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Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: February 12, 5:20 PM ET
A weird, wacky and wild Super Bowl

By Rick Reilly
ESPN.com

Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis' celebrations bugged some Niners when they moved to the postgame interview room.
At about 8 o'clock Monday morning, I was leaving the Baltimore Ravens' team hotel when a condo-sized Baltimore Raven, whom I won't name, came stumbling back.

His exhausted tie hung sideways around his neck. He seemed to be wearing somebody else's suit jacket. His wife was dragging, and so was her hemline. They hadn't slept, seemed a little foggy as to what all had just happened, and were grinning like they'd just eloped.

Which seems the perfect metaphor for catching up on loose ends of the longest, most bizarre, lights-out Super Bowl ever played.


Weirdest story of the night:

Ray Lewis says he was told by God to lay hands on Jacoby Jones, who scored two break-the-game-open touchdowns (and should've been MVP):

"I was just told to put my hand on his chest, and I rubbed my hands down his chest, and then I saw him break through."

Ohhh-kay.


Lewis isn't afraid to speak about his religion, and neither is his coach.

"God is gracious," John Harbaugh said afterward. "God is good. God is in control."

Except, maybe, of the stadium power grid?


Ed Reed
New Orleans native Ed Reed celebrates.

More than any other player, Ed Reed, the dead-mortal-lock Hall of Fame safety for the Ravens, was beside himself with glee afterward, pounding his salt-and-pepper hair in disbelief at what they'd just achieved.

"Oh man!" he kept yelling. "Oh my God! Is it real? Is it real? In the 504 [area code]! … Baltimore! Baltimore! We won it in paradise!"

You know people are happy when Baltimore gets called paradise.


Everybody's killing San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh for not letting one of his two hot backs -- QB Colin Kaepernick and RB Frank Gore -- have the ball at the Ravens' 5-yard line with a chance to win at the end.

"Even you reporters, you probably knew what we had in mind to do," said 49ers DT Ricky Jean Francois. "We just knew the ball was going in the end zone through Frank or through Kap."

Uh, no.

Instead, San Francisco threw it three times out of the four, including a fourth-down fade corner that went over the head of wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

But Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said they loaded up for the run, leaving Jim Harbaugh almost no choice.

Pees: "I always thought they were going to run. I really did. All the pressures down there were called for the run, not the pass. … We were not going to let them run on us, period."

Besides, Kaepernick said, he checked out of the called play to the fade to Crabtree. "It was something I audibled to at the line based on the look they gave us."


Jacoby Jones
San Francisco's Chris Culliver had a bad night. This Jacoby Jones grab on a 56-yard touchdown reception in front of the Niners cornerback is only one example.

Did Baltimore cornerback Jimmy Smith hold Crabtree on that final play? Depends on whom you ask.

"That was pass interference," 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. "I have two eyes, just like the referee has two eyes. But we saw it happen."

Crabtree: "If somebody grabs me, you expect the call, but you can't whine to the referee. … There was a lot of contact. And I don't even want to say this, but if the ball had been a little lower, giving me a chance to make a play, I'm sure they would've called it."

Chris Culliver, 49ers DB: "The referees see what they want to see."

Culliver must be seeing cross-eyed this week. He had to apologize for some really stupid anti-gay comments last week, and then had a brutal Super Bowl night. He gave up the first Jacoby Jones touchdown, then was called for a huge pass interference on a third-and-9 in the fourth quarter that kept the Ravens' drive alive and led to the the FG that made it 34-29. Without that mistake, the 49ers could've simply kicked a FG at the end to take a 32-31 lead. No wonder he was reported to be inconsolable in the locker room afterward.

No matter, for the next 40 years, at Harbaugh picnics, Thanksgivings and family photo shoots, the phrase most often heard will be, "That was [bleeping] holding!!!"


