NFL Super Bowl open thread

posted at 12:31 pm on February 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Are you ready forone last bit of football?  The 2012 season comes down to two teams, two brothers, one party town, and about a billion viewers.  Neither San Francisco nor Baltimore were favored to reach Super Bowl XLVII, but they scratched and clawed their way past every other NFL team to vie for the Lombardi Trophy — and to ride out the biggest hype in the biggest event in sports.

Before we get to the pick, let’s catch up on a couple of related stories to today’s game.  First, deer across North America can breathe easier today, because it turns out Ray Lewis isn’t snorting their antlers after all … or at least no one saw him do it:

The man who reportedly supplied Ray Lewis with deer-antler spray can’t confirm the Baltimore Ravens linebacker ever used the stuff.

Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that Lewis sought help from a company called Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (SWATS), which says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a naturally occurring banned product connected to human growth hormone.

Mitch Ross spoke for nearly an hour outside the Super Bowl media center Friday in a bizarre session that revealed very little about his connection with Lewis. The linebacker has denied ever using the substance.

Asked if Lewis ever tried deer-antler spray, Ross said, “I never saw him put it in his mouth.”

Meanwhile, the players have been hanging out in New Orleans all week long, notorious as a party town.  But NFL players are disciplined, focused professionals who eschew the night life … all right, I didn’t type that with a straight face.  It’s not just the night life that can trip you up, but also boneheaded and weirdly intolerant comments:

But there will be distractions. History says so. For every Justin Smith, a 49ers defensive end who packed just a duffel bag for his eight-day stay and rarely leaves the hotel, there is a Super Bowl cautionary tale about a football player, fueled by testosterone, curiosity and boredom, who ventured out of the team bubble and onto the police blotter.

It’s human nature. And distractions don’t come only in the form of a rabble-rousing football player. It can be a grandma who is locked out of her hotel room, a screaming toddler or a young player who says something regrettable in one of the hundreds of media interviews during Super Bowl week.

It happened Tuesday, when 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver told a shock jock that he wouldn’t accept an openly gay man on his football team. Within hours, the interview went viral and the 49ers went into damage-control mode. Culliver apologized, but it never ends there during Super Bowl week. His teammates were soon peppered with questions about homophobia.

“I didn’t sleep that much,” Culliver said. “I tossed and turned thinking about it.

“We are trying not to have any distractions to the team.”

It was only Thursday morning.

Say, don’t the 49ers play in San Francisco?  And shouldn’t Culliver be more concerned with on-field skill than off-field lifestyles?

So both teams have had their distractions this week.  Who’s going to … y’know … actually win the game?

I’m picking the 49ers, although I don’t think it will be easy.  Statistically, the Ravens are a mediocre team, who happen to be peaking at the right moment.  A two-week gap won’t benefit that kind of a team; a bye benefits a team with mild injuries who play more consistently well, not the team riding on week-to-week momentum.  The Ravens D is only 17th against the pass and 20th against the run, and they’re older.  That will allow Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore to get the most out of their read-option offense, and it’s going to tire out the defensive backers of the Ravens by the second half.

On the other side of the ball, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco has picked up confidence in his deep passing game — but he’s going up against the 4th-ranked defense against both the pass and the run.  The Ravens are only 15th in passing and 11th in rushing — not bad, but not elite.  If the 49ers break into the lead early, the Ravens are not going to be able to play comeback as easily as they did against the Broncos, especially with San Francisco watching that game film for the last two weeks.

The 49ers will outlast the Ravens in this one.  San Francisco 31-23 over Baltimore.

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Interesting discussion about that hold/no hold/PI/no PI play.

Here are the rules as I understand them:
If the pass has not been thrown, a flag for holding should be thrown if the defender is holding the receiver past five yards beyond the line of scrimmage; in this case, past the goal line.
If the pass has been thrown, a flag for PI should be thrown if the defender contacts the receiver to an extent to interfering him from catching the ball; and if the ball is ruled catchable.

I guess the refs judged that neither case applied, so that no flag was thrown. It’s a difficult set of rules to apply.

22044 on February 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM

DEFENSIVE HOLDING DOESN’T REQUIRE THE BALL TO BE CATCHABLE. It was uncatchable because the defender had his arms wrapped around Crabtree and was holding him on the back of his jersey. Are you really that dumb?

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 1:46 AM

You LOSER-Wha?

Oh!! How should you call yourself LOSER? HA!! That’s Easy!! Try one of THESE:

LOSER!!
RUULSER!!
YOUFREAKINLOSERYOU!!!
LA-HOO-HOO-HOO-SER!!
JEEEYA-LOSER!!!
49er FAN!

HA-HA-HA!! Have a LOOO-SER, ROOLS-ER!!! LOSER YOU!!

williamg on February 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Complete heist. Anyone supporting the Ravens in this garbage is no less than a leftist at heart. They don’t care how they win, only that they win. The ends justify the means.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Interesting discussion about that hold/no hold/PI/no PI play.

Here are the rules as I understand them:
If the pass has not been thrown, a flag for holding should be thrown if the defender is holding the receiver past five yards beyond the line of scrimmage; in this case, past the goal line.
If the pass has been thrown, a flag for PI should be thrown if the defender contacts the receiver to an extent to interfering him from catching the ball; and if the ball is ruled catchable.

I guess the refs judged that neither case applied, so that no flag was thrown. It’s a difficult set of rules to apply.

