Monday, February 4, 2013

A super Sunday indeed as Ravens win NFL Championship

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 9:48 AM


It was definitely a memorable Super Bowl Sunday inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as the Baltimore Ravens became champions with a 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers. The game was like a delicious gumbo as the event will be remembered for a handful of story lines that acted like key ingredients. Sunday February 3 featured great weather, a fun environment both inside and outside the dome, fantastic play on the field and of course the blackout.

Blue skies with temps in the upper 60’s to low 70’s, depending if you were in or out of the sun, made the hours leading up to the game very enjoyable. It was weather that made Super Bowl weekend seem like a mixture of Fat Tuesday meets French Quarter Fest as sidewalks from the CBD to the French Quarter were crawling with purple and red colored fans. Visitors and local enjoyed the weekend of music and food and on Sunday it all came together for one final big day.

Saints fans didnt care that their Black and Gold werent in the big game.
  • GUS KATTENGELL
  • Saints fans didn't care that their Black and Gold weren't in the big game.

On the bus trip from the media center to the game, a trip that took a good 30 minutes due to traffic, you saw tail gate spot after tail gate spot. There were concerts on a large scale along the riverfront and in big tents like the one we passed on Convention Center Blvd which had streams of fans going to either the NFL Experience or a concert in the River Walk Parking lot. I assume that this is where many of the locals decided to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday, as folks from those in line for the concert to those families holding the hands of kids a good many of them were sporting Saints jerseys.

A Jazz band played atop a parking garage while fans streamed towards the security check points down below.
  • GUS KATTENGELL
  • A Jazz band played atop a parking garage while fans streamed towards the security check points down below.

In fact, one crew decided that the front of a building on Poydras, a few blocks before Loyola, was the perfect spot to set up “Saints Country”. Yup Saints fans decided there were going to dress like it was their day, put up flags, and grill while watching Ravens and 49ers fans walk by. There were even bead throwing fans atop balconies at restaurants, parking garages and even pickup trucks that made the slow crawl around town.

There were two main entry points for fans at Girod Street and Poydras so from Loyola to the dome it was a pedestrian area only. I walked up the Girod entrance at first mainly because our bus driver got lost and after stopping to ask a fourth cop “where the coliseum was?” the media members on the bus mutinied and asked he pull over and let us out by the post office on Loyola. Walking up to the entrance we were greeted by folks wearing Mardi Gras costumes to go with a jazz band. The media marauders were then told to take the tunnel like passage from Girod to Poydras were out entrance was and passed countless fans for both teams adding a Mardi Gras flare to their jerseys. A sea of people walked on Poydras towards the dome where speakers blaring music and contests to see who could do the best Ray Lewis “WHOOOO” yell were taking place on the corner.

Security check points were in a number of tents staged on Poydras.
  • GUS KATTENGELL
  • Security check points were in a number of tents staged on Poydras.

The lanes for security began basically on the Poydras entrance of the Benson Tower and as we were corralled between barricades while yet another jazz band played on top of a parking garage to our right. Massive security tents lined up the river bound side of Poydras uniquely adorned with the logo and a picture of the previous nine Super Bowls the city has hosted. Security flowed and I thought it was a great job and easier for the fan to be honest. Once through the security checks on Poydras where your ticket was scanned, you were cleared so once up the ramp and along the dome as you walked around there were food, drink and merchandise vendors. No having to walk through congregations of people waiting to go into the gates just open space and as all the doors to the dome were open.

On top of the parking garages facing Benson Tower and Champions square more food and drink vendors were found along with activities where fans could throw the football, take pictures with unique sets. Halfway between Champions Square where a band was performing was where fans could wait to take a picture next to the Lombardi Trophy. The Saints presence wasn’t just on the streets around town by the fans wearing jerseys as the Saintssations were scattered around the many gates and sets around the dome taking pictures with Ravens and 49ers fans and yes there were in game day outfits.

THE GAME EXPERIENCE

Kudos to the NFL for making the experience of watching the game in the seats as enjoyable an experience as I’ve ever had with the many entertainment features for fans throughout the game. Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that it was a goal for fans attending games to enjoy some of the comforts that have made staying at home an increasing trend. To start off with Verizon a major sponsor set up a wireless network that anyone in the stadium could connect to which made using a mobile device such as your phone, tablet or computer easier. Throughout the game announcements were made on the video boards to tweet pictures of your game day experience to a special hash tag and those pictures were routinely shown during pregame and commercial breaks.

