By Louis Anderson-Rich
Hello and welcome to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans where we have the Baltimore Ravens taking on the San Francisco 49ers to see who will be crowned this season’s NFL champion.
The Super Bowl is finally upon us this year, one of America’s most loved and most watched sporting events.
But there’s a twist to this year’s final, it’s the first time two brothers are at the helm of the opposing teams.
Baltimore’s John and San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh have met only once before, in a 2011 Thanksgiving with older brother John’s Ravens winning 16-6, and now they’re duking it out on the biggest of sporting’s stages.
We bring you live streaming written commentary, video highlights (available immediately AFTER the final whistle) and all the action of the 2013 Super Bowl.
Beyonce performs at Super Bowl 2013 half-time (VIDEO)
Light failure causes 34 minute delay at Super Bowl (VIDEO)
LIVE COMMENTARY… Ravens 34 v 31 49ers
FOURTH QUARTER –
Ball is pumped downfield by Sam Cook and that's it the Ravens have won the 2013 Superbowl
1 Min: last chance for the 49ers...they've run out of downs...ball snapped by Ravens and it's held in the end-zone and run to safety..
2 Min: Not long to go now! 49ers from the five...Kaepernick is running right, looking for Crabtree! Fires it at him too hard! 3rd and goal, with 1.55 on the clock. Flag on the play. Kaepernick throws! Crabtree can't get to it! Massive play gone begging! Flag on the play though and the down will be replayed! Good job from Pierce on defence to hold up the 49ers attack by a couple of seconds.
4 Min:Kaepernick with the throw deep! Moss on the end but he can't hold it! Incomplete....now Kaepernick goes again down the middle for Crabtree who holds it! 49ers and the 40....Frank Gore gets the hand off in the next down and he races away down the left! Eventually pushed out of play and the 49ers are 10 yards out!
5 Min: Ravens with the snap, Flacco goes low to Pitta who can’t hold it and the throw is incomplete…Justin Tucker with the field goal! It’s good! Ravens further their lead.
7 Min: Ravens back to 3rd and seven, defence on Flacco is very good, three men aon him quick, Flacco gets the pass away! Incomplete. Flag on the play. 49ers called up for two offsides and the third down will be replayed.
8 Min: 3rd and inches for the Ravens, Flacco with a back shoulder pass for Anquan Boldin who dives and makes the catch! Flacco with another throw, Ray Rice picks up a first down this time.
9 Min: Only two points in it now! 49ers kick off and Jones has it and runs it up 22 yards…Flacco gets pushed back on the Ravens first down, drops off a short pass to Rice who makes a couple of yards…second and six for Ravens, Brooks gets up for San Fran and makes the tackle. Ravens lose three.
10 Min: Kaepernick again goes himself! He pushes out to the left! He has two to blitz past! He gets past both of them and goes over! TOUCHDOWN!...49ers taking a gamble and go for the two point conversion! Kaepernick overcooks the throw and it goes out!
11 Min: At the 18 Kaepernick goes for it himself but only makes a few yards.
12 Min: Kaepernick goes long for moss! Who gets in between two Ravens players and makes excellent ground! Now Gore goes on the charge on the first down and makes first again! 49ers edging closer.
13 Min: 49ers 1st and 10 on their 20 yard line….Kaepernick fakes to James and then goes to Gore who picks up about 5 yards…
14 Min: Ravens go up the middle! They get a yard drive and they don’t get near the end zone….Ravens again try to go up through the middle but the 49ers hold strong….Ravens just inside the 2 yard line! The offensive line has broken and the 49ers are up on Flacco very fast! He’s forced back and pushed wide! Over throws it. Fourth down for the Ravens and Tucker has a field goal chance from right out in front…which is very good.
15 Min: Flacco makes a great throw to Boldin 10 yards from the end zone, ravens with their first down.
THIRD QUARTER – 49ers on the comeback in the third! Can they complete it within the next quarter?
1 Min: Ravens looking to finish with a touchdown? Or will they play conservative, Flacco hands off for Pierce who runs wide left! Pierce shrugs off one tackle! Gets hit hard by the 49ers defence and stays down. That play closes out the quarter.
2 Min: Flacco goes back to Rice who spins and makes first.
3 Min: Andy Lee with the punt, Jones returns, Walker with a monster spear tackle!...Pierce runs it up the middle for the Ravens, Ravens niow 3rd and 3…Flacco goes wide right to Boldin who puts up the big fend into the helmet of Culliver who eventually grapples him to the floor. Boldin makes first down.
