The Super Bowl always finds a way to be compelling.
In a runaway game with a lackluster halftime and too many boring commercials, the NFL took a lights-out approach to re-energizing the game.
A blackout let the San Francisco 49ers regroup, but the Baltimore Ravens won't need the power outage as an excuse for folding. And linebacker Ray Lewis got his storybook exit.
Baltimore outlasted San Francisco 34-31 Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday after surviving a fourth-down pass that left 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh screaming for a holding call. It was that close in the end.
The expected showdown between 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Ravens passer Joe Flacco certainly happened, even if each excelled in a different half. Ultimately, Flacco was the difference maker with three first-half touchdowns.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Flacco's postseason wouldn't change the price of re-signing the free agent. That's delusional. The Ravens just saw the price double after a postseason in which Flacco tied the immortal Joe Montana with 11 playoff touchdowns and no interceptions. The Ravens will have to franchise tag Flacco to keep him, and that's a mountain of money.
Flacco seemed unappreciated by Baltimore fans until the postseason, much like New York Giants fans dissed Eli Manning until he won two Super Bowl rings. But Flacco was brilliant throughout the postseason, finding open receivers deep. The Ravens were so cocky they gave away a field goal in the first half with a failed fake.
Jacoby Jones' 108-yard kickoff return that gave Baltimore a 28-6 lead seconds into the second half probably sent a few viewers over to "Downton Abbey" or "Betty White's Off Their Rockers," but the Super Bowl is still too big for even casual fans to turn away from so soon.
Well, until the 34-minute blackout in which even PBS tweeted, "This might be a good time think about alternative programming. #SuperBowlBlackOut #WeHaveDowntonPBS."
Ironically, Beyonce's halftime show wasn't a lights-out performance. The superstar was pretty good but not close to Prince, Aerosmith, Britney or Madonna in recent years. The stage was the best part, though costumes that begged for a wardrobe malfunction were intriguing.
The halftime show never appeals to a wide demographic, and there was nothing wrong with Beyonce's performance, but this is the biggest stage worldwide every year, and more is expected.
Same goes for the commercials. The Jeep/USO ad exiting halftime was the night's best spot. The kid with a shiner driving the Audi, the goat eating Doritos and men playing dress-up to eat those chips, Stevie Wonder, the Clydesdales and Go Daddy commercials were solid. And I'm so there for "Iron Man 3" and "Star Trek."
But so many commercials, like Pepsi, Oreos and Cars.com, were just average, and the old people making out at Taco Bell was disturbing even for someone who has passed the AARP threshold. For the megabucks paid, great should be the new norm. Many watch the game just for the commercials, and these spots were a snoozer compared to recent years.
Unlike the game.