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May 30, 2024

Baltimore claims second Super Bowl

By FRANK SCHIFF | February 7, 2013

After an entire offseason, the draft, training camp, pre-season, 17 regular season games, three playoff games, 57 minutes of Super Bowl intensity and a 34 minute power outage, the Baltimore Ravens’ season came down to five yards.

With the score 34-29 and under three minutes left on the clock, the San Francisco 49ers were on the cusp of completing the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Trailing 28-6 after Jacoby Jones’ 108-yard kick return, half the lights in the stadium suddenly went off, engulfing part of the dome in darkness.

Yet  the power lost in the stadium sparked a comeback in the 49ers.  By the time the lights came back, San Francisco roared to life, owning the rest if the third quarter by putting up 17 points in a little under four and a half minutes, shocking the Ravens.

Although dazed, the Ravens counter-punched in the fourth quarter.

Finally, the 49ers took the ball in the waning minutes of the championship game and drove down the field. After a 33 yard run by Niner’s veteran running back Frank Gore, and a two yard run by rookie running back LaMichael James, the Niners looked ready to capture their sixth Super Bowl championship.

But those five yards remained.

Although statistically the 49ers possess the best running game in the NFL, they elected to call three pass plays, second-and-goal, third-and-goal, fourth-and-goal, all to receiver Michael Crabtree, all incomplete.

The Ravens solidified their place in NFL immortality with their second world championship since moving to Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996.

“The game was a display of our entire year,” star safety Ed Reed explained after the game to ESPN. “It started great, got ugly and ended great—with 53 tickets to paradise.”

In truth, the game was an embodiment of the Ravens’ season. After racing out to a dominant 9-2 start the Ravens collapsed heading into the playoffs, firing their offensive coordinator and losing four out of five final contests.

Many NFL “experts” understandably overlooked the Ravens entering the playoffs. Sports logic suggests that the team playing their best football at the end of the season will charge into the playoffs, while those playing at their worst, will simply fade away.

But on January 2, the greatest Raven to ever dress in purple and black, future hall-of-fame linebacker Ray Lewis, announced that the season would be his last.

Baltimore rallied around their emotional leader and on the final drive of Lewis’ 17-year storied career, the Ravens dimmed the lights on San Francisco's championship dreams on three plays from the five-yard line.

The Ravens’ miraculous championship has the feeling of fate. After all, the Ravens’ season has been filled with mini-miracles. They repeatedly found ways to overcome the odds. Whether it was running back Ray Rice redeeming the Ravens’ playoff hopes with a fourth-and-29 yard catch and scramble in San Diego, or even more improbably, Jacoby Jones catching a 70-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the AFC divisional playoff game in Denver, Baltimore has proven that sometimes resilience, over skill, wins championships.

That, and the ability to weather the darkness.

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