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Five lessons from Super Bowl XLVII

By Mike McCurry
On February 5, 2013

Quicker than Jacoby Jones in the open field, it was all over.
The 2012-2013 NFL season came to a screeching halt on a punt return, when Ted Ginn was unable to take the post-safety kick back to the house in what would have been the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. The Ravens became world champions, Joe Flacco was about to get a lot more familiar with Benjamin Franklin's face, and Randy Moss could go back to taking whatever substance it is that makes him believe he is the greatest receiver to ever play the game.
In some ways, isn't it just dandy that there's no more football for a while? Dan Marino can start searching for other young boys and girls out there who he may have brought into this world. Rob Gronkowski gets the opportunity to teach some dancing classes and heal his forearm in the process. And, we'll hopefully never have to deal with Ray Lewis again. Lewis can now spend his retirement sipping on as much deer antler spray as he wants.
In another sense, I'm in complete denial that the NFL has begun a six-month vacation. The league transformation from traditional pocket passers to speedy, read-option quarterbacks has been absolutely fascinating to watch. To think that we have to turn the calendar many, many times before seeing Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson make fools out of defenses again makes me sad. Also, for as much crap as I give Ray Lewis (not to his face, of course, because I probably wouldn't be here if that were the case), Super Bowl XLVII marks the end of an era for one of the greatest. Regardless of which animal secretion he may have placed under his tongue, Ray gets to go out a champion. The fiercest of competitors and the most impactful linebacker the game has ever seen gets to hang up his helmet with a Lombardi Trophy by his side. Steven Speilberg and Martin Scorsese could have never dreamed up an ending like this.
Despite the prolonged blackout in the third quarter, Baltimore's 34-31 championship victory over San Francisco was as good of a final game as anyone could ask for. Considering all we have to look forward to in the foreseeable future of the NFL world is Roger Goodell calling Manti Te'o's name on draft day and, rather than the typical player-girlfriend embrace, waiting for Te'o to message his "girlfriend" online first then shake the commissioner's hand, why not try to make Super Bowl XLVII live on forever?
To honor fellow Jersey boy and new celebrity Joe Flacco's uniform number, here are 5 things I learned from this past Sunday. In the words of referee Jerome Boger after the thirty-four minute blackout, "Let's go!"
1. Joe Flacco isn't the only MVP...First off, let me get one thing off my back: who cares what the word "elite" really means when it comes to NFL quarterbacks? Joe Flacco doesn't, that's for sure. Flacco's 287-yard, 3-touchdown game was the cherry on top of arguably the most impressive postseason ever by a guy under center. In the four playoff games against the Colts, Broncos, Patriots, and 49ers, he had half as many touchdowns (11, with no picks!) as he had during the entire 16-game regular season. So while sports analysts everywhere debate the true definition of "elite," Flacco is chilling in Disney World and waiting to cash-in on a paycheck bigger than the Superdome. As for his MVP honors? He should be sharing those with the angelic Sandy Hook kids who sang "America the Beautiful" in the pregame. And I guess Beyoncé deserves some MVP votes as well.
2. Others need to take Flacco's lead...Eli Manning said it last year, then he went out and did it. The same goes for Joe Flacco this year. Who's going to be the next quarterback to make a crazy (at the time) assertion prior to the season regarding one's elite status, only to really turn it on in the playoffs and walk-the-walk all the way to a Super Bowl ring? Not only did Flacco say he was elite this past April, but he confidently proclaimed himself as the best QB in football. And while there are a couple of quarterbacks out there who I might take over Flacco to win me a game, how can you argue with his self-opinion on this day? Guys like Matt Ryan and Tony Romo should be calling up every radio station in the country and beg to be asked that question in the off-season. Brandon Weeden too, you ask? Eh, you still got no shot, kiddo.
3. That Chris Culliver fellow is a funny one...The 49ers might soon need to look into adding another wide-receiver if Randy Moss and Mario Manningham both leave, but there's no denying that San Francisco's roster is absolutely stacked. Though next time they reach the Super Bowl, they need to make sure that cornerback Chris Culliver sleeps through Media Day. Culliver made big news leading up to kickoff after saying that gay football players don't belong in the NFL. Well, after getting exposed defensively by Ravens receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones, maybe it's Culliver who doesn't belong in this league. He did get credited with the safety after Baltimore punter Sam Koch purposely ran out of the end zone, but something tells me that's not going to be what people remember Culliver for in Super Bowl XLVII.
4. John is better than Jim, plain and simple...The Battle of the Brothers was a bit one-sided, and the coaching advantage goes to the Ravens' John. Sure, his idea to try a fake field-goal was a bit odd, but taking the safety at the end was brilliant. As for Jim, his overall game management and the play-calling on the last possession (I know that's not ALL on him) was just second-rate. Still, that didn't stop John from calling his defeated brother the "best coach in the NFL." John is much more mature too, you see.
5. Ray Lewis has more to thank than God...In addition to Lewis constantly praising the Lord and thanking Him for the Ravens' good fortunes, Ray should consider thanking the following people as well: Anquan Boldin, who had as many touchdowns in the playoffs (4) as in the regular season; Rahim Moore, "safety" of the Denver Broncos; Culliver; and, for the hell of it, Beyoncé.

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