- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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I. August 2011: Eli Manning is interviewed on ESPN Radio in New York and says he considers himself to be in the same class as Tom Brady. Everyone laughs and mocks Eli Manning. Six months later, Eli Manning wins the Super Bowl.
April 2012: Joe Flacco is interviewed on WNST Radio in Baltimore and says that he considers himself to be the best quarterback in the NFL. Everyone laughs and mocks Joe Flacco. Ten months later, Joe Flacco wins the Super Bowl.
The lesson here is clear: If you are a quarterback almost no one thinks is very good, the key to winning a championship is declaring your greatness. Jay Cutler? Tony Romo? Mark Sanchez? One of the random “quarterbacks” who play for the Cardinals? The race is on. Whichever poorly regarded quarterback is the first to tell the world how awesome he is will be holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy this time next year. It’s just how it works.
II. Note: This approach does not work for coaches. Obviously. Or Rex Ryan would have several Super Bowl titles by now.
III. Even as Ravens players are celebrating their Super Bowl win, general manager Ozzie Newsome must begin to think about how to improve the team for next season. The Ravens are far from a flawless team, and it’s a business, after all. Feelings and emotion can’t come into play. Some people who won a ring with Baltimore this year will be replaced before next season. So who will it be? Will the Ravens dump their quarterback and bring in someone they think might be better -- as they did after Super Bowl XXXV? No. This time, the move might be even more dramatic.
Here is John Harbaugh after the game: “There’s no greater competitor, there’s no greater coach in the National Football League, or in the world, as far as I’m concerned, than Jim Harbaugh.” Want to try for a repeat, Ravens? Want to try to be great for the long run? Fire John Harbaugh and make a play for Jim.
IV. The 49ers were running all over the Ravens, then abandoned it with the Super Bowl on the line and a championship only a few yards away. Someone get Tim Brown on the line and find out whether those final play calls raised any suspicions. We have a long way to go until the NFL draft and need some controversies to talk about.
V. If the 49ers want to fire their offensive coordinator after that last series, the Ravens can attest that the firing of offensive coordinators does wonders. The 49ers should just make sure not to hire Cam Cameron.
VII. If you are a big Ravens fan or a big Ray Lewis fan, you can believe that God helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl. And if you are one of the many people who really dislike Ray Lewis and seriously doubt God is on his side, you can see the outcome of the Super Bowl as clear evidence that God doesn’t intervene in the outcome of sports contests because, if God did, the Ravens wouldn’t have won. Either way, God comes out looking pretty good.
VIII. The Eagles have played the eventual Super Bowl winner in their home opener for four consecutive seasons. It’s an amazing statistic. Now watch Jerry Jones pay Roger Goodell $100 million to get scheduled as Philadelphia’s home opener in 2013. Then watch the streak end at four because, you know… the Cowboys.
IX. Other than the power outage this year and overselling Cowboys Stadium two Super Bowls ago, the NFL is totally not run like a bankrupt Romanian soccer league. Good job.
XI. Most people will say the outcome of the Super Bowl turned on LaMichael James’ fumble or Jacoby Jones’ kickoff return or Baltimore’s late-game stand. But the game was really over on the first play of the game when the 49ers were whistled for an illegal formation. Two weeks to prepare and your first play is an illegal formation. Jim Harbaugh should have just walked out on the field and said to the officials: “OK. We don’t belong here, and we don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Let’s just have Beyonce perform and then call it a night. Whaddaya say?”
XII. Since the turn of the century, the AFC North has more Super Bowl titles than any other division with four -- and the only division with three in that time is the AFC East, which is less a division than a single team. The AFC North is also the only division to put two (or more) teams in the playoffs every year since 2008. But, hey, everyone knows the NFC East is the best division because those teams have the biggest media markets, OK? So let’s move on and stop with the ridiculous AFC North talk.
XIII. At one point Sunday night, this Twitter account had tens of thousands of followers. I guess it just didn’t have long-term relevance. Huh.
XIV. Roger Goodell was interviewed on CBS during the pregame show and was asked about the NFL’s response to head injuries. He randomly threw out the fact that girls’ soccer has the second-highest incidence of head injuries. Way to throw girls’ soccer under the minivan, Rog. Roger Goodell: coming to fine your daughter.
XV. For this thought, please read the poll on the right.
XVI. Usually a Super Bowl-winning quarterback will get deluged with endorsement deals. But Joe Flacco plays in a small market, has a history of poor personal grooming and, to quote his father, is very “dull.” The previous Super Bowl winner was Eli Manning, not exactly Mr. Charisma either. And so now you know why every commercial on television stars Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees.
XVIII. It’s a shame we’ll never know what Tyler Palko could have done with this Ravens team. They might not be looking at their first Super Bowl title in 12 years. They might be looking at their fifth or sixth.
