Sunday night's Super Bowl XLVII was one late 49ers score away from being one of the best Super Bowls ever. But it's a runaway winner for weirdest. Between power outages, unlikely rallies, boneheaded mistakes, and down-to-the-wire thrills, this was everything you could ask for from a Super Bowl. Here, we run through the 10 moments we'll be talking about for awhile.
10. The 49ers screw up from the very first play. You've got two weeks to prepare for the most important game of your life. So what do you do? Line up wrong on the very first play, negating a 20-yard gain. Whoops. It would get better … but not much.
9. The fake field goal. Believe it or not, there had never been a fake field goal attempt in the history of the Super Bowl. Now? Well, there's never been a successful fake field goal attempt. The Ravens tried on a fourth and 9, but ended up a yard short. Give Ravens coach John Harbaugh credit for confidence in his defense; the 49ers weren't able to capitalize on the turnover on downs.
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8. Beyonce raises the roof. Although her outfit was millimeters from a wardrobe malfunction, Beyonce nonetheless lit up New Orleans, and not just because her pyrotechnics practically scorched the ceiling. You can quibble about whether she lip-sync'ed, but let's face it: she was a lot more fun than watching some creaky classic rockers.
7. "The Kiss". This year's ads ran from touching (the baby Clydesdale!) to inspiring (thank a farmer) to clever (Leon Sandcastle), but the one that drew the most notice had to be "The Kiss" between Bar Refaeli and the luckiest computer geek this side of Bill Gates. Were you horrified? Only because you weren't involved.
6. Jacoby Jones' touchdown catch: Two of the most electrifying plays in Super Bowl history came in this game, and both were courtesy of Jacoby Jones. First, there was his astonishing 56-yard touchdown catch, which featured not just a great grab at the 10-yard line, but a pop-up and dodge of two 49er defenders before scampering into the end zone. Impressive work, but not quite as good as his next play.
5. The Sandy Hook kids sing “America The Beautiful”: This was a stirring moment which the television broadcast wisely left virtually untouched with fancy production. You don't need a message beaten over your head; the absence of some of these children's classmates is stirring enough. Unfortunately, Jennifer Hudson stomped all over the moment with her over-the-top assault on the song, but we'll prefer to focus on the kids.
4. The 49ers make a run. After the power outage, the 49ers finally figured out that this was, you know, the Super Bowl, and it might be time to step up and start playing like a champion. They reeled off 17 points in just over four minutes, and with momentum firmly on their side of the field, looked prepared to swallow Baltimore the way they'd run down Atlanta. And for what had to be some heart-stopping moments in Charm City, it looked like they'd do it.
3. The power outage: With just over two minutes left in the third quarter, Colin Kaepernick was preparing for a third down when half the Superdome's lights went out. More than a half hour later, the power was restored, but not before a million jokes about Beyonce and stadium-destroying supervillain Bane took flight.
2. Is Joe Flacco elite now?. Hating on Joe Flacco was pretty much cost-of-entry for NFL fans, but he's now firmly in the “elite” category. Going 22 for 33, with 287 yards and three touchdowns in the Super Bowl? Yeah, that's some solid work. And it all began with a laser-sharp touchdown to ageless Anquan Boldin.
1. The greatest return in Super Bowl history. Jones added to his Super Bowl resume by scoring his second touchdown while most of America was still finding their way back to their seats. His kickoff runback to start the second half not only put the Ravens out to a huge lead, it tied a mark for the longest return in NFL history. And while the 49ers would make a run, it was Jones' touchdowns that made the difference in the Ravens' victory.
Oh, but there was more. Michael Crabtree's remarkable touchdown, LaMichael James' critical fumble, John Harbaugh's post-power-outage meltdown, David Akers' field-goal flop, Ray Lewis' emotional postgame speech … What was your favorite moment of the night?
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