The Baltimore Ravens scored a victory for blue-collar America when the team defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, Sunday night in the thrilling, nail-biting 2013 Super Bowl.
You could say that it was the most suspenseful Super Bowl conclusion of all time and you'd have a reasonable point of view. At the very least, this game can take its place alongside the most exciting games in the history of the Super Bowl.
San Francisco was favored to win the game by 4 points, even though the Baltimore Ravens were the more seasoned and hotter team heading into the big game. The Ravens had already defeated New England and Denver on the road in this post-season. Rodney Dangerfield lives!
The point spread seemed to confirm, too, San Francisco's standing in the annals of American cities. Of course, few places anywhere in the world are more glitzy, picturesque, and glamorous than the City by the Bay, a true American original. But football games are decided on the playing field.
Why did Baltimore win a remarkable game, which it began by running off to a lopsided, 28-6 lead early on? Call it a tribute to character and resilience.
The 49ers are explosive and resourceful, all right. They're pretty darned resilient, too. The team didn't sulk and feel sorry for itself. Instead the 49ers roared back and made it a game up for grabs in the fourth quarter.
But Baltimore prevailed. I suggest that Baltimore won because of its blue-collar identity. It was as if the Ravens won a street fight. Professional football is not a contest of style points. The victorious team usually comes out on top because it virtually punches the opponent in the mouth and punches him again. It's a lot like the brawls you've witnessed in the street or on a sandlot.
Baltimore, the blue-collar team, had just enough character to withstand the Niners' furious second-half charge. After the lights went out in the New Orleans stadium for 33 minutes, the Ravens seemed to lose their collective edge — but only briefly.
Seldom has a championship team's style so well reflected the pace and charisma of its home town. The Ravens aren't a high-steppin,' arrogant bunch. The city of Baltimore — Bawlmer, if you prefer — had the right stuff to hold off San Francisco in the final minute.
The team knew how to win. And now the whole town can turn out in a day or two to celebrate the title in a joyous parade. The Ravens deserve it. Baltimore deserves it.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution. Click here to order a copy. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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