22044 on February 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Another part of the play that I didn’t see till it was shown wide screen this morning was that Delanie Walker was held and thrown down in the endzone on the other side of the field. Two extremely obvious holding penalties on the same play and the flags magically disappeared. They were told not to call anything and the Ravens got away with murder again.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Nice to see the better team won. Frisco made a valiant comeback, and hats off to them and Balmer for putting on an entertaining show. It was especially nice watching Boldin pwn Culliver all game. And two Ducks got a ring–a nice lagniappe.

Christien on February 4, 2013 at 12:19 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Still whining I see. Buck up son, take it like a man. Your team lost. Deal with it.

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Regarding that 4th down play from the 5-yardline, it did look like Crabtree was grabbed in the end-zone, which would have been 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. A defensive-holding call would have given the 49ers a first down “half the distance”, or at the 2 1/2 yardline.

It remains to be seen whether the 49ers could have scored a touchdown–the play-calling was terrible once they got to the 5-yardline. Everybody in the stands knew the Ravens would blitz, so the 49ers needed to call plays geared against the blitz–a sweep around end (Gore had gotten over 20 yards a few plays earlier on a sweep), a screen pass, a shovel pass, or else keeping the fullback or a tight-end in to block, to give Kaepernick more time to throw.

It seems like, for three critical plays, the 49ers thought only Kaepernick and Crabtree played for the 49ers, and they forgot about the other 9 players on the team.

Still, it was a great game, and the 49ers mounted a great comeback to make it close, after being down 28-6 one play into the 3rd quarter.

Steve Z on February 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Still whining I see. Buck up son, take it like a man. Your team lost. Deal with it.

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Still acting like a leftist I see. Keep it up.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

LOL

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 1:48 PM

It seems like, for three critical plays, the 49ers thought only Kaepernick and Crabtree played for the 49ers, and they forgot about the other 9 players on the team.

Still, it was a great game, and the 49ers mounted a great comeback to make it close, after being down 28-6 one play into the 3rd quarter.

Steve Z on February 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Good points. IMO, they should’ve handed it to LaMichael. I bet he would’ve scored. Anyhoo, you’re right, it was a great game, and I think the 9ers will be a top team for the near future, at least.

Christien on February 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 1:48 PM

No kidding. Hopefully, he lost a lot of money on the game.

Christien on February 4, 2013 at 1:51 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/mike-pereira-super-bowl-xlvii-calls-no-holding-on-crucial-play-020313

Once again, buck up son.

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/mike-pereira-super-bowl-xlvii-calls-no-holding-on-crucial-play-020313

Once again, buck up son.

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Mike Pereira is always going to go the NFL line. Anyone with a brain knows there was obvious defensive holding where the 49ers had two receivers being brutally held. You know it as well my boy.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 2:04 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 2:04 PM

LOL

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Crabtree: Refs Not To Blame For Super Bowl Loss

That’s how to be gracious in defeat. Take note, fans.

Christien on February 4, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Mike Pereira is always going to go the NFL line. Anyone with a brain knows there was obvious defensive holding where the 49ers had two receivers being brutally held. You know it as well my boy.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 2:04 PM

And how do you feel about Flacco getting popped 2 yards out-of-bounds on 3rd-down in the 4th Q that wasn’t called?

ManWithNoName on February 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 2:04 PM

You’re still pi$$ing and moaning?
Next time don’t bet more than u can afford, schmuck.

katy the mean old lady on February 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM

The fix was in. It’s a Superbowl. What did y’all expect? Congrats ktmol!

Bmore on February 4, 2013 at 4:26 PM

You’re still pi$$ing and moaning?
Next time don’t bet more than u can afford, schmuck.

katy the mean old lady on February 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM

I don’t gamble fool. No reason to waste my money on games of chance. I just saw what was clear as day and any objective person would acknowledge… the 49ers were screwed. The refs stole the game and handed it to the double-homicide champion of the Ravens, Ray Lewis.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Funny, you sound like every crybaby gambler I’ve vr known. “I waz robbed!!!”

katy the mean old lady on February 4, 2013 at 7:21 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

There were calls not made that benefited the Niners. Grow up.

CW on February 4, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Go Pack!

Bmore on February 4, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Funny, you sound like every crybaby gambler I’ve vr known. “I waz robbed!!!”

katy the mean old lady on February 4, 2013 at 7:21 PM

And you sound like every bitter old hag I’ve ever come across. What’s your point?

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 8:00 PM

There were calls not made that benefited the Niners. Grow up.

CW on February 4, 2013 at 7:27 PM

There were calls not made that benefited both teams. There was only 1 call that was deliberately ignored that decided the championship. And it was a complete travesty where both Crabtree and Walker were obviously held on the same play.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 8:02 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 8:02 PM

I’ve heard at least a dozen NFL commentator types opine on that “non-call.” All of them former players. Each and every one of them agreed that there should not have been a flag on the defender on that play. The only people I still hear complaining about that play are Jim Harbaugh, whining 9er fans, and you.

It’ll be okay son, you’ll get over it in time.

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Go listen to Eric Mangini then get back to me. You must be listening to Baltimore radio only.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Yawn. I am a fan of neither team, and live 5,000 miles from Baltimore. How many times has Mangini been fired?

You sure must have lost a bundle.

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 10:09 PM

You font read too well, do you Stu? I don’t gamble. Every BS commentator that you are quoting probably said it was a foul, but you can’t depend on the refs to ‘bail you out.’ How close am I?

It was obvious that Baltimore decided not to play defense and depended on the refs to not call anything to bail them out. It’s a horrendously tainted ‘win’ and it’s sickening to see a double-murderer get celebrated on his way into retirement.

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 10:29 PM

You don’t*

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 10:30 PM

njrob on February 4, 2013 at 10:29 PM

LOL

Stu Gotts on February 4, 2013 at 10:45 PM

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