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The best team didn't win the game

Posted Feb 4, 2013

Here are some day-after-the-game thoughts on the Super Bowl


Jason from Summerville, SC

How different would the Super Bowl be if companies didn’t pay millions of dollars for commercials?

It would be a football game, that’s all, just a football game. Had that been the case yesterday, it would’ve been a very good football game. When you strip away the show, and when the two teams stopped celebrating themselves after every inconsequential play, what we were left with was a very good football game. During those four plays on the goal line, when America’s collective heart was pounding, nobody was thinking about Beyonce, the commercials or Ray Lewis’ smoke dance.

Andy from Verona, WI

When both of their careers are over, who do you think will have won more Super Bowls, Green Bay’s “Man” or San Francisco’s, who was one late-game stand away from officially becoming “The Man”?

Aaron Rodgers has a one-game lead over Colin Kaepernick, and it’s difficult enough to win one Super Bowl, let alone several, so I’ll say Rodgers, but Kaepernick tied Rodgers in one category yesterday. Though it was in defeat, Kaepernick proved he is “The Man.” At game’s end, I thought he was the best player on the field. He made throws I didn’t think he could make. He has the total game. If he can stay healthy in that kind of offense, and that’s a big if, he can become a megastar. Joe Flacco won the MVP but Kaepernick will be the much more celebrated quarterback between now and the start of next season. Kaepernick is the face of change. He is the face of the new pro quarterback.

Molly from Verona, WI

Let’s say Baltimore’s punter was able to run out the clock before taking the safety. Would the game be over or would Baltimore still have had to free kick back to San Francisco before the game was officially over?

Game over.

Hans from Front Royal, VA

Vic, I was surprised by Jim Harbaugh’s remarks regarding the officials. He strikes me as a no-excuses type of coach. Do you agree with his comments?

I was shocked Coach Harbaugh didn’t take the high road. He’s a better coach than to taint his team’s gutsy rally by whining about the officiating. I’m not saying his opinion is incorrect, I’m just saying it doesn’t play well.

Al from Arcadia, CA

I was wondering what your thoughts are on the steady diet of sex and violence – not to mention bad taste – our young football fans were fed in the Super Bowl commercials. Don’t you think it seriously tainted the NFL?

That’s why I make a point of separating football from the show. My only interest in the game is the football played. I go into zombie mode for everything else, which is to say the commercials, the halftime show, the pregame shows, etc. I’m a football man, that’s all, but I acknowledge that the Super Bowl is much bigger than just a football game. It’s a spectacle that appeals to people of all ages and all cultures. It has become too big, too much of a TV event, to hold back. When TV charges what it does for commercials, it’s tough to say you can’t do this and you can’t do that. I accept all of that in exchange for those four plays on the goal line. It was worth it.

Mark from Woodbridge, VA

Did it seem there was too much movement on the offensive lines? The 49ers never seemed to get set before the snap.

I saw movement several times I thought would get flagged, but didn’t. What really surprised me was how the officials allowed that bow in the Ravens’ offensive line. It was Giantsesque, and it was a point of emphasis this season to not permit that. On several plays, the Ravens’ tackles were more than a yard off the ball.

Kyle from Salt Lake City, UT

Kurt Warner said in pregame that every Super Bowl has one pass that defined the game. He referenced the pass to the Titans player that was stopped at the 1-yard line when he played in the Super Bowl with the Rams. Do you think it’s fair to say that spectacular 56-yard TD pass to Jacoby Jones defines Super Bowl XLVII?

That might be it, but not to the degree Aaron Rodgers’ third-down pass to Greg Jennings defines XLV or Santonio Holmes’ winning touchdown catch defines XLIII. It’s difficult to find a defining play in yesterday’s game and I think it’s because the best team didn’t win. The Ravens were hanging on at game’s end, just as the Rams were in XXXIV. The Titans and 49ers each made the terrible mistake of falling too far behind. The Rams and Ravens won the games in the first half, but it’s usually the final minutes of the game that define it, as was the case with Mario Manningham’s catch in last year’s Super Bowl. This Super Bowl will be remembered for the Ravens’ goal line stand. It’s the only stand they made in the second half. Hey, they got it done at crunch time. I respect that.

Tay from Austin, TX

With teams attempting to follow the Super Bowl winner, what would be worth following about the Ravens except to get hot? Just get hot, baby.

People have the Ravens all wrong. The days of the Ravens being a team with a great defense and strong running game but a suspect passing game, are over. Truth be known, the Ravens defense was very ordinary this season. They won it all because they found a passing game they previously couldn’t find and was forever holding them back. They finally found “The Man.” Ray Lewis didn’t win that game. Terrell Suggs didn’t win that game. Joe Flacco did. If Trent Dilfer had been the Ravens quarterback, the 49ers would’ve walked all over them. So, if there’s something about the Ravens all other teams should try to imitate, this is it: Get a good passing game, because you can’t win championships without one. Ask the Ravens.