XX. The Ravens like to play the role of the overlooked, “disrespected” team. But now they’re Super Bowl champions and everyone will be gunning for them next season. Opposing coaches will spend the offseason studying how to stop them. Opposing defensive backs will watch film and realize Baltimore likes to send Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones running in straight lines down the field and then have Joe Flacco hurl the ball as far as he possibly can. Too bad the defensive backs on the 49ers and Broncos didn’t watch this film before or things might have turned out differently. Oh, well. Live and learn.
XXII. Cleveland hasn’t won a championship since 1964. Despite having fewer teams and not really being seen as a title town, Baltimore has won six since then -- three by the Orioles, one by the Baltimore Colts and two by the Ravens, who were, of course, stolen from Cleveland. But, yeah, Cleveland fans have no reason to be bitter about the Ravens or Art Modell. Oh, and Brandon Weeden is 15 months older than Joe Flacco.
XXIII. Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance seems to have been as universally liked as a Super Bowl performance can be in modern times. I guess if the NFL books a current, popular act that is young and talented and attractive, people will like it. Huh. Interesting approach.
XXIV. By the way, did you see when Beyonce looked at us like that? I think she likes us. There was even a finger lick and a blown kiss. I hope Jay-Z didn’t see that. It would be really awkward the next time we hang out.
XXV. You have to wonder if Ozzie Newsome and Ravens owner/1980s vampire Steve Bisciotti are a little bit annoyed with how well Flacco played this past month. Now they’re probably going to have to pay him a fortune. The ideal scenario for the Ravens, from a business sense, was for the team to win the Super Bowl on the strength of Ray Rice and the defense -- as the team has been winning for five years -- so they could say to Flacco in contract negotiations: “Look, we win despite you. We could replace you easily. You’ll take this offer and be quiet.” But now they have to give Flacco all the money. Way to mess everything up, Joe.
XXVII. Probably the worst part about the Super Bowl power outage is that all the credit card machines went down. Have you seen how much a beer costs at a Super Bowl? No one carries that kind of cash on them. Not even drug dealers.
XXIX. The NFL Hangover reader question of the week:
@djgalloespn What's your wildest conspiracy theory for the power outage?
— Mike Chamernik (@MikeChamernik) February 4, 2013
Most conspiracy theories are theories that very few people subscribe to. So I’d say the wildest conspiracy theory is the official story.
XXXII. Joe Flacco might not be ELITE, but he has returned gunslinging to the NFL. Somewhere, Brett Favre was watching the playoffs and appreciated watching a quarterback throw the ball as far as he possibly could down the field and hope for the best. And he was confused as to how none of Flacco’s passes got intercepted.
XXXIII. What Gisele would give for a few receivers who can catch like Anquan Boldin.
XXXV. I think the non-Beyonces in Destiny’s Child were lip-syncing. OUTRAGE. Also, they were getting in the way of some of the camera shots of Beyonce, which was even worse.
XXXVI. I would be more impressed by “Kaepernicking” if he kissed his triceps. That would show some remarkable flexibility.
XXXVII. So Joe Flacco has a Super Bowl title and just look at these immaculately manicured eyebrows… plural. I guess the jokes have to stop now. Until September. Or a really poor preseason game.
XXXVIII. Now it’s officially official: the preseason Super Bowl champion Eagles, Panthers and Jets did not win the Super Bowl. What an upset!
XXXIX. We are three years from Super Bowl L. L. Super Bowl L. It’s time to end the Roman numeral thing. Because Super Bowl L sounds lame. Also, I had to look up what 50 is in Roman numerals, so it’s also confusing. At least for me. But maybe you all were Roman numeral majors. There are many good jobs in that field.
XL. Ray Lewis got shoved all over the field in the Super Bowl as if he were Manti Te’o in the BCS title game. He definitely should retire. But in the case of Lewis, if he got 100 percent healthy and played just the second half of the season and playoffs, I see no reason he couldn’t keep playing.
XLIII. Quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Dennis Dixon now have Super Bowl rings. Using simple sports logic, this means they are now superior quarterbacks to Dan Marino. Sorry, Mr. Marino. Also, in an NFL season in which the entire point was apparently the humiliation of Andy Reid, Juan Castillo won a Super Bowl ring, too. Go Chiefs!
XLVI. Many Ravens fans will likely want to hear the “haters” and the “critics” say that they were wrong and that the Ravens are the greatest greats who ever greated. But why? Many people are still going to think that Joe Flacco is just the new Eli Manning and happened to step in something for a month. Some people are still going to see the title as tainted because they think Ray Lewis cheated. Some people are going to think the Ravens won because of a no-call by the refs on San Francisco’s final play. So what? The Ravens won the Super Bowl. It officially happened. I think. The NFL’s website doesn’t have it up yet, but Wikipedia does and that’s all that matters.