4 Min: 3rd and 7 for the 49ers, Kaepernick goes for Ginn right in the corner! Cary Williams goes up and bats it away excellently….fourth and 7 for 49ers, they go for the field goal! It’s no good but there’s been a flag on the play! Ravens’ Brown was judged to have run into the 49ers Akers so they will replay the down….Akers drills the field goal this time!
5 Min: Lee with the restart, Jones at the back, fumbles it! Picks it up and takes a knee…Flacco goes to the left for Rice on the Ravens first down, Ray Rice catches it then goes to ground! Fumble! Tarrell Brown recovers it for the 49ers! Ball back with San Francisco!
5 Min: Running back Frank Gore gets the hand off, he runs flat to the right, space opens up! Gore goes over the line! TOUCHDOWN!...field goal is good!
6 Min: Ravens offensive line lose it’s concentration for a second and Joe Flacco gets slammed by Brooks. Great sack. Koch with the punt for the Ravens, ball picked up by Ginn. Ginn goes around the outside, Ginn with a great return! 20 yards out! 49ers with a new zest!....Kaepernick fires a ball flat for Davis who runs nicely across the line of scrimmage and 49ers make first down.
7 Min: Jacoby Jones looks to get a big return from the restart once again but only makes it about 20 yards this time….first down and Flacco goes long for Smith but it’s incomplete.
8 Min: Kaepernick fires the ball to Moss who gets the first down….so the 49ers reset on halfway…ball hiked to Kaepernick who hands it off to Gore, no he dummies then sends it out to the right for Davis with space, Davis runs it out and makes first down….Kaepernick goes out to the left this time for Crabtree who gets in between two defenders! He bumps off one and runs over the line! TOUCHDOWN!...Akers gets the field goal.
9 Min: Kaepernick in the second down tries to find Crabtree! Crabtree has it! No he’s lost it! He only had 10 yards in front of him to go!
10 Min: 49ers second and five and Kaepernick finds himself with an open field, he picks up some good yards and then runs out.
12 Min: Ravens back on the attack, Flacco throws, Smith picks it out of the air and gets 10 yards.
14 Min: 49ers third and 13…Kaepernick goes wide right flings it to Walker who loses his helmet in the tackle and he can’t make first down. Andy Lee steps up for the punt.
The 34 minute delay is over and play will be resumed!
Power seems to be back on…commentators are back up and running and we will get back into this Superbowl very soon.
A quick update…lights still not back on, players are running through some casual training and wam-up exercises.
It seems there was a big surge through the stadium. Will this prove a catalyst for the 49ers to get back in the game?
There’s been a big power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome hence the big wait. We will have more information shortly.
14 Min: Kapaernick with the ball, he dummies once, twice, he’s run out of room and Jones makes the sack. Wheels falling off for the 49ers you feel.
15 Min: San Francisco kick off for the second half! Jacoby Jones takes the catch! He sets out on a run! He beats one, two, three! He’s in space! He’s over halfway! He’s scored! TOUCHDOWN! A 109 yard return! And the field goal is good…and that is not the way the 49ers would have wanted to the second half to begin…Crabtree makes some good ground down the left for the Niners.
Beyonce with a cracking halftime effort there. No wardrobe malfunctions, no lighting failures and no phallic guitars. It all went off without a hitch!
SECOND QUARTER – Ravens extend their lead. 49ers not looking like a side who has won every Super Bowl they’ve ever played in.
10 secs: Kaepernick rolls out to the right, looking, looking, can’t find anyone and ends up falling to the ground without making scrimmage…3 secs left Jennigs snaps the field goal and Lee puts it over.
1 Min: Massive throw from Flacco! It’s reached Jacoby Jones who falls onto his back 10 out from the end zone! He gets back up! He continues his run! Puts the gas on past McDonald and scores a TOUCHDOWN! Field goal is good…49ers with the ball on the Ravens side of the field. They need a touchdown to stay in it. Kaepernick throws to but it is incomplete. Now the Kaepernick unleashes a brilliant throw for Walker! Niners within 10 of the Ravens end zone. Another powerful throw from Kaepernick to Davis for a gain of 8 yards. 49ers 2nd and 2 and Gore can’t go up through the middle.
2 Min: Andy Lee with the kick down field and the Ravens have a down on the 30 yard line in their half…Flacco goes to Jones on the halfway line but the ball comes out of his hands. Flacco again throws very high, very long for Smith running down the right! Smith can’t quite catch and that’ll be an incomplete. But flag thrown on the play.
