Sparks flew for long enough in a highly charged match-up during which the Baltimore Ravens just held off San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in a never-to-be-forgotten game.
It was the first time the 49ers had lost a Super Bowl on six trips to the title game as the NFL's hottest quarterback Colin Kaepernick could not quite match the achievements of predecessors Joe Montana and Steve Young.
But Kaepernick beat Montana's record of the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in Super Bowl history as he hauled the 49ers back from 28-6 down to within two points at one stage.
Inside the final two minutes, the 49ers were within five yards of the endzone but three successive incompletions meant the Ravens held firm.
It was Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, with three touchdown passes in the first half and no interceptions in the postseason, who took the game's MVP award.
John Harbaugh, the Ravens' head coach, thus upstaged his younger brother Jim, in charge of the 49ers.
"The way it was 28-6 and the lights went out with whatever happened, I just knew with Jim Harbaugh being on the other sideline and all of those years we have been together that game was going to be a dogfight right to the end," said the older Harbaugh.
"Those guys were coming back. There is no greater competitor and no greater coach in the National Football League or in the world, as far as I am concerned, than Jim Harbaugh. The way that team played proves it. What they have done the last two years in the National Football League is unprecedented. They showed it today the way they battled back and fought right to the end. That is who he is and that is who they are. I could not be more proud of him and what he has done."
It was a day for hometown players to step up. Jacoby Jones scored a pair of touchdowns, his second on a 108-yard kick-off return at the start of the second half, the longest in Super Bowl history.
Ed Reed also intercepted Kaepernick in the first half, the first 49ers quarterback to throw a pick in the Super Bowl in 170 attempts.
"Jacoby has been a blessing to this team and we are just so grateful to have him on this team. He is right from here in New Orleans," added Harbaugh. "Ed Reed is right from here in New Orleans and made the interception. For those guys to do that in their hometown, but those were just two phenomenal plays. The kick return was well-blocked and Jacoby made it with his speed. The other play to go up, make the catch, go down and outrun someone to the corner of the end zone. It should go down in Super Bowl history."
The Ravens' coach admitted it was an emotional roller-coaster facing his brother: "It was a great joy, but it was also the most difficult thing in the world to understand that he is over there.
"I think anybody out there who has a brother can understand what that is all about. It is nothing that anybody cannot understand. I just believe in him and I have so much respect for him. I admire him. I look up to him in so many ways and I am hurting for him in that sense."
Quarterback Flacco proved a safe pair of hands throughout the play-offs and the win ensured linebacker Ray Lewis ended his career with another Super Bowl ring.
"I am a Joe Flacco fan. For him to come in and do what he did today, and make some of the throws he made, that is what we've always seen. We've always said that when you win a championship, one man won't win the ring. It will be a complete team. Today, we won as a complete team," Lewis said.
Flacco added: "I think it is fitting that we won that way. We are a tough, blue-collar city and that's the way our games kind of come down. We were up 28-6 and I'm sure a lot of people were nervous but were kind of like, 'This one might be pretty easy.' And the next thing you know, the Niners get right back into it and play great football and we had to grind it out."
For San Francisco, and their defensive-line coach Jim Tomsula, who spent five years with the Scottish Claymores, there is some comfort in the fact that there is still plenty of growth in this team.
"It's a tough situation to be in because we expected ourselves to win, but we couldn't pull it off," said tight end Vernon Davis. "We've got to look at this as a blessing because we didn't have to be here, but we made it. We've always got next year; we've got next season."