in their first possession, the Ravens quickly marched down the field, scoring the first touchdown of the game.

The Ravens continued to outplay their opponent, as they went into halftime with a comfortable lead of 21-6.

On the opening kickoff after Beyoncé’s captivating halftime performance, Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones returned the kick 108 yards for a touchdown.

As the 49ers fell behind 28-6 and the wind appeared to be quickly and surely drifting out of their sails, the lights in the Superdome suddenly went out.

In a statement Sunday night, Entergy and SMG (Superdome Management Company) said that they will, “continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality.”

After 34 minutes of delay due to the technical difficulties, the lights were finally cast down on the 49ers, metaphorically and literally.

They came back from the delay as hot as the Ravens started the game.

The 49ers scored on all four of their ensuing drives, while their defense refused to let Joe Flacco and the Ravens in the end zone.

The score was 29-34 as the 49ers came onto the field for the final drive.

They were unable to score on their first three downs in the red zone.

On fourth and goal from the five-yard line, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw the ball to the back corner of the end zone on a fade route to receiver Michael Crabtree.

Crabtree was blatantly held by cornerback Jimmy Smith, but the closest official failed to throw a flag.

The ball fell incomplete, giving the Ravens the posession with 1:46 on the clock and a five-point lead.

The 49ers had one last chance with four seconds left in the game, but didn’t score.

Confetti fell, players celebrated, the game was over.

The controversy: with so much momentum going for the Ravens, the mysterious power outage definitely had a negative effect on their momentum.

It was clear that the 49ers benefited tremendously from the outage.

If the power never went out, it’s doubtful that the 49ers would have had one of the best comebacks in Super Bowl history. It was exactly what they needed to get their engine running.

After such a phenomenal comeback, the non-holding call by the officiating crew is the main reason that San Francisco lost the game.

A defender can make contact with a receiver for the first five yards of their route. After five yards, the contact is classified as pass interference or defensive holding.

It was clear that Smith affected Crabtree’s route seven yards past the line of scrimmage.

A flag should have been thrown and the 49ers should have had the ball, first and goal at the two yard line with 1:46 remaining.

Although San Francisco should have scored in four tries from the seven-yard line and were plagued by mediocre play calling, the rules are rules and they should have been given four more downs to score.

No referee wants to be known as the reason for a team to lose the Super Bowl, which is probably why a flag wasn’t thrown. In his mind, doing nothing must have seemed less controversial than doing his job properly.

The game was mostly clean up to that point and a flag at such an important moment would have definitely caused much controversy. However, in this case, not throwing a flag was the wrong decision.

The officiating crew beat the 49ers just as much as the Ravens did.

But in the end, what’s done is done. The Ravens hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the second time since the turn of the century and Ray Lewis ended his career on the highest note possible.

John proved that he’s the better Harbaugh and Flacco established himself as an elite quarterback.

I hope the Ravens have fun at Disney World, while the 49ers sit at home and think, “what could have been,” in the tale of two halves.