3 Min: 49ers from very deep in their own territory, they try to go the short and don’t even make a yard…this time Kaepernick goes long, Williams gets in front of Moss and almost gets the interception! 49ers try to push through the middle and they can’t make the first down so Ravens force the punt.
4 Min: Ravens 3rd and 9, Flacco throws for the end zone for Smith! It’s got too much on it and goes out of play….Ravens looking to make that interception count, and there’s a fake from Flacco, ball handed off to McNab wwho has Dickson blocking for him! McNab can’t make the corner and 49ers turn the ball over!
6 Min: Kaepernick drops fakes, drops back, throws very deep! Interception made! Ravens run it back up the field and is tackled. Big scrap breaking out as well! It’s an all in rumble from both teams!
7 Min: James with the pick up from the end zone, he slips a bit as he runs it back up the field, makes 20 yards.
8 Min: Flacco picks out Dickson in plenty of space! Man on his back! Spins away from him and makes 23 yards!...Flacco tracks back on the third down, finds Dickson with the ball 5 yards out from the end zone! Tackle made! But a flag is thrown on the play and the call is a personal foul by Ray McDonald on Dickson…Ravens practically on the end zone line, Flacco drops back deep, fires a flat ball to Pitta in the end zone! TOUCHDOWN!...Field goal is good.
9 Min: Pierce up through the middle to make first down but Patrick Willis smashes into him and stops him short!
10 Min: Ravens first and 10, Flacco pushes it wide right for Dennis Pitta and the Ravens have second and 2.
11 Min: Now Pierce makes the first up through the middle.
12 Min: ball back with the Ravens on their first, Flacco hands it off to Pierce who makes about 10 yards…Again Pierce up through the middle looking for the first down but 49ers hold strong.
13 Min: LaMichael James gets the hand off this time, he spins away from one! Fends off another! Tackled and fumbles! Ravens’ Corey Graham picks it up! Big play early in the second quarter.
14 Min: LaMichael James up through the middle and the Niners have a 2nd and 1…Kaepernick with the hand off to Gore who makes first down with his 7 yards.
15 Min: Tucker with a deep kick that flies into the end zone, no one there to catch…Colin Kaepernick fires a clever pass to Vernon Davis who makes up another 10 yards, 49ers on the halfway line…Davis receives another ball fired at him from Kaepernick. Makes first down, gets up and gets in the Ravens defence’s grill.
FIRST QUARTER – That’s the end of the first quarter and the Ravens lead!
1 Min: into the final 30 seconds of the first quarter, Flacco looks for Smith in the corner! Ball falls just ahead of Smith and just short of the end zone for an incomplete…Flacco takes way too long at the back and Ray McDonald gets the sack.
2 Min: Flacco fends off the 49ers defence, runs it flat to the right and throws a magnificent 40 odd yards!
3 Min: 1st and ten for the Ravens, Flacco tracks back very far before heaving a throw over to the left almost past the line of scrimmage…Rice is denied the first after trying to take it up through the middle…3rd and one yard and Rice squirms his way over the line of scrimmage to make first down.
4 Min: Another deep punt from the 49ers and Jones runs it down the right side for the ravens, makes good ground, almost up to halfway.
5 Min: Kaepernick fakes a throw! Goes flat to the right, hammers a throw to Crabtree but it’s just above his hands and that is an incomplete. Ravens defence pumping the pressure up, as Kaepernick gets sacked by Kruger out the back. 49ers go for the field goal from David Akers and its right down the middle.
6 Min: Again Kaepernick hands it off and tries to go up the middle with Gore.
7 Min: Kapaernick goes down the middle of the field for Davis with a great catch! Ravens defender comes across to him and charges him just he hits the deck. 49ers only 10 out.
8 Min: Another hand off from the 49ers and they make first down.
9 Min: Kapaernick searching for a runner. He sets off by himself and makes it about 2 yards from the line of scrimmage.
10 Min: Ravens with the kick-off goes deep in the End Zone and the 49ers take a knee to restart from the 20 yard line…Ravens defence is brutal on the first of San Francisco’s downs, they can’t buy a yard. Bit of handbags afterwards as well. Tension is high…second down is much better for the 49ers, Kaepernick with the throw straight down the middle for Crabtree who rolls away from one defender and makes another ten yards. Good ground made by the 49ers. 3rd and two for the 49ers….Kapaernick runs up himself and makes first down.
