Take a bow, Baltimore Ravens. You have earned it.
Amid a lot of controversy, you withstood it all. The sideshows never got in the way of the Big Show, which transpired last night in the Ravens 34-31 win in Super Bowl XLVII.
I’ve been on the Ravens case for a few years now, but they now get it. They proved their mettle by beating the best in both conferences and a few Hall of Fame quarterbacks en route.
We usually react and overreact to every Super Bowl winner and claim the “blueprint” has been made.
Well, I’m not sure if that’s exactly the case, but we learned a few things from watching last night’s thriller.
1. Flacco deserves credit.
Joe Flacco looks and acts a lot like Drew Bledsoe, which means he has a nice arm, he’s very big and he moves around like a fork lift. But he is more than that. Flacco is a Super Bowl MVP, which is saying something. He truly was a major asset in the Ravens’ playoff drive and not a game manager. Flacco does something Tom Brady does not: He trusts his receivers to make plays, oftentimes taking a shot or two. His penchant for looking down field is exemplary. It just seems to open up a lot in the middle of the field throughout the game. The fact that Flacco didn’t throw an interception in four playoff games is extraordinary. While he isn’t the game manager Brady is, Flacco has a lot of Eli Manning in him. He isn’t afraid. And he has $100 million coming his way very soon.
2. 49ers are team of the future.
My only issue with the 49ers was that winning Super Bowls is a process. And they and their coach, in particular, needed a little humility and smash mouth football to remind them of that fact. The 49ers are the best team in football next season. I can say that with certitude. Colin Kaepernick is a star in the making if he is willing to put in the Brady-Peyton Manning work and maybe refrain from running so often. The 49ers had at least 15 of the best 22 starters on both sides of the ball yesterday. They just lacked the experience. The Ravens have been working their way past the Patriots to get to a Super Bowl victory and they did it. But the 49ers, if Kaepernick is dedicated enough, are built for the long haul.