The Balitmore Ravens survived a 34 minute blackout and a comeback by the San Fransisco 49ers for a thrilling 34-31 win at the Superdome on Sunday night and their second NFL championship since 2001.
Leading by 22 points early in the third quarter when over half of the Superdome lights went out, the Ravens put up a huge defensive stand to hold off the 49ers who mounted their comeback after the power was restored.
"How could it be any other way? It's never pretty. It's never perfect. But it's us," coach John Harbaugh said after winning the sibling showdown with younger brother Jim. "It was us today."
San Francisco receiver Michael Crabtree was bumped in the end zone on the 49ers' final offensive play — the contact appeared incidental — but coach Jim Harbaugh insisted a penalty should have been called.
"There's no question in my mind that there was a pass interference and then a hold," Jim Harbaugh said.
According to officials, an "abnormality" in the power system triggered an automatic shutdown, forcing backup systems to kick in. But no one was sure what caused the problem.
With Ravens up 28-6, everything seemed to swing back in the 49ers favor after the lights went back on and Baltimore had to make four stops inside their 7 at the end.
"I think it speaks to our resolve, speaks to our determination, speaks to our mental toughness," John Harbaugh said. "That is what wins and loses games."
At 4 hours, 14 minutes, it was the longest Super Bowl ever.
Joe Flacco was named the game's MVP.
"They have to give it to one guy and I'm not going to complain that I got it," said Flacco.
Down by three TDs when the power went out San Francisco came back in search of its sixth Lombardi Trophy in as many tries.
Crabtree broke two tackles after a catch for a 31-yard touchdown to make it 28-13. Then, minutes later, RB Frank Gore scored on a 6-yard run making it 28-20.
Baltimore RB Ray Rice then fumbled at his own 24 yard line and 49er's kicker David Ackers booted a 34-yard field goal. The Ravens went on a long drive after that with their rookie kicker Justin Tucker scoring a 19-yard field goal.
San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick started scrambling then and scored on a 15-yard TD run, the longest for a quarterback in a Super Bowl, made it 31-29 but a 2-point conversion pass failed.
Tucker then kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it 34-29 with 4:19 left on the clock.
Kaepernick couldn't get the 49ers into the end zone on the final three plays, and Ravens punter Sam Koch took a safety to run the clock down for the final score 34-31.
The Harbaughs then met at midfield, "It's very tough," John Harbaugh said, referring to their conversation. "It's a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. It's very painful."
It was a bitter loss for Jim Harbaugh, the coach who turned around the Niners in the last two years and brought them to their first Super Bowl in 18 years. His team made a similarly stunning comeback in the NFC championship at Atlanta, but couldn't finish it off against Baltimore.
''Our guys battled back to get back in,'' the 49ers coach said. ''I thought we battled right to the brink of winning.''