My favorite #blackout tweet was from comedian Joe Randazzo (@Randazzoj):

Guys I'm AT the #SuperBowl and this power outage is no joke. Most of us have broken into small but loyal factions. I am a now a doctor.

— Joe Randazzo (@Randazzoj) February 4, 2013


Remember the main character in the movie "The Blind Side"?

Well, his name is Michael Oher. Like Kaepernick, he was adopted by white parents. He's all grown up and has been playing on the offensive line for the Ravens for four years now. In the stands to watch him play was not only his adoptive mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy, but the actress who played her in the movie, Sandra Bullock, and their families.

When he won, they all about melted into a very large puddle.

"She [Leigh Anne] was just in tears," Oher said. "She was very proud. Without her, I don't know if I'd be here or not -- probably not. She opened up her doors to me into her home and into her family."


How'd you do on your prop bets?

Beyonce
Beyonce was joined on stage by Destiny's Child, not husband Jay-Z.

Nantz, by the way, gets my vote as postgame MVP, for fighting off Lewis' attempts to steal the microphone from him. It was close. Knuckles were white. But Nantz held true to the old sportscaster rule: Never give up the mike.

Can you imagine? We'd still be there.


Nearly had an incident in the shared interview room afterward.

Ray Lewis was going nuts at his podium, hollering, "We did it! We did it!" Which seemed to annoy 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman more than a little, because Lewis is no part of his version of "we."

Bowman looked over, exasperated, and then began to walk away. "You all might as well interview them, man," Bowman said, waving his hand. "They won. Can't do no interview with this noise."

Bowman stayed, but other players took note of it too.

"That will be motivation," 49ers tackle Joe Staley said, pointedly.


It's a good thing Lewis is retiring by the way. The man is completely out of eyeblack room on his face.


It may have been a weak night for New Orleans power lines, but it was a strong night for New Orleans bloodlines.

Two of the stars of the game both grew up in New Orleans -- Jones (two touchdowns) and Reed. In fact, Jones' mom whipped up some down-home cooking for a bunch of Ravens to start the week, including, "corn fish, potatoes and sweet corn, and sausage," Reed said.

Jones Who Should Have Been MVP grew up in New Orleans East, one of the sections hardest hit by Katrina, and he was euphoric.

"Me being able to come home and play like that was icing on the cake. You can drop the cherry on it, the strawberries, and the sprinkles."

Said Reed: "I'm ready to second line [dance] all the way up Poydras [Street]!"


And then there was this from assassin safety Bernard Pollard of the Ravens: "The confetti tastes so good!"


Weird coincidence: Before the game, both Harbaughs sang to their teams.

John sang to his Ravens Diana Ross' version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

It's unclear what Jim sang, but he tried it out on singing star Katharine ("Smash") McPhee on Saturday night.

"We're friends with the Harbaughs," McPhee told me before the game. "So we were over there [in his suite] and he came in and said, 'Listen to this, and see if it's good enough for me to sing to the guys?' And he was amazing! He has a beautiful voice! I just don't know what the song was. Maybe he wrote it?"


Pre-blackout Super Bowl: Baltimore 28, San Francisco 6.

Post-blackout Super Bowl: San Francisco 25, Baltimore 6.


The Harbaughs' famous brother-in-law, Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean, was on the field before the game, visiting with each coach.

During the game, he shared a profound text with the Harbaugh family, one he got from Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

"[The text] said, as a parent, you're only as happy as your unhappiest child," Crean told the Indianapolis Star. "I think that's an amazing statement and one of the most profound things I've ever heard. It fits what [his wife] Joani's parents are going through."


Sudden thought: You don't think Lewis is going to wear the eyeblack on a TV set next season, do you?

Not that there's anything, you know, wrong with that.


One last hotel story:

Late Sunday night, another Ravens player got in the elevator with his girl.

"Touch me!" he called to her, playfully. "C'mon over here and touch me! I'm a champion! How often do you get to touch a champion!"

If things go well, maybe forever?