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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Ray Nagin says Bush did it.

eyesky on February 3, 2013 at 8:45 PM

are there a bunch of unemployed thugs ripping copper out of the side of the building and truckin’ it away????

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Ed couldn’t have been more wrong. Reminds me of your analysis of the election polls.

celticdefender on February 3, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Maybe it’s part of Obama’s latest green initiative. Our lights have been too damned bright.

I’m waiting for the President to give a speech.

Drained Brain on February 3, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Were they using wind power or solar? Damn, if only they were using coal.

lonestar1 on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Power outage Bowl.

Didn’t happen during the Puppy Bowl. Just saying.

rbj on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

CBS is shizzating kittens….

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Turned on the game in time to see the kickoff return. Wasn’t even sure which team is which at the time. It was exciting to see. The “Blindside” player is a Raven so I decided to cheer for them. Hope the lights get fixed so they don’t lose their mojo.

karenhasfreedom on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Jonah Goldberg ‏@JonahNRO

Disturbing: power outage hits skyboxes with iron lungs/ respirators.

Didn’t even think about that. There are probably quite a few Make-a-Wish/Children’s Miracle Network kids there.

steebo77 on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

For the record, I hate talking baby ads. I will not use/buy your product.

rbj on February 3, 2013 at 8:41 PM

I’m with you on that. No matter how well done, they always creep me out.

Ugly on February 3, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Talking babies and animals both.

CW on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

At some point, you’d think that you had enough lights on…..

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

It’s nice to see a little spontaneity for a change.

Drained Brain on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Time for the Puppy Bowl!

Fallon on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Power Outage……

Hurricane Katrina, Bushs’ fault.

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Could’ve been the Beyonce show that degraded the power, though. That was a lot of electrons.

TXUS on February 3, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Didn’t NBC do this once for an entire game to show how much they loved the Earth?

Mark1971 on February 3, 2013 at 8:47 PM

It’s bush’s fault. some how. some way, he is to blame.

Jvette on February 3, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Were they using wind power or solar? Damn, if only they were using coal.

lonestar1 on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

It’s those damned curly light bulbs.

predator on February 3, 2013 at 8:47 PM

What a disaster. I hate it for the Ravens who are having a great game and the NFL. Not really their fault.

mike_NC9 on February 3, 2013 at 8:48 PM

Just wrap the players in Christmas lights and let ‘em go….Paint the football dayglo green and play ball fellers.

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:48 PM

Wouldn’t want to be in that stadium right now. Bad things happen when the lights are off in New Orleans.

TXUS on February 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Where is Big Sis when you need her? Certainly this is right up her alley…..

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

At some point, you’d think that you had enough lights on…..

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

You didn’t light that.

22044 on February 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Anyone volunteer to give me a cliff’s notes summary of the first half?

karenhasfreedom on February 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Shannon Sharpe is like Nostradamus followers: “Now that’s it’s happened, I knew it would.”

predator on February 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Pelosi will blame bush
My my
Or maybe nag ins indictment caused a power surge of disgust
Go ravens

losarkos on February 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Didn’t happen during the Puppy Bowl. Just saying.

rbj on February 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

I blame the power outage for slipping in behind you… So to speak.

Fallon on February 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

They could put those coal miner lamps on their helmets.

Mark1971 on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

It’s Steven Chu’s fault.

22044 on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Somebody probably blew up a major transformer or sub station. It happened at a 49ers game before.

If I were there, I’d leave.

forest on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

maybe Obama is up getting some more chips n’ dips and he issued an edict that saith “don’t you dare let another play go down till I get back”……

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

I blame Beyonce

cmsinaz on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

CODE BLACK…….Hot Dog stand melting down in aisle 5.

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

It’s those damned curly light bulbs.

predator on February 3, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Heh.

