For this fan, the Ravens' 34-31 win was one of the more dubious in sports history after Michael Crabtree, on the last play the 49'ers had from scrimmage - fourth down with the ball on the Ravens' 5 - was interfered with
by cornerback Jimmy Smith. Smith clearly grabbed Crabtree's jersey and held the receiver past the five yard boundary for which impeding contact is allowed.
In a game that featured John Harbaugh versus Jim Harbaugh, a first-half aerial assault from the Ravens' Joe Flacco, an electrifying Jacoby Jones kick-off return, a Super Bowl unprecedented 34 minute delay due to a mysterious power outage and a San Francisco comeback for the ages, the Crabtree/Smith non-call
still manages to be the defining moment.
Jimmy Smith stops/impedes Michael Crabtree
There is an argument that Crabtree retaliated on Smith by shoving off of his head in order to free himself from the illegal hold he had on him, but that's allowed, within reason (if you want to determine what reason is, go ahead, I don't, except to say that, well, a shove to free oneself from an illegal hold seems well within reason).
Now even if you were to argue there were offsetting penalties the down should have been played over. However, for this observer - a fan of the game but of neither team - the call should have been only on the defense. Had the correct call been made San Francisco would have had a new set of downs from the one yard line, which would almost certainly have lead to a touchdown and a San Francisco 49er lead with little time remaining.
There's the notion that the officials don't want to affect so dramatically such an important game with a late call. Could that really be why it was not made? If so, that is unfortunate, for one can affect the outcome just as much with a non-call as with a call, as was indeed the case here. Rules are rules, they should be called at any time. Could they have missed it? That seems unlikely, my 11-year-old called it on the live action watching on television.
Super Bowl and sports: winners and losers
There is no conspiracy about it, it's just that for whatever reason the officials chose not to make that call. Baltimore will forever be celebrated as the winners of Super Bowl XLVII, Ray Lewis remembered for, among many others things, going out a champion and Colin Kaepernick's dream season forever short of perfection. The argument that the result should have been reversed will, with the passage of time, be forgotten.
For sports loves a winner and the loser, regardless of details, is the loser, period. The only ones who'll remember are San Francisco 49er fans and soon enough their bleatings, at dinner parties, over coffee, on the radio call-in shows, will be chalked up to poor sportsmanship. So then yes, history will forget the details.
It's not a shame, it's not even unfair - it's just sports.