There was a stadium pregame show with a panel of hosts that included Hall of Famers such as New Orleans native and Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk that talked about keys to the game and showed video segments that featured both teams through the season, media day and the week that was for the NFL being in New Orleans. Once the game began, there were video scoreboards that constantly updated stats, drive information and animation that added to the game you were watching. Also in between quarters there would be a live look in from the control truck were a host gave information such as stats, trends and things to look for in the upcoming quarter.

I was really impressed with how the NFL used the in-house feed on the screens and television as if it were being broadcasted. No doubt the league brought in a crew and had a separate broadcast truck to do this. They had multiple cameras, the replays were instant, the looks and cut-aways to players and coaches before-during-and-after plays were just like watching a prime time game at home.

THE BLACKOUT

I’m sure everyone knows by now that just after the second half kick off the stadium suffered a power outage that last 34 minutes. It’s a story unfortunately that is being talked about a lot nationally as had national writes such as Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde claiming New Orleans will never get a Super Bowl again on Twitter and the likes of ESPN’s Steven A. Smith saying someone should be punished.

The Southern University bang performed before the game entertaining the masses as always.
  • GUS KATTENGELL
  • The Southern University bang performed before the game entertaining the masses as always.

Look no one is happy that the season’s most important game came to a halt and will now unfortunately be mentioned every time Super Bowl XLVII is brought up. All I can say is yes for a second because of the world we live in there was a moment of “uh-oh”, but inside the stadium no one panicked and quite frankly people used the time to get more drinks such as an $18 cocktail.

I’m frankly amazed surges don’t happen more frequently in events like this. There were cables all over the place and when you think of the amount of things that are being powered it’s mind bogging from powering the press areas with power strips, to the many televisions, lights, high end tech gear and lights for the halftime show I can’t imagine the nightmare that is to coordinate.

“We sincerely apologize for the incident,” said Superdome spokesman Eric Eagan. Late Sunday night Entergy and SMG, the company that manages the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, issued a statement to explain the power loss.

"Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue.

"Backup generators kicked in immediately as designed. Entergy and SMG subsequently coordinated start up procedures, ensuring that full power was safely restored to the Superdome.

"The fault-sensing equipment activated where the Superdome equipment intersects with Entergy’s feed into the facility.

"There were no additional issues detected. Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality."

New Orleans will be bidding to host the 2018 Super Bowl and while the blackout is a top topic right now I highly doubt that it will affect the city from hosting its 11th big game.

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates a midst the falling confetti following the win.
  • BALTIMORE RAVENS
  • Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates a midst the falling confetti following the win.

THE PLAY ON THE FIELD

While everything above is nice and helps when you consider fans were paying as much as $14 dollars for nachos or $15 dollars for a souvenir bucket of popcorn, everyone was in attendance to watch the 49ers and Ravens battle it out for a championship.

Baltimore behind quarterback Joe Flacco’s MVP performance jumped out to a 22-point lead in the game. Local products Ed Reed and Jacoby Jones each contributed in the win. Reed had a first quarter interception and Jones had a 56-yard touchdown catch in which he caught the ball falling down, got up and juked 49er defensive backs in a sprint into the end zone. Jones also opened up the second half with a Super Bowl record-breaking 108-yard kickoff return.

Flacco finished 22 of 33 for 297 yards to go with three touchdowns capping off a remarkable post season run where he threw 11 TDs and no interceptions.

It is the second Championship for the Ravens.

San Francisco made it a game as they scored 17 points in 4:10 in the third quarter cutting a 28-6 deficit to 28-23. The 49ers got to within two following quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 15 yard touchdown run but failed to convert on the two point try that would have tied the game up at 31.

Kaepernick completed 16 of his 28 passes for 302 yards as the 49ers offense eventually got going and put up 468 yards of offense. Missed opportunities due to penalties and questionable play calling will not only haunt them but are a topic among the sports world as we’ll look back at how Super Bowl 47 was won.

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