CW on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Did Ray Lewis kill the power, too?

steebo77 on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

how’s that working out Ed? 9ers indeed

you predict amnesty is gonna help the Pubs too. I think I’ll listen to you even less than I do now (which is sorta never)

Slade73 on February 3, 2013 at 8:51 PM

Let’s do this socialist thing right…..Redistribute all them points and give each of ‘em 16.5 points—-for fairness.

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:51 PM

Can you imagine the drunks at the sports bars right now? Think they are throwing pretzels at the big tvs?

karenhasfreedom on February 3, 2013 at 8:52 PM

The lights are on on the field, why aren’t they playing?

Jvette on February 3, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Get the Nagin out of Norleans now!!!!!

Lights go out in the city gun up!!!!

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Obamas latest energy project comes to fruition…

Machismo on February 3, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Maybe they’ll bring Beyonce back to do acoustic.

predator on February 3, 2013 at 8:53 PM

the price for airtime at the superbowl is dropping rapidly?????

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:53 PM

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel

A preliminary analysis finds that the stadium was not, in fact, ready for this jelly.

steebo77 on February 3, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Watch out…..BAIN is under the stadium!!!!

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Bush and Kitrina hits again. /sarc

mechkiller_k on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

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

Well, once the lights come back on, SF had better launch the most impressive comeback in Superbowl history. Especially since Baltimore is already at 28.

Happy Nomad on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Maybe they’ll bring Beyonce back to do acoustic.

predator on February 3, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Is that code for lip synch?

Jvette on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Now I have no regrets about staying at home this year.

22044 on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Cool. I had 2:30 into the third quarter in our “when will the lights go out” office pool.

Mark1971 on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

The lights are on on the field, why aren’t they playing?

Jvette on February 3, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Half the lights are still out.

CW on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Time for a little Pat Travers Band?

Fallon on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Did Ray Lewis kill the power, too?

steebo77 on February 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

I didn’t see nuthin!

forest on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

My power was knocked out 2 nights ago for almost 3 hours during a winter storm. Got really cold inside. Big pain in the neck to reset the clocks

karenhasfreedom on February 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

ANOTHER 15 minutes???? dude? is this like the 24 hrs of Daytona or something….?

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

these union players oughta file a grievance…..

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Here we goooooo

CW on February 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Anyone volunteer to give me a cliff’s notes summary of the first half?

karenhasfreedom on February 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Ravens were on fire, 49er’s stunk. Pretty much sums it up.

chewmeister on February 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Maybe they’ll bring Beyonce back to do acoustic.

predator on February 3, 2013 at 8:53 PM

I don’t think her lip-synch routine works without electricity.

Pork-Chop on February 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

This Death Star is fully operational!!

See my power!

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

The EPA shut down the coal-fired power plant that supplies power to the stadium.

TarheelBen on February 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Lights coming back on

Sekhmet on February 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Now another 15 minutes to get the lights up?

Bizzaro

Ugly on February 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Time for a little Pat Travers Band?

Fallon on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

UFO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aatjerFCRP8

Mark1971 on February 3, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Yeah. I’d be leaving.

forest on February 3, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Cyber attack by the Chinese most likely cause of the power outage. They just wanted to demonstrate their expertise.

djtnt on February 3, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Is that code for lip synch?

Jvette on February 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Not sure about that. But it would definitely expose her severe lack of genuine talent.

predator on February 3, 2013 at 8:57 PM

NFL

No

Football

Lights

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM

My power was knocked out 2 nights ago for almost 3 hours during a winter storm. Got really cold inside. Big pain in the neck to reset the clocks

karenhasfreedom on February 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Same here. Came back on and went out again.

chewmeister on February 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Breaking……Reid says Booooosh was seen running from the engineering spaces.

Limerick on February 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Now they’re talking Alex Smith. SF is pooping the bed.

RadClown on February 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM

SOMEONE SOMEONE shut up Shannon Sharpe…….he is not Nostrafrickingdamus!

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Good lord, that halftime show left me sweating.

