Wacky, weird and wonderful Super Bowl

Story highlights

Mike Downey: Super Bowl XLVII seemed headed for a blowout -- until the blackout

The Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh game suddenly got a lot closer as the 49ers came alive

Among the highlights: Beyonce's halftime show, ref's failure to call a penalty on a decisive play

Downey: Overall, one of the ten best Super Bowls

Editor’s Note: Mike Downey is a former Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune columnist.

1. Good football game.

2. How could that ref not call that?!

3. The blackout.

4. Beyonce, wow, man.

5. A lot of bad ads.

Well, that’s basically it. Did I leave out anything?

Mike Downey
Mike Downey

These would be your top five Super Bowl talking points, wouldn’t you agree? Because if something more interesting happened on Super Bowl Sunday that’s still got you talking on Monday, I would very much like to know what it was.

F-words overheard in the winning team’s celebration, perhaps? (Hey, watch your Flacco mouth, pal!) Or that guy going 108 yards with a kickoff? How about a Harbaugh mentioned every 10 or 20 seconds on TV? Oh, and that cute Clydesdale. And the losing team’s quarterback, Colin I’m-So-Good-I-Can-Kiss-Myself.

And there were those sweet kids from Sandy Hook, singing “America the Beautiful” so beautifully, alongside the increasingly beautiful Jennifer Hudson.

OK, I suppose somebody out there might be talking about some of these things, too.

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    I personally thought John Harbaugh’s Ravens 34, Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers 31 was a truly cool Super Bowl, possibly one of the 10 best ever played. I have sat through quite a few bad, bad Super Bowls in my day, including one inside this same New Orleans dome where a 49ers team beat the living gumbo out of a Denver Broncos team. Compared to that clinker, trust me, Sunday’s game between Baltimore and San Francisco was a classic.

    But it sure didn’t start out that way.

    Kickoff came in the late afternoon in Los Angeles, where I watched Super Bowl XLVII on a XLIII-inch screen. It was still light outdoors out west as the game drew close to halftime, and the score was so one-sided – Baltimore was up by 21-3 at one point – I reached for the remote control of my TV.

    Let’s see, what else was on? ESPN: “World’s Strongest Man” competition. ESPN2: Auburn vs. Florida women’s gymnastics. TNT: A rerun of “Law & Order” (what a surprise). AMC: “The Walking Dead.”

    No, I stuck with CBS, where, on their way to the locker room, the 49ers also appeared to be the walking dead.

    Beyonce came out next and sang – really sang, not like at Barack Obama’s inauguration. And then her two old teammates from Destiny’s Child sang along with her. I think they sang “Bootylicious,” a song that I believe Beyonce was not asked to sing at Obama’s inauguration.

    Soon the second half began.

    It took approximately 12 seconds for a Raven named Jacoby Jones to fly 108 yards for a touchdown. Baltimore was now up by 28-6 and Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh’s son John was looking more and more like destiny’s child.

    I picked up that remote once more.

    HBO: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” TLC: “My Big Fat American Gypsy.” MTV: “Snooki and JWOWW.” VH1: “Mob Wives.” ID: “Wives With Knives.”

    A tough choice, obviously. I decided no, I cannot change this channel now, because I might miss a Super Bowl commercial that everybody else will be buzzing about tomorrow. Maybe a funny one with a talking baby or a chimpanzee. Maybe a sexy one with somebody classy like Danica Patrick or Snooki or JWOWW.

    Then the whole screen went dark. The players on my TV were suddenly harder to see than Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.

    I sat there squinting until I realized that the City of New Orleans’ combination football stadium and hurricane shelter had just blown a fuse. A power blackout caused an interruption to the TV event everybody wanted to see, or at least everybody who didn’t prefer watching Auburn vs. Florida women’s gymnastics.

    A lot of perplexed,mixed-up people began running around in that dome, some of them probably calling Louisiana Gas & Electric to make sure that the city had remembered to mail in the February payment. A number of lame jokes made the rounds – yes, this is why the 49ers play their home games in a park called Candlestick – and I was asked by more than one person what would happen if New Orleans failed to get the lights back on. I lied that the game would be moved to Baton Rouge and played on Super Bowl Tuesday.

    Thirty-four long minutes later, lights, camera, action. It was OK to play. Somebody (maybe FEMA?) did a heck of a job.

    Up to then, everything had been going Baltimore’s way. Joe Flacco was having a Joe Montana kind of day at quarterback, Michael Oher was throwing blocks the way Sandra Bullock taught him to in that movie, Ray Rice ran hard and Ray Lewis apparently made a lot of tackles, because those TV guys kept talking and talking and talking about Ray Lewis, even though I didn’t actually see him make tackles.

    Ahhh, but as soon as Joe the Electrician (or whoever they called) screwed in all the new light bulbs, the Super Bowl looked entirely different. Colin Kaepernick began making great plays at quarterback for the 49ers, giving himself a great big kiss on the arm for a job well done. Colin’s the kind of kid who would pour Gatorade over his own head after a win.

    We had ourselves a football game all of a sudden, San Francisco coming within two points, 31-29. I should have seen it coming because the 49ers never choke in a big game. I can’t recall the Niners ever playing poorly in a Super Bowl, just as I can’t recall the Niners ever playing a good game before the NFL had a Super Bowl.

    Could they actually win this game? Could they solve Baltimore’s defense one more time – as soon as CBS ran 20 or 30 more commercials? Elementary, as Sherlock Holmes almost never says to Lucy Liu.

    Kaepernick looked great. He was fast. He was bootylicious. He got the 49ers within striking distance. The Ravens were trapped between a pit and a pendulum.

    A pass was thrown, lobbed high above Niner receiver Michael Crabtree’s head, but Jimmy Smith of the Ravens seemed to have Crabtree in his pincers. Would it be called pass interference? Would it be a first down for the 49ers, a yard or two away from a winning touchdown? Would Kaepernick run for a score and then kiss himself on the mouth?

    Nope, no flag. No call by the ref on that pass.

    Maybe he lost it in the lights.

    It was a memorable ending. Certainly more memorable than most of the commercials, which didn’t even star any funny chimps. Baltimore’s post-game celebration was colorful and wild. Flacco apparently could be heard by TV viewers using some bad flaccin’ language. He also accepted an award for being voted the Most Valuable Player of the game, but at least he didn’t accidentally say that he was going to flaccin’ Disneyland.

    Another big game had come and gone. I am sure that many of you would agree that this was one of the best Super Bowls that you have ever seen.

    You know, except for the dark part.

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    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mike Downey.