USA TODAY Sports
I took the day off of work, sat on our red sofa and got ready for some football. Too bad the 49ers weren't ready for some football. Another slow start put a damper on my sunny day.
I hardly slept last night. I hardly slept the night before. I usually sleep good, but these are different times. A pressurized street cleaner woke me up before 7am. I should have known it was going to be a bad day.
Here in Australia, the game started at 10:30 am on Super Bowl Monday. No time to nurse a hangover. No time to go out for breakfast beforehand. No time to work half a day on either side of it. The day was requested off in November, just in case. My boss said he'd go for the Ravens, because he likes 'The Wire.' It should be noted he doesn't know a thing about football. Most Australians don't.
I went with my roommate to the local supermarket to get some hot dogs and snacks. Apparently Australians do know something about Super Bowl Monday as there were no corn chips anywhere. It was shaping up to be a bad day.
Watching the Super Bowl here is a bit different. Instead of the onslaught of $4 million dollar per half-minute ads competing for commercial of the year honors ,you have exactly what you would expect from Monday afternoon day time advertising. Cockroach spray, life insurance and acne solutions take center stage and you see the same ad multiple times during the course of the game.
With the game underway, it was obvious from the start that we were flat-footed. Three touchdowns in five first half drives by the Ravens let us know what we would be in for. We managed six points in the same stretch. Jacoby Jones' record-breaking kick return to open the second-half appeared to be a back breaker.
Then a funny thing happened. The lights went out in the Superdome. It was a bad day for a certain facilities manager.
The 'Team of Destiny' banter thrown around all week came to mind. A massive, half hour delay threw darkness on the greatest spectacle on Earth. One team would come back from the break flat. Which would it be? The 49ers couldn't play any worse than they had to that point. It would take the Raiders to do that. Maybe our Niners were the team of destiny.
A new team emerged from the shadows. The 49ers we know and love were ready to play football. It was exciting, exhilarating and everything I expected. It was too little, too late. We lost the game 34-31. The Ravens are the Super Bowl champions, and deservedly so.
There's been a lot of complaining about the referees and a missed pass interference call. There were others, as well. None of the calls would have given us a victory, per se, but add to the sting. Wasted opportunities did more damage than a yellow flag could have reversed.
We outgained the Ravens by nearly 100 yards. Our offense was more dynamic. But we made the mental mistakes that have pockmarked our season like acne on a teenage fry cook. The Ravens didn't. Two costly turnovers and a kick return that somehow took our coverage team by surprise not only gave the Ravens 14 points, but took points off of the board for us in the case of the LaMIchael James fumble.
The 49ers started slow, lost the turnover battle, went 2 for 9 on third down and 2 for 6 in the red zone. The Ravens bested us in all three categories and you simply don't win games in such a fashion, even if you are the better team, as many 49ers and their faithful are claiming. As we know, and usually are so happy to point out to other teams' fan bases, all that matters is the ring. The Ravens got it.
Some of you live in horrible places, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts. I don't mean to say those places are lousy, just lousy to be a supporter of a non-local franchise. It's also a lousy place to spend a February. Melbourne will be 90 degrees and sunny tomorrow.
Nobody here gives a rat's ass about the game and that makes it a bit easier. Nobody here hates the 49ers, or likes the Ravens. They'll ask how 'my' game went, see that we lost, and console me. They're all more concerned about my feelings than the outcome of the game. It takes the sting off of it a little bit, but it was still a bad, corn chip-free day.
Being a Sheep
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