The Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl champions of the U.S. National Football League, winning a thrilling 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in a game that produced surprises throughout.
The contest at the Superdome in New Orleans was a tale of similarities on opposing sidelines, highlighted by two brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, as the head coaches. Baltimore's 22-point lead nearly evaporated in the second half Sunday before John's team prevailed.
"I just knew with Jim Harbaugh being on the other sideline and all those years we have been together, that that game was going to be a dogfight right to the end," said older brother John. "That those guys were coming back. What they have done the last two years in the National Football League is unprecedented. And they showed it today the way they battled back and fought right to the end."
Baltimore owned a solid 21-6 lead at halftime, and opened the second half with Jacoby Jones running for a Super Bowl record 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Then the lights went out. A power failure stopped play for about 30 minutes. San Francisco regrouped and came within two points of Baltimore at 31-29 in the fourth quarter. A Ravens field goal and an impressive goal-line defensive stand in the final two minutes held off what would have been the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Joe Flacco said, "We are a tough blue collar city and that is the way our games tend to come down to. We were up 28-6. I'm sure a lot of people were nervous. But we were kind of like this is going to be pretty easy. And the next thing you know the (Forty) Niners get right back into it and play great football and we just had to grind one out."
The win also sent veteran star linebacker Ray Lewis into retirement with wins in both Super Bowl championships for the Ravens, the first in 2001.