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By Ernie Palladino
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The countdown to the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl started at 10:45 p.m. Sunday as San Francisco’s Ted Ginn vainly returned the Ravens’ post-safety free kick to end Baltimore’s heart-thumping 34-31 victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
Now the preparations for Super Bowl week will fly into full gear. As much as one might worry about the weather and such, the prospects of following up any of New Orleans’ 10 Super Bowls will be a task because nobody, but nobody, throws a party like that weather-battered Louisiana town by the bend of the Mississippi.
But we shouldn’t worry up here. For all this guy’s opinion is worth — not much, granted — the organizing committee should just order a skyscraper full of lox and bagels, a boatload of pizzas, a few billion gallons of beer and grape soda, and let the out-of-towners make their own fun. That’s easy to do here, since nobody, but nobody, makes bagels and pizza like we do.
And that includes whatever abomination of these particular art forms you’ll find in NOLA. Something about the city tap water that can’t be beat.
What the food won’t replace is the on-field happenings in the Superdome. If this area gets half the excitement and intrigue of that game, even the harshest of weather won’t ruin it. You can’t help but love a near-comeback from 22 points down that had a little bit of everything, from Colin Kaepernick running, to Joe Flacco throwing, to great defense. There was even a helping of extra-curricular roughhousing, the likes of which was probably seen daily in the Harbaugh household.
There was Ed Reed’s postseason record-tying ninth interception off Kaepernick, who now holds the unwanted distinction of the only San Francisco quarterback to throw a pick in a Super Bowl.
There was a Ravens fake field goal that fell a yard short of a first down thanks to Patrick Willis and Darcel McBath’s excellent tackling.
And there was Flacco, for the final 56 of his 192 first-half passing yards, throwing to the falling Jacoby Jones, who then got up and beat Chris Culliver — he of the anti-gay comments — to the end zone for a 21-3 lead with 1:45 left before Beyonce.
Critical aside: Could anyone make heads or tails out of that show? Was it live? Was it taped? Was Beyonce a hologram? And that Destiny Child’s reunion — ugh!
That display may generate more controversy than the act she pulled on Inauguration Day.
Back to the game. Jones, already having a great performance, brought David Akers’ second-half kickoff back 108 yards for a touchdown, tying the all-time longest return. And there was nothing phony about that one. Line drive, shake one tackle, get two blocks in the alley, and away he went.
So shocking was the runback, in fact, that the stunned electrical gods were moved to turn off half the lights in the Superdome right after that to delay the game more than a half hour. The MetLife Stadium operations department might want to make a note about paying the WHOLE electric bill well ahead of time.
Not that the respite hurt the 49ers. At one point faced with a runaway score, they came back from the delay to score 17 points in the next 4:10 on two quick touchdowns and Akers’ field goal from 34 yards after his miss from 39 was erased on a five-yard, running into the kicker penalty. And it was the third fumble of the postseason from the otherwise sure handed Ray Rice that set it up.
A Baltimore field goal.
A Kaepernick touchdown run from 15 yards out, the longest ever for a Super Bowl quarterback, but he missed the tying two-point throw.
Another Ravens field goal. A safety where, curiously, a 49er didn’t show to chase Sam Koch out the side of the end zone up until there were just four seconds left on the clock.
If the NFL can assure the NY/NJ committee of a second half like that, they won’t even need the pizza and bagels.
Your thoughts on Sunday night’s game? Are you pumped up for our very own Super Bowl? Be heard in the comments!