We got what we wanted, right? Unless you are a tried-and-true 49ers fan (sorry Uch and Gene and Double-D) or a big-time Ravens backer, the goal was a good game; to answer affirmatively to Maximus' rhetorical "Are you not entertained?" after the Super Bowl.
Mission accomplished, despite the half-hour blackout that likely aided the 5-at-10 more than any household in the country. (When you try to watch a night-time event on TV with kids 5 and 2, you're almost always pausing and recording different parts of the show for bed time, stories, milk, what have you. The 34-minute delay because of power issues allowed the 5-at-10 to catch up.)
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's be Super...
So Ray Lewis leaves on the wings of a championship. Depending on your view, Lewis is either the game's best middle linebacker or biggest all-time criminal.
But this morning, because of the finish to what will be a Hall of Fame career, Lewis leaves at the pinnacle of the sport. His Baltimore defense stoned San Francisco on four tries from the 10 in the final minutes of a 34-31 win in Super Bowl XLVII.
In the first meeting of head coaching brothers in Super Bowl history, older brother Jim Harbaugh pantsed baby bro Jim. It was so one-sided that we A) can no longer refer to Jim Harbaugh as the best coach in football if he's not the best coach in his own family and B) were waiting for Daddy Harbaugh to get on the radio and pull a Mr. C or Mike Brady or Ward Clever move and whisper into John's headset, "Go easy on your little brother son, you're the oldest." The Ravens were more prepared from the start, and Jim melted down in the end, blowing an O-ring after a fourth-down pass with plenty of contact fell incomplete. (Quick side note: Yes, there was contact on that play, but the game was infinitely more watchable because the referees let the receivers and the defensive backs play all game long. It was physical, but it was also fair.)
Jim called out the referees in his postgame news conference, a move that will likely draw a fine from the league. To be fair the league should allow the official in question to give a news conference and question Jim's decision to throw four passes from the 5 with one of the game's best running QBs in Colin "Humpty" Kaepernick against an exhausted defense that was without their best defensive lineman. Maybe there was pass interference on that final 49ers' play, but it was not as flagrant or as damaging as Jimmy Harbaugh's pass insistence in the end.
So what do we know?
• We know that Ray Lewis leaves the game for whatever TV studio show he pleases pulling one of the great walk-offs in sports history: Entire career with one organization, overcoming injury to return for a special postseason run that ended in the confetti in New Orleans.
• We know that lil' Jimmy Harbaugh got spanked by his big brother.
• We know that Joe Flacco completed the best four-game stretch in modern NFL history. Dude whipped The Future (Andrew Luck), The Savant (Peyton Manning), The Greatest (Tom Brady) and The Hybrid (Colin Kaepernick) to lead his team to the Super Bowl, he was MVP of the title game and he's a free agent to be.
• We know that these two teams, minus major injury, are going to be in the mix again next year. Kudos to those front offices for putting together complete rosters that have threats all over the field. (Tip of the 5-at-10 Tam O'Shanter to Jacoby Jones, who would have gotten our MVP vote.)
• We know that football games are now on hold for seven months. This Super Bowl set another ratings record with 114.1 million viewers (of the TVs in America that were on, 71 percent were tuned to the Super Bowl). Thanks for another great season.
Super This and That
— Maybe it was the lip-synching controversy, but Ms. Beyonce hit the halftime stage with an attitude that was circa Ray Lewis 2000 and Mike Tyson 1988. "Why's she so angry?" the Mrs. 5-at-10 asked, and it was what everyone was thinking. (Well, that and where's the stripper's pole? Wow, you were kinda waiting for the folks on the front-row to hit Beyonce with some singles, huh?). In her mad attempt to prove to everyone she was singing, she only did a fraction of the verses in between some great dancing. She's got mad skills, there's no doubt, and it's next to impossible to put together a concert in a 20-minute halftime. But wow, she was motivated and torqued.
— As disjointed as the halftime show seemed at times, the pregame was the opposite. We give Alicia Keys an "OK" (girl can flat sing and playing the piano was a brave move, but memo to artists everywhere — our national anthem is a great song, please refrain from adding words and verses and crazy riffs and interpretations). That said, if the Sandy Hook elementary chorus and Jennifer Hudson singing America the Beautiful didn't make you tear up, well, sorry about you losing your soul. It got seriously dusty in the 5-at-10 compound for sure.
— On San Francisco's final drive with less than three minutes to go and trailing 34-29 inside the Ravens' 10, LSU coach Les Miles took to the Twitter with this gem: @LSUCoachMiles: Could be 4 down territory! You think so, Doctor? Who's writing The Hat's social media script, Phil Simms?
— Speaking of Phil Simms, there needs to be an intervention. That guy is take-away-from-the-show bad and considering the audience for the commercials, he may have forced a large number of folks to mute the broadcast and turn the volume up during the commercials. How is that even possible? If he said "First down is the best down to throw" once he said it a half dozen times, and it's not like it's on the "Four score and seven years ago" level of profound or clever. Put it this way, if a baseball announcer kept saying over and over again, it's important to throw strikes, well, you'd have Tim McCarver. And kids, the goal should never be to announce like Tim McCarver. This is the single biggest sporting event in the country, and Phil Simms is the best we got? That's hard to believe.
