I: The term "elite" is thrown around far too casually but, regardless of how we should properly characterize Joe Flacco's overall body of work and/or current ranking among NFL quarterbacks, it is indisputable that Flacco just authored one of the greatest postseason runs ever by a quarterback: 11 touchdowns and no interceptions while leading the Baltimore Ravens to road victories against teams helmed by the two best quarterbacks of this era (Tom Brady and Peyton Manning) en route to capturing the Super Bowl MVP after dissecting a dominant San Francisco 49ers defense by completing 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Call him Bazooka Joe, because he has a cannon for a right arm, a cannon that blows apart opposing defenses with accurate downfield shots at crucial moments.
II: Boomer Esiason nailed it; Esiason gave his CBS colleague (and former
Ray Lewis teammate) Shannon Sharpe credit for directly asking Ray
Lewis about Lewis'
role in the still-unsolved double murder of Jacinth Baker and Richard
Lollar for which Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice but
Esiason bluntly stated what no one on ESPN (and just about every other
media outlet) dared to say: Lewis' answers about that crime are
completely unsatisfactory and Lewis' legacy is tainted by that crime.
Lewis' comments to Sharpe were particularly callous and heartless; Lewis
said "God has never made a mistake" and Lewis not only took credit for
paying money to the victims' families (which he did not out of the
kindness of his heart but to settle civil lawsuits) but he declared that
his success on the football field after those murders proves his
innocence because he believes that God would never elevate to prominence
someone who did wrong. By Lewis' twisted standard, no successful person
could ever be convicted of a crime; apparently, Lewis never heard of
Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and a myriad of other historical figures who
attained lasting fame/notoriety while committing horrific crimes. I am not
equating Lewis with Hitler and Stalin but the point is that it is
presumptuous for anyone--let alone a man like Lewis who has yet to
divulge all that he knows about the double murder--to speak for God
and/or God's plan. Lewis' abilities/success as a football player do not
justify anything that he does off of the football field, though it is
obvious that he and many others think otherwise; far too many athletes,
members of the media and fans apparently believe that if someone can get
15 tackles in a playoff game then it is OK if that person literally
gets away with murder (or, at the very least, is an accessory to murder
by keeping silent).
If Lewis truly wants to be a great humanitarian then he must give a
complete account of what really happened on the night of the double
murder--period, point blank. Nothing else that he says or does will ever
outweigh his role as participant and/or accessory in that crime. Lewis
can start by explaining what happened to the clothes he was wearing that
night, then he can explain how blood from one of the victims (Jacinth
Baker) ended up in his limousine and finally he can detail exactly what
he did and/or saw during the two killings.
III: Before the Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick said that there is no
reason to be nervous before a game as long as you prepare properly. That
sounds good but the reality is that great performers ranging from
Johnny Carson to Emmitt Smith have all admitted to being very nervous
before appearing on the biggest stage--and Kaepernick himself certainly
looked nervous at times during the first half of the Super Bowl.
Kaepernick was in a bit of denial prior to the big game but he adjusted
well and he almost led his 49ers to the greatest comeback in Super Bowl
IV: Steve Young said that the Super Bowl is often decided in the first
half because one team is not quite ready and falls too far behind due to
mental errors and mistakes. Even though the 49ers ultimately made the
game close, Young's description proved to be accurate (although his
prediction about who would win was wrong) and it must be admitted that
the game was essentially decided in the first 30 minutes (or, to be
precise, the first 31 minutes, as the Jacoby Jones kickoff return on the
opening play of the second half effectively put the game out of reach).
V: I don't have access to the "all 22" coaches' film so maybe I am
missing something but I just do not understand why the 49ers did not run
four plays out of the Pistol formation once they reached Baltimore's
five yard line on their last drive of the game; the passes that the
49ers attempted were high risk, low reward and I do not believe that the
Ravens could have stopped the run/pass option four straight times with
the game on the line: the 49ers could have spread the Ravens out to
mitigate the pass rush and then Kaepernick would have been able to
either run for the score or else pass to a receiver who was
single-covered. Yes, everything seems a lot simpler when viewed from
one's living room couch as opposed to when viewed from the sidelines of
the biggest game of the year but I think that John Harbaugh outcoached
Jim Harbaugh in that crucial sequence of plays.