Steve Livingstone reports from the Super Dome in New Orleans
The Baltimore Ravens had to overcome a bizarre power cut that sparked a fierce fourth-quarter rally by the San Francisco 49ers to claim their second Vince Lombardi Trophy in an electric Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
The game had been dubbed "The Bro Bowl" with brothers Jim and John Harbaugh the respective head coaches for the 49ers and Ravens going head-to-head.
Loading article content
But this Super Bowl may now go down in history as "The Blackout Bowl" after events that shocked the 71,024 crowd inside the Super Dome and millions around the world.
Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player, dominated the 49ers in the first half throwing three touchdown strikes before wide receiver Joe Jacoby stunned San Francisco with a record-setting 108-yard kickoff return for touchdown to ignite the second half.
But the Ravens momentum was halted when the lights dramatically went out on the Super Bowl: a power outage caused by a reported surge, suspending play for more than 30 minutes allowing the 49ers to regroup and reduce the deficit to two points with just minutes left in the game.
Ironically, this was the first Super Bowl hosted in the infamous dome following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which tore the roof off the stadium and left hundreds of storm survivors in misery and squalor without electricity.
The stoppage was greeted with boos from the fans and chaos for CBS's worldwide broadcast of the NFL finale. It was also another super-sized black eye for the NFL after a shortage of seats marred Super Bowl XLV in Dallas two years ago.
Commenting on the delay that almost cost his team the title, Ravens head coach, Jim Harbaugh, said: "Both teams had to deal with it. They obviously dealt with it better than we did. It allowed them to turn around the momentum of the game."
The outcome capped a victorious end to the controversial career of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced that he would retire after the game - but despair for former Scottish Claymores coach Jim Tomsula, now a defensive line coach with the defeated 49ers.
Earlier, the NFL had emotionally supercharged the start to its annual extravaganza with a poignant tribute to the victims of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, with 26 of the school's pupils accompanying singer Jennifer Hudson in a touching rendering of America the Beautiful.
On the field, the Ravens opened up with Flacco firing a 13-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Anquan Boldin jumping Baltimore out to a 7-0 lead. The 49ers hit back with a 36-yard field goal from David Akers, making it 7-3.
Flacco tossed a one-yard scoring pass to tight end Dennis Pitta at the start of the second quarter to extend the Ravens lead to 14-3 and underlined Baltimore's first-half supremacy launching a 56-yard bomb for Jones who danced past three 49ers defenders and into the end zone before Akers closed out the first half by converting a 27-yard field goal for the 49ers to make it 21-6.
The half-time performance from Beyonce, accompanied by a high-voltage light show, rocked the dome during the break but the 49ers were left powerless as Jones, now returning the restart kickoff, cranked out the stunning 108-yard return to move the Ravens 28-6 in front.
Then, the lights went out, but when normal service resumed half-an-hour later, it was the 49ers who sparked first with rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick tossing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree to bring it back to 28-13.
The 49ers fightback continued when they intercepted Flacco three minutes later and 49ers running back Frank Gore powered into the end zone from six yards out to reduce the deficit to 28-20 before Akers added a 34-yard field goal to make it 28-23.
The Ravens responded at the start of the fourth quarter when Justin Tucker kicked a 19-yard field goal to make it 31-23 but San Francisco answered back with Kaepernick scrambling in for a touchdown from nine yards out. Their two-point conversion attempt failed but the 49ers now trailed by just two points at 31-29.
Tucker struck another field goal to extend the Ravens lead to 34-29 and rather than give the ball back to the 49ers in good field position, Ravens punter Sam Koch ran out of his own end zone, conceding a two-point safety that allowed Baltimore to run out the game as 34-31 champions.