— The amount of megabucks spent on Super Bowl commercials is mind-boggling. It's $3.8 million for 30 seconds, or more than the career total of the average working American's professional wages for half a minute. Read that again. No commercial is worth that. Sorry. Here are the five ads we liked best: Dodge's "So God made a farmer" (and yes kids, that was the old-school genius of the one and only Paul Harvey); Bud Light's "Lucky chair;" Budweiser's "Brotherhood" about the guy and his Clydesdale; Doritos' "Goat4Sale;" and the Jeep's military commercial. While we almost included the Oreo's "Whsiper fight" we'd be remiss not to mention the fact that Oreo flooded Twitter with this photo https://twitter.com/Oreo/status/298246571718483968/photo/1 during the blackout. That's quick thinking.
— Here's hoping that Joe Flacco doesn't get too much grief for dropping the F-bomb in a postgame celebration that was caught on camera. Seriously, the guy was on the field, in the moment after winning the Super Bowl. Let's move along.
— As for the 5-at-10's Super Bowl picks, well, here's hoping you shared in the good entertainment. We had the Ravens plus 3.5 (winner), over the 47.5 (winner), over the 154.5 rushing yards for the 49ers (winner), under the 7 seconds for the postgame Harbaugh embrace (winner) and under the 2:15 on the Key's national anthem (loser, although we're not sure whether her 150-second rendition included the extra verse she added or not). In the other props, we hit on Beyonce showing cleavage, the Harbaughs both wearing hats, the longest scoring play being more than 45.5 yards and the first score coming inside the first 7:30 of the first quarter. We had long-shot picks on Ray Lewis or Vernon Davis as the MVPs. All told we went 8-1 on straight bets Sunday and missed the pool play on the MVP (so 8-2) to finish the NFL postseason 18-8. Good times indeed, and hopefully you were properly entertained.
Our SEC ace David Paschall had a story in Sunday's paper about the crazy recruiting battles in recent years. Who knew this weekend would add another contender?
Reuben Foster, one of the top linebackers in the country, had been a longtime Auburn commit before decommiting after the coaching staff was dismissed. The new staff had reconnected with Foster and he was part of a star-studded cast at Auburn this weekend.
Something happened during the trip, however, and Foster and the massive AU tattoo on his right forearm spent Saturday night visiting Tuscaloosa and will pick later today between Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. Head-scratchingly crazy, huh?
When news of this broke, it was melting the interwebs across the South.
It wasn't all bad news for the Tigers, though, since five-star defensive end Carl Lawson re-affirmed his commitment to Auburn, as Paschall tells us here.
Tennessee had made late strides with Lawson, but the good work by Butch Jones and his staff was too late on Lawson, who had been committed to Auburn for almost a year.
Let the circus begin — and let it end quickly.
This and that
— Tip of the visor to Phil Mickelson for his dominant showing at the Phoenix Open. Dude opened with a 60 and finished at 28 under to win the $1.116 million that came with first. (Hey, two more checks like that and Mickelson would be really close to having the cabbage to buy a 30-second Super Bowl commercial.) He was so money that Brandt Snedeker shot 24 under for the tournament and he felt like he was a lap down. It's a good thing for golf fans that in the last two weeks, the game's two biggest American stars have shined brightly.
— Speaking of golf, the local ties were binding in Phoenix. Former Baylor school golfer Luke List missed the cut; Harris English stalled on the weekend, finishing in the back of pack at 7 under (he won $13,764) after a strong 67-67 start to the tournament; and the brothers Henley, our Chattanooga caddie duo, stole the NBC spotlight Saturday with their memorable race to the green at the crowd-pleaseing par-3 16th. Here's the video.
— Crazy weekend of college hoops. The Vols now will have to win the SEC tournament to get to the NCAA. Indiana and Michigan did work in a late Saturday night game that was fun and entertaining (remember when college hoops was consistently fun and entertaining... alas).
— The odds are out for the 2014 Super Bowl. The favorites are New England (7-to-1), San Fran (8-to-1), Denver (8-to-1) and Green Bay (10-to-1). The Falcons, Saints and Steelers are ranked as the eighth-most likely winners at (18-to-1). The Titans, well there are three teams listed at 100-to-1 — the Titans, Cardinals and Bills. The Raiders and Jacksonville are the longest shots at 150-to-1.
It's a free for all Monday as always, and feel free to dish on all-things Super Bowl. (Side note: Leon Sandcastle was a good commercial too.)
But if you need a talking point, the NFL announced its season awards Saturday and its new Hall of Fame class. Do you agree with the choices?
Here are the results:
Offensive rookie of the year: RGIII, Washington
Defensive rookie of the year: Luke Kuechly, Carolina
Comeback player of the year: Peyton Manning, Denver
Defensive player of the year: J.J. Watt, Houston
Offensive player and MVP: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
Coach of the year: Bruce Arians, interim coach of Indy
The 2013 Hall of Fame class is Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp, Bill Parcells and Chris Carter (along with old-timers Curly Culp and Dave Robinson). That left Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley and Michael Strahan on the outside looking in.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...