Andrew from Jacksonville, FL

Could you share any thoughts on the kind of player Dave Robinson was and what his late induction into the NFL Hall of Fame means?

Robinson’s election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame has cost him a great distinction. He no longer is the most underrated player in pro football history. That’s what I had long considered him to be. Robinson was the first Lawrence Taylor. If Robinson had played in today’s game, he would’ve been featured as Taylor was and he would’ve been a first-ballot selection.

Juan from New York, NY

So this wasn’t the defensive Super Bowl I was hoping for. I know this day came for you a long time ago but defense is finally dead for me. So defense doesn’t win championships; at this point defense can only lose them. What do you think?

Defense doesn’t win championships. If ever there’s proof of that, it’s the Ravens. They won a Super Bowl in 2000, before the major emphasis on the chuck rule and when teams were still allowed to play defense, but for more than a decade they had been a fixture among the top five defenses in the league and couldn’t get to the Super Bowl. This season, their defense slipped into the bottom half of the league, and they won it all.

Michael from Madison, WI

So you like drama, but you don’t like the show?

That’s correct. I like what’s real, and those four plays on the goal line were real. The halftime show was rehearsed. The commercials were produced. Those four plays on the goal line were crunch time, and crunch time is the ultimate drama.

Joe from Saint Paul, MN

On Friday, you talked about what a win would do for the legacy of Kaepernick. What do you think the impact of the Super Bowl loss will be for him and for the image of the “New Age” quarterback in general?

After the parades are over and the smoke has cleared from Ray Lewis, Colin Kaepernick will be the big winner from yesterday’s game. He was the most exciting player on the field. He struck a blow for “New Age” quarterbacks everywhere. It’s here to stay, or for at least as long as it takes to find out if a quarterback can avoid injury playing that way. I have my doubts.

Wyatt from Grand Rapids, MI

Vic, what’s more shocking to you, the 49ers looking shell-shocked until the lights went out, or the writers giving Adrian Peterson the MVP?

I’m delighted that Adrian Peterson won the Associated Press MVP award. It would’ve been a sin to ignore what he did this season. I think that had to be the final determinant. Peyton Manning has spent his whole career doing what he did this season, which is to say pile up fantastic passing stats and then exiting the playoffs in the first game. Peterson did something special. He did something memorable. He put a 3-13 team on his surgically repaired leg and carried it to the playoffs. As for the 49ers defense, I don’t know where its head was, but they weren’t ready to play. It’s tough for any offense to overcome a defense that allows 21 points – it should’ve been 24 – in the first half. The defense’s poor play was almost as shocking to me as Bill Cowher’s analysis that Kaepernick’s inexperience was the problem. What? Kaepernick was the only guy who gave the 49ers hope. He wasn’t the problem, the defense was the problem. I can’t help but wonder how the first half might’ve been different if one of Kaepernick’s receivers hadn’t covered up the tight end on the first play of the game. How do you make that mistake on the first play of the game? It was scripted. He had all week to think about it.

Dave from North Potomac, MD

Vic, I sure hope the Packers defense was paying attention. The Ravens showed how you run a 3-4 against a team like the 49ers.

They did? The 49ers gained 468 total net yards; they had a 300-yard passer and a 100-yard rusher. I saw Joe Staley run through Ray Lewis as though Lewis was smoke. I don’t know what game you were watching.

Aaron from Washington, DC

Hey, Vic, who says a little heart can’t carry a team? Looks like Ray Lewis’ heart inspired some magic.

Some people like the show.

Travis from Bloomington, IL

Vic, my little sister wrote letters to every player on the Packers roster telling them why she liked them. She enclosed football cards of the player and asked them to sign it. Donald Driver’s card was the first one to come back in the mail and, of course, it was signed. One more reason he gets the loudest ovation of any player at Lambeau. Who do you think will be the next fan favorite? I don’t know if anyone can replace Driver.

That’s a great story and it reminds me of a story I can tell you. When my boys were young, I took them to see the movie “Rudy.” The oldest one complained. He wanted to see one of those “Terminator” type movies in the theater next door. “You’re going to see Rudy and you’re going to like it,” I said. About 20 minutes into the movie the complaining stopped. On the ride home, the oldest boy said, “Thanks, dad, I liked the movie.” The youngest one hadn’t spoken in a long time. All of a sudden, he asked, “Where’s Notre Dame, dad?” I told him it was in South Bend, Ind. “Who’s the coach?” he asked. I told him it was Lou Holtz. Nothing more was said. Two weeks later, a package came to the house. Inside the package was an autographed picture of Lou Holtz. That did it. “Touchdown Jesus” had claimed another soul. The moral of the story is that something as simple as a person’s signature can win a person’s favor forever. Donald Driver spent 14 years doing that. It’s wide open for someone to take his place, but it has to be accompanied by performance. I have two tickets for Driver’s retirement party waiting for you and your sister. I hope you can use them. For those fans that won’t be attending Driver’s retirement party, packers.com will live-stream the event so you might also enjoy one of the big days in Packers history.

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