11 Min: Flacco gets in a bit of trouble and runs back 10 yards, then flat across the field, throws very long for Smith, too long it goes out beyond the end zone….Flacco goes to the end zone again and it just goes over the head of Smith! Flag on the play though, Brooks from the 49ers is called offside and it will be a replay on the 3rd down. Flacco with plenty of time on the third, Boldin jumps in the end-zone! Reaches it! Comes down! TOUCHDOWN!...the field goal is good.
12 Min: Flacco heaves it away down field for Cory Smith in lots of space, he’s caught it 20 yards from the end zone, 49ers defence puts him to the ground though.
13 Min: 49ers on their 4th so will punt it down field…Jones receives and makes it up near midfield. Good starting point for Baltimore…Flacco dumps it short to leach and picks up about 8 yards in the second down…Ravens smash their way up the field after a short pass from Flacco and make the line of scrimmage.
14 Min: 2nd down for the 49ers Kapaernick with the throw, but it’s incomplete..
15 Min: Justin Tucker kicks off and we are underway! His kick goes way deep right to the back of the end zone and the 49ers will have their first play…49ers start with two tight ends. Ball is hiked and Kaepernick waits awhile, finds Davis about 40 yards downfield but there’s a flag on the play. Illegal formation the call on the 49ers.
The coin toss has it’s own ceremony…Baltimore call the toss, and win it so San Francisco will receive.
Ray Lewis gets a shot on the big screen and the crowd are loving it.
And now the American National Anthem to be sung by Alicia Keys on a massive white grand piano in the middle of the field. America knows how to make a spectacle.
Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook elementary school chorus getting the musical aspect of the Super Bowl underway…
49ers have never lost a Super Bowl…pretty important stat.
Quick break and then we will get on with ‘the honouring of America’…I’m guessing that means the national anthem.
And now the NFC champions, San Francisco 49ers come out with all the fireworks and bangs and awesomeness that only the Super Bowl can really bring.
The Baltimore Ravens run out on the field to the epic sounds of U2…They’re doing it for outgoing lineback Ray Lewis they say..
Player’s almost on their way onto the field…
Big bro vs little bro today. Even the commentators are confused as to how they’ll be differentiating between the two. We’ll be going with coach John and coach Jim.
Kick off isn’t far away but in the meantime you can watch some of the $4,000,000+ adverts that will be specially aired during the Super Bowl 2013.
This Super Bowl is one of comebacks, of firsts and lasts, and - if San Francisco wins - the best.
A win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday gives the 49ers six championships, matching Pittsburgh's record number of titles in the Super Bowl era. Unlike the Steelers, the Niners have never lost one.
Of course, they haven't won one in 18 years, either.
"There's a tradition with the San Francisco 49ers, but these guys are paving their own way," says Hall of Fame receiver and three-time champion Jerry Rice. "They're playing with a lot of swagger."
Or as owner Denise DeBartolo York said, "We've come full circle and the dynasty will prevail."
Host city New Orleans has come full circle, too. Ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, losing a quarter of its population, abandoned by the Saints for an entire season, the city couldn't imagine hosting another Super Bowl. But as New Orleans recovered and rebuilt, it envisioned staging what Patriots owner Robert Kraft calls "the pre-eminent sporting event."
The NFL agreed it was time to return. And even if Commissioner Roger Goodell is despised here after slapping the Saints with suspensions and fines in the bounty scandal, the vibes from the French Quarter and Warehouse District this week have been supportive, even uplifting.
"It's also terrific for us to be back here in New Orleans," Goodell says, joking about voodoo dolls in his likeness. "Our 10th Super Bowl here, the first since Katrina, and it's clear this city is back bigger and better than ever."
There's the tale of the head coaching brothers, Baltimore's John and San Francisco's Jim, the first siblings to face off in a Super Bowl. And Ray Lewis, the pre-eminent linebacker of his generation on his self-proclaimed last ride with the Ravens. (His farewell party was somewhat sidetracked for two days this week when Lewis waved off a report that he tried to get unusual products like deer-antler spray to speed his recovery from an arm injury that sidelined him for 10 games.)
"There are so many storylines to this game that make it bigger than just the Super Bowl," 49ers CEO Jed York said.
Such as the Harbaughs, sons of a lifetime coach who took different paths to the top of the NFL.
