Sports & Hip-Hop: The Final Super Bowl Wrap UpPosted by Lucas Garrison on 02/07/13 | Filed under Opinion, Sports, Sports & Hip-Hop
A Note from Nathan S: Since the dawn of time, or at least since N.W.A. started rocking Raiders hats, sports and hip-hop have gone together like Rosa Acosta stretching videos. So while most sites might just recap the last week's biggest sports stories, we're upping the level of difficulty and attempting to recap the week's biggest sports stories...via music.
I'll let the homie Lucas Garrison take it from here:
Last Sunday was both the most exciting and depressing day for football fans. While the whole season leads up to the Super Bowl, once its over, it means there wont be a meaningful football game or fantasy football draft until September. Thankfully, the Ravens and 49ers were able to send us out on a high note, with a very exciting game.
After a relatively quiet first quarter, with only one touchdown, a 13-yard catch by Anquan Boldin, things really opened up in the second quarter. With seven minutes left in the second quarter, Flacco hit Dennis Pitt for a one yard score. The Ravens up 14-3 did not let off the gas. With less than two minutes left in the half, Flacco hit Jacoby Jones down field for an amazing, 56-yard touchdown. Jones made the catch, diving to the ground, but was able to get up and show his athleticism. Jones was able to spin of one defender, only to be face to face with 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver (who did not have a good week). While it looked as though Culliver was in great position to make the tackle, Jones put a slick move on him, faking right and cutting back left to open space. Jones was able to avoid Culliver and a trailing Carlos Roger and get into the end zone, something that he had been quite good at in the playoffs.
The 49ers were able to muster another field goal before halftime, but the game was the Ravens’ to lose, and that they almost did. Up 22 (28-6) in the third quarter, something unexpected happened; the lights in the Superdome shut off. For 34 minutes, the biggest game in sports (broadcasted world wide) was delayed as the lighting crew scrambled to fix the problem. The outage was caused by an “abnormality in the system”(whatever that means) but I think we all know it was because of Beyonce’s electrifying half-time performance.
Below is a link to the power going out as well as a news report from CBS with footage inside the control room of the stadium when the lights went out which is a pretty cool behind the scene moment.
After the blackout, the 49ers were able to get back into the game, after mustering only 197 first half yards, the 49ers exploded in the second half, racking up 271 yards, including a 15 yard rushing touchdown from Kaepernick, which set a Super Bowl record for longest touchdown run by a quarterback (not bad for his 10th start).
After the Kaepernick scamper, they 49ers two point conversion attempt failed, leaving them down two. Despite not scoring an offensive touchdown in the second half The Ravens were supported by rookie kicker Justin Tucker whose 38-yard field goal with four minutes left served as the key score. The field goal made it so the 49ers, down five, would need a touchdown to win, instead of merely kicking a field goal to win the game. The 49ers could not convert on their next drive (read the next segment for more on the drive) and the Ravens accomplished their mission, and boy did they enjoy it.
Had the 49ers been able to come back from the 22 point deficit, it would have been a remarkable comeback, set off by the light fiasco, that w would have gone down in the record books as one of the best comebacks ever. The lights going off felt like something crazy that happens to a cursed team in baseball a la Bartman (emebed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6er1XE2j0pE), which is why Childish Gambino’s rendition of "All of The Lights" is my pick for the song of the Super Bowl (also because we have all heard Kanye’s version way too many times).
Like last years Giants, the Ravens got hot at the right time, which seems to be the formula for success as of late. While teams like the Patriots and Falcons seem to excel in the regular season, often winning their division and earning playoff byes their regular season success hasn’t translated to Super Bowl wins. Six of the last eight Super Bowl champions have come from the wild card spot. Before the stretch, only three champions had come from the wild card spot; the 1980 Raiders, the 1997 Broncos and the 2000 Ravens. The Ravens playoff seed didn’t affect their confidence. They played like the team to beat throughout the playoffs. I don’t know what it was about the team, but I just got the sense that no matter what was thrown in their way, like the lights cutting out after they appeared ed to have the game all but locked up, they knew that the championship was theirs for the taking.
