Cleaning out the Closet
It’s been a week since that fantastic Super Bowl win and the glow still lingers. While we continue to wait for Jim Harbaugh to publicly congratulate his brother on winning Super Bowl 47 here are a fan’s insights on the season, the playoffs, and the Super Bowl.
I think there are 3 events that enabled the Ravens fabulous run to the Super Bowl:
1) the firing of Cam Cameron,
2) The foot injury to Jah Reed, and
3) The game-tying TD pass to Jacoby Jones in the Divisional Playoff game in Denver Game.
The playbook didn’t change when Jim Caldwell was promoted to offensive coordinator but the play calling did, and that was the trick. The Ravens rediscovered the rushing game on early downs and the middle of the field in the passing game. Jah Reed’s foot injury enabled 3 major changes to the offensive line. Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele went back to their natural positions and Bryant McKinnie reassumed his previous position at left tackle. End of O-line problems.
The Ravens were headed for another divisional round defeat when Jacoby Jones made that unbelievable catch of an underthrown Joe Flacco Hail Mary with 30 seconds left in the Denver game. For reasons we will never know but are eternally thankful for, Broncos safety Rahim Moore fell asleep on the play and allowed Jones to get behind him.
If any of these things don’t happen, the Ravens don’t even smell New Orleans.
Unfortunately, Art Modell was not voted into the Hall of Fame, and it may be quite some time before he gets this close again. The Cleveland media, who can hold a grudge only an elephant can admire, is patting themselves on their collective backs over the result. Let them gloat. Given the continual miseries of Cleveland sports, that’s all they have. But for all of Art’s qualifications, it’s now much harder for non-players to gain the necessary votes. It’s only 5 inductees per year and voters tend to focus on the players.
It’s time the NFL and the Hall of Fame separate deserving coaches, owners, and other officials from the player’s pool of candidates.
It’s beyond fortunate that Ray Lewis got to ride off into the sunset with a win. If the Ravens had lost, all the media would have focused on was how slow he played and how old he looked. And he did. There were no impact performances like in the 3 previous playoff games. Even John Harbaugh pleaded with Dean Pees and his staff not to let Ray get isolated on Vernon Davis and Frank Gore. And if truth be told, Davis and Gore took Lewis to the woodshed all day.
In the past week I’ve heard a lot of talk in my part of town that the Superdome Blackout was staged. Here’s the conspiracy theory: The Ravens were ahead by 22 points, the 49ers were gasping for air and, most importantly, viewers (outside of Baltimore, of course) were reaching for the remotes in droves. Somebody instructed someone to pull the plug for a while to slow the Ravens down, allow the 49ers to reconfigure their offense, and so get back into the game. I don’t believe it, but it an interesting theory.
Was it pass interference on Jimmy Smith on the last 49ers’ offensive play? No, and fans shouldn’t be surprised given the history of this crew. Tony Lombardi noted before the game that Jerome Boger and his crews tend to let players play. As evidence please note that only 7 (seven) penalties were called the entire game. Michael Crabtree and Smith were tugging on each other, Smith did not have his arms around Crabtree, and the ball fell out of bounds. If Smith wraps up Crabtree and/or the ball falls into the end zone, then there is an issue.
Besides, if the 40-whiners want to complain about something, they should bark at Jim Harbaugh’s abominable clock and time-out management as well as the play calling on the last series.
As opposed to his brother who constantly looked like he was conducting spring drills and was wrapped so tight I thought he was going to snap in half on the sideline, head coach John Harbaugh was magnificent. Appropriately dressed for every occasion, eloquent, respectful, and quick with compliments, he could not have represented the City of Baltimore and the Ravens any better. In this season of uncertainty, multiple injuries, a mid-season slump, and all kinds of distractions on and off the field, he molded and guided this team of “Mighty Men,” as he calls them, into Super Bowl winners.
He now deserves another title:
John Harbaugh, NFL Coach of the Year.