Misery the morning after

4 Feb

Harbaugh

The Super Bowl did not go the way I wanted it to. An avid 49ers fan, I was sure the boys in red and gold would topple the Ravens. Baltimore’s very appearance in football’s biggest game took me by surprise.

I really didn’t see a way the Ravens could win. And, when an unexpected power outage at the Superdome halted play for 34 minutes, with the Ravens dominating and leading by 22 points, I thought we might see a replay of the drastic swing in momentum that occurred during the 2012 French Open. In that match, Serb Novak Djokovic had touched off a furious comeback and seemed poise to knock-off the king of Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal, before the rain delayed play from Sunday evening into Monday morning, allowing the Spaniard to regroup and claim his unparalleled seventh French Open title.

So, as the Niners launched a 17-0 run in what seemed like the blink of an eye, I felt secure that we had dusted off the perplexing, unforced error-laden play that characterized our first-half (to wit, pre-Beyoncé) performance, and were headed for the victory of which I’d felt so assured.

But, it wasn’t to be. After pulling to within two points, at 29-31, San Francisco botched a two-point conversion attempt, when the pocket broke down, forcing QB Colin Kaepernick to rush his throw and badly miss his target (who wasn’t that open in the first place). Then, having taken the ball to the Ravens seven yard line, and trailing by five, San Francisco had first and goal; at this point, the notion that they wouldn’t punch it in for six seemed unimaginable to me. Yet, fail to punch they did, with Kaepernick – again under pressure in the pocket – throwing up a de facto Hail Mary fade on fourth down that wide-out Michael Crabtree had little chance of catching.

Fans know what happened next, and, even if they don’t, the end result is the same: Ravens 34, Niners 31. 

There were a lot of interesting story lines that coloured this Super Bowl: the Harbaugh brother coaching battle; Ray Lewis’ attempt to go out on top; Randy Moss’ search for his first Super Bowl title after umpteen years in the league; and, of course, Beyoncé’s breathtaking performance, which will have to go down as one of the greatest half-time shows in Super Bowl history.

But, for me, what will jump to mind when I think about the 2013 Super Bowl is just how close the 49ers got to victory, and how they failed to seal the deal.

This is a young team, and it’ll come back next year hungrier than ever to capture San Francisco’s record-tying sixth Super Bowl title. But, in football, as in life, nothing is guaranteed. We can’t be assured that Kaepernick or Coach Jim Harbaugh will ever make it back to the big game (though, in my heart of hearts, I suspect they will).

Indeed, as I grapple with the misery of the morning after, the only thing of which this forlorn 49ers fan feels assured is that the NFL should move quickly to lock Beyoncé in for the next 30 Super Bowl half-time performances.

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