For evidence of this, look no further than their amazing goal line stand and the end of the game that sealed their victory. While the Ravens defense has not been as great as it once was, giving up giving up the 17 most yards per game (350.9), they excelled at red zone defense. This squad, led by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, ranked second in red zone D, only allowing touchdowns 43.4 percent of the time opponents had the ball inside the twenty. This bend but don’t break style was crucial in cementing the Super Bowl victory. With roughly four minutes left and up five, 34-29, the Ravens defense took the field looking to stop a 49ers offense that exploded in the second half, coming back from a 22 point deficit, with a chance to win it in the final minutes of the game. The Niners started off strong, and thanks to a 33 yard run by Frank Gore, the got the ball to the Ravens seven-yard line with almost three minutes left. While it seemed like the 49ers were gong to score too quickly, giving Flacco another chance to prove he is elite; but the defense had other plans. After one run attempt that netted two yards, the Niners got away from the run even though it had been their bread and butter in the second half. The next two play calls were passes, both incomplete to Crabtree, which left the Niners with one final chance to score.
On 4th down, the 49ers stuck with the pass game, and the Ravens were ready. Kaepernick attempted to hit Crabtree in the corner of the end zone, but because of pressure from Dannel Ellerbie, the pass was way off. The 49ers wanted a holding call on Timmy Smith, who was covering Crabtree on the play, but I think they were grasping at straws. Was Smith holding Crabtree? Maybe a little, but contact was definitely coming from both parties and in the biggest game of the year, which was already very physical you cannot call that a hold. This is too big of a stage to let the game be decided by ticky-tacky calls; the ref made the right decision in letting the players play whether the Niners like it or not.
The goal line stand was a very fitting way for the Ravens to go out. Their defense, for better or for worse, has been the teams motor for the past few years so it only makes sense that the D would come up big yet again, locking up the Super Bowl for their leader, Ray Lewis, who retires on top, something that not very man a athletes get to experience. The Ravens might have been a wild card team, but it just goes to show you that when it comes to the playoffs, not everything is about seeds or records, sometimes, the teams that struggle in the regular season have more fire and hunger than those who cruise through the season. The wild card era seems to be full effect, which is good news for those teams not in the top five. And for the fans, as the wild card races are sure to be much more exciting, given the recent success of teams from the lower seeds. I chose Running Wild a cut from one of my all time favorite hip-hop groups CunninLynguists to officially ring in the era of the wild card, because it seems that seeding and home-field advantage aren’t as important any more, with all the wild card teams running wild in the playoffs.
Nobody on the Ravens squad had more to prove in the playoffs than Joe Flacco. Weather or not Flacco is an elite quarterback is still up for debate. Personally, I think he is good, but not great. Given the talent he has around him, I would expect him to put up great numbers, something he does not consistently good. However, there is no denying his stellar playoff performances. Flacco threw an impressive 11 touchdowns this postseason, a number that is more impressive considering he did not throw a single interception. Flacco joins Joe Montana as the only quarterback to throw 11 TDs and zero picks in the playoffs, which is some pretty elite company. With his contract expiring after this year, Flacco will look to cash in for a big payday, and become a top paid QB. Helping his cause, and his wallet, Flacco was named Super Bowl MVP thanks to his 287-yard and three-touchdown performance against a stellar defense. While his numbers were good, I do not think he earned the MVP nod. Flacco could not lead a touchdown drive in the second half which would have all but iced the game for his team; the inability to take control in the second half is not becoming of an MVP. A player more deserving of the award was Jacoby Jones. In addition to his 56-yard touchdown, described above, Jones also had the play of the game, a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
After halftime, The Ravens, who had the most special teams touchdowns in the regular season, got a spark from their unit. Jones caught the ball very deep in his own end zone and shot right up the middle of the field, after breaking one tackle, Jones was untouched, shooting by the clump of players and into open space. It was an electrifying play from a player who has really emerged as a deep threat and special teams expert this year. It was also the Ravens only touchdown of the second half, and Jones’ 2nd of the game. Jones affected the game much more than Flacco and was really the difference maker, which should have earned him the MVP nod over his quarterback. I chose another talented, yet underrated Jones to honor Jacoby; Xaphoon Jones. Here is a sick blend of Kanye’s "Testify" and Radiohead’s "Reckoner" from Jones to honor his namesake’s rightful claim to MVP of Super Bowl XLVII.