Baltimore's John, older by 15 months, has made his career standing on the sideline with a headset. He's the only head coach to win playoff games in his first five seasons; his quarterback, Joe Flacco, has the same distinction as he heads into his first Super Bowl. Jim Harbaugh was a first-round draft pick and quarterbacked four teams in 14 pro seasons before going into coaching. He was an immediate success at the San Diego Toreros in the college Pioneer League, then at Stanford before the 49ers won a bidding war for him in 2011.
This week's family reunion has been light-hearted, though that will change.
"It's probably a little tougher emotionally," John Harbaugh says of facing his brother. "It's a little tougher just from the sense of I don't think you think about it when you're coaching against somebody else; it's more about the scheme and the strategy. There's a little bit of a relationship element that's more strong than maybe coaching against someone else.
"I'll have a better answer for you after the game. I've never been through this before. This is all new."
It's also new for the QBs, Flacco and Colin Kaepernick.
Flacco is no fluke, holding the career record for road playoff wins with six. But until outplaying Peyton Manning and Tom Brady this year, he hadn't gotten the Ravens to the Super Bowl. He has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in the postseason, padding a resume that soon will make him one very highly paid quarterback: Flacco's contract expires after this game. Even with a franchise tag applied by Baltimore, he'll make about $14.6 million next season.
"When you talk about winning, as quarterbacks in the playoffs," Flacco says, "I would think that all of them have Super Bowl victories. So that's really the only one that matters, and that's what we're trying to get."
Naturally, so are the 49ers, whose midseason adoption of the pistol offense to best use Kaepernick's dynamic versatility added a dimension no one has been able to stop. The Niners might never have taken such a huge step had incumbent Alex Smith, in the midst of his best season, not sustained a concussion on Nov. 11. Kaepernick took over and the offense took off.
Once Smith was healthy, he no longer was the starter. Jim Harbaugh gambled by sticking with the raw second-year quarterback who brought more game-breaking skills to the position.
Difficult decisions like that are sometimes foolhardy, sometimes inspired.
This one worked superbly, and Kaepernick stands one victory from joining Joe Montana and Steve Young as a 49er Super Bowl champion.
"It was tough watching this team do well and not being able to contribute," says Kaepernick, more recognized before his promotion for his collection of tattoos than for his strong arm and sprinter's speed. "For me, what kept me going was the fact that I might get an opportunity to get out there. When I did, I needed to take advantage of it."
The 49ers hope to take advantage in the same Superdome where they were at their most dominant, beating Denver 55-10 in 1990 in the biggest rout the Super Bowl has seen.
The Steelers are recognized as the true powerhouse of the Super Bowl era, which is nearly a half-century old. Four of those titles came in the 1970s, with Mean Joe Greene and the Steel Curtain shutting down opponents while Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Lynn Swann were scoring on them.
But the last two were in 2005 and 2008, and they've been perennial playoff qualifiers, too. That kept them in the football forefront.
For the 49ers the golden years of Montana, Rice, Young and Ronnie Lott ended with the 1994 season. They didn't even make the playoffs from 2003-10, and this is their first trip back to the Super Bowl.
Rice sees Super Bowl win No. 6 coming Sunday.
"We had players who played well in the big game," he says. "My best football that I played happened in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl. It's the same with these players."
None of whom, except for centre Jonathan Goodwin and linebacker Clark Haggans, has won a title. That's still one more ring than the Ravens have: Lewis is the sole NFL champion in Baltimore.
Lewis hungers for these teammates to taste their first title - and to do it in his last game.
"I've touched the Lombardi (Trophy), and I know how it feels," the perennial All-Pro says. "For these guys who've made this journey with me to feel that, it would be the perfect ending for my career."
Like Lewis, 49ers receiver Randy Moss also could be suiting up for the final time, although he hopes to play another year.
Grabbed off the scrap heap after his career spiralled into oblivion and no team would touch him in 2011, Moss didn't do much on the field (28 catches, 434 yards) this season. His loudest headlines came this week when he proclaimed himself the greatest receiver ever; maybe he's never seen Rice's numbers.
Teammates say Moss was very influential as a mentor and teacher.
"Randy's like my older brother," says Michael Crabtree, who emerged as a top receiver in his fourth pro season. "An older brother you would have that's been through a lot that you just can learn from just talking to him, watching him.
"He's a legend and I hope he'll be here next year."
Lewis won't be. He'll don the face paint, put on his No. 52 for the final time, and see if he can replicate the championship of a dozen years ago.
"You can never top the first one, because that's an unknown feeling," Lewis said before adding with a chuckle, eyes widening, "but a second one - that might be the only way you really can top it."