The Ravens won the Super Bowl. In five years, maybe three years, nobody will remember. The 2012 NFL season brought three story lines that overshadowed the title game. One distraction during the big game will be more memorable than the team that was victorious. We will also remember the replacement officials, and rookie quarterbacks. Congratulations to Ray Lewis and the Ravens.
In case you missed it, during the big game there was a rather lengthy delay. The “Heidi” game has lived on in lore for more than 40 years. While many do not remember the details, at 7pm Eastern Time on November 17, 1968, NBC flipped from the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets game to the made for TV film Heidi. The switch in programming occurred prior to Oakland scoring two touchdowns in the final minute and winning 43-32. A national audience missed the most exciting and deciding scores of the game.
On Sunday the audience didn't miss anything, they spent more than a half hour watching nothing. A power outage at the Superdome early in the third quarter sent CBS into filler mode. One can debate how this changed the complexion of the game, but the legend of Beyonce, the lights being dimmed, and Steve Tasker fulfilling a much larger role on the broadcast than anticipated will be remembered forever. Joe Flacco's fourth quarter third down and one back-shoulder completion to Anquan Boldin, and the Raven's defensive stand at the end should go down in history. But, much like Jeffrey Maier's interference during a Yankees and Oriole playoff game, or Heidi, the game will be remembered as a passing detail.
It is probably poetic that controversy, or at least distraction is our iconic image of this year's Super Bowl. The first month of the season was characterized by replacement referees. While our memories may be worse than the actual performance of the replacement officials, who were decent during week one, but a disaster overall, they are part of the reason Baltimore and San Francisco played in the Super Bowl. We will never know if the playoffs would have worked out differently had Green Bay received the second NFC bye, but when the replacement refs gave Seattle a win against the Packers, and Green Bay missed the bye by half a game, it certainly impacted who played where when in the postseason.
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Despite the Super Bowl delay, and lackluster officiating early in the season, it is the rookie quarterbacks of 2012 who will live on forever. The 1983 draft is known as the QB Draft featuring John Elway, Dan Marino, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, and Ken O'Brien in the first round. Half of the six have been enshrined in Canton, OH, as Hall of Famers, but only Elway won a Super Bowl. It seems incredibly likely that Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson are going to be starters in the NFL for a long time. Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden are not without hope. Brock Osweiler, Nick Foles, and Kirk Cousins may prove to be effective leaders. When it is all said and done this group will have as much success as not more than the 1983 class, and while we celebrate Luck and Company, the Ravens beating the Niners will be a distant memory.