I think everyone in the stadium is getting a breather with this power outage.

mythicknight on February 3, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Power surge. Obama showed up, and the lights swooned.

predator on February 3, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Yahoo News kills me

Controversial player’s terrible first half
San Francisco’s Chris Culliver made waves for his anti-gay comments earlier this week.

CW on February 3, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Night vison full tackle!

Limerick on February 3, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Thanks Ugly & CW.

This is funny.

rbj on February 3, 2013 at 9:00 PM

SOMEONE SOMEONE shut up Shannon Sharpe…….he is not Nostrafrickingdamus!

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Shannon Sharpe: “I can see into the past!”

predator on February 3, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Sidelines reporter says he expects them to start playing again any moment…..

I didn’t realize the 49ers were playing at all.

As I watched the replay of the kickoff return, I couldn’t help wondering if they knew they are in the SB.

Jvette on February 3, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Iran claims it was a Jewish halogen light virus.

Limerick on February 3, 2013 at 9:02 PM

Now another 15 minutes to get the lights up?

Bizzaro

Ugly on February 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

They’re probably mercury vapor bulbs. They have to cool down before they can be started back up, and then it takes awhile to come back up to full illumination.

chewmeister on February 3, 2013 at 9:02 PM

As I watched the replay of the kickoff return, I couldn’t help wondering if they knew they are in the SB.

Jvette on February 3, 2013 at 9:01 PM

SF special teams during the kickoff: “Dude, are you gonna bogart that thing?”

predator on February 3, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Shannon Sharpe tripped the power cord, because he wanted to talk even more.

22044 on February 3, 2013 at 9:03 PM

I wanna know who’s in charge of the lights at the Super Bowl.

What about Benghazi?

Who’s that?

Fallon on February 3, 2013 at 9:03 PM

It’s kind of funny to watch the commentators trying to keep up the momentum for the world’s most important (sporting) event.

“We’re watching the lights come back on.”

Decades ago I watched Vin Scully in an early telecast of a delayed Dodgers-Giants game fill time beautifully. He set the standard.

Drained Brain on February 3, 2013 at 9:03 PM

John Harbaugh pi$$ed!

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM

You’d think the boredom would drive at least one attendee to streak across the field.

steebo77 on February 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Outside power failure. Perry you magnificent bastad!

Limerick on February 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Yahoo News kills me

Controversial player’s terrible first half
San Francisco’s Chris Culliver made waves for his anti-gay comments earlier this week.

CW on February 3, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Reminds me of Eugene Robinson.

Proves the adage: “Don’t do or say anything stupid the week before the Super Bowl.”

22044 on February 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM

I wanna know who’s in charge of the lights at the Super Bowl.

What about Benghazi?

Who’s that?

Fallon on February 3, 2013 at 9:03 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

predator on February 3, 2013 at 9:05 PM

If I had spent millions on a commercial, I’d be asking why in the hell they aren’t running commercials from end to end of this thing…..

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Iran claims it was a Jewish halogen light virus.

Limerick on February 3, 2013 at 9:02 PM

That was Hagel.

forest on February 3, 2013 at 9:05 PM

David Akers hits 10 field goals….49ers win 30-28.

Rovin on February 3, 2013 at 9:05 PM

I expect them to climb on top of the Super Dome any minute and start screaming “help me help me”. Geraldo will come by in a chopper and save them.

TxAnn56 on February 3, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Maybe it was that fancy LED lighting outside!

PappyD61 on February 3, 2013 at 9:06 PM

We can put a man on the moon, we can fix the lights at the Super Bowl, but we can’t produce a budget? WTF!

HiJack on February 3, 2013 at 9:06 PM

if the 9ers win now, baltimore is going to call bullshizzat

ted c on February 3, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Time for a national conversation about the need for alternative energy sources? /s

Drained Brain on February 3, 2013 at 9:06 PM

this is what happens when you have a war on coal

Slade73 on February 3, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Boosh didn’t give enough money for norleans to withstand the Super Bowl. /lib

nobar on February 3, 2013 at 9:07 PM

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