The Baltimore Ravens captured their second Super Bowl title by squeezing past San Francisco 34-31 Sunday in a championship game that featured a 35-minute power failure at the Superdome.
Sparked by three touchdowns passes from Joe Flacco and a 108-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones to open the second half, the Ravens won for the first time since the 2000 season and gave coach John Harbaugh sibling bragging rights over younger brother Jim, the coach of the 49ers.
Players, coaches and a crowd of 71,024 spectators were almost left in the dark as a power failure early in the second half at the Louisiana Superdome stadium halted the game with the Ravens leading 28-6.
When the lights returned, the Ravens did not cope with the disruption well and the 49ers scored the next 17 points, nearly pulling off the greatest victory comeback in Super Bowl history.
"Both teams had to deal with it," John Harbaugh said. "They dealt with it better, obviously. They were able to turn the momemtum of the game."
Ravens quarterback Flacco was named the game's Most Valuable Player after completing 22-of-33 passes for 287 yards. Flacco, who is in the final year of his contract, has thrown 11 touchdowns in the post-season.
"It's unbelievable," Flacco said. "I tell you what -- we didn't make it easy.
"We did this for everyone back home. We can't wait to get back for the parade."
Flacco hit Jones, Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin for touchdowns in a first half that was dominated by the Ravens, whose team of destiny tag grew with every post-season victory.
John consoled his brother Jim when they met on the field after the game for the traditional coaches' handshake.
"It was really hard," John said. "At the end of the game that was the hardest thing I had ever experienced.
"I told him I loved him."
The game also capped the brilliant career of Ravens superstar Ray Lewis, who will ride off into the sunset with his second Super Bowl ring.
"It is the most ultimate feeling," said Lewis, who was Most Valuable Player of the 2000 season Super Bowl. "This is the way to do it. There is no other way to go out and end a career."
The Ravens, whose 12-year gap between Super Bowl titles is a record, looked like winners in a rout until the 49ers found new life after the power delay.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick led a second-half comeback for the 49ers, who scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to pull within 28-23.
Kaepernick ran 15 yards for a touchdown with just over 10 minutes remaining in the fourth to cut the Ravens lead to 31-29, but that was as close as the 49ers would come.
"Our guys battled and they competed," San Francisco's Harbaugh said. "We got a spark and we weren't going to look back after that. We battled right to the brink of winning. It was a heck of a football game."
Baltimore's defense denied San Francisco on a late-game drive and the Ravens ran down the clock at the end of the game, then surrendered a two-point safety with only four seconds remaining.
One tackle on a free kick later and the Ravens were champions.
During the power outage delay, the players spent the time on the field and the sidelines trying to stay loose by doing warmup exercises, passing balls or working on their kicking technique.
Some players had fun, getting the crowd to start cheering or begin a chant.
Reserve power kept the field from going dark but some scoreboards and escalators stopped working.
Superdome officials said after the game that the failure was caused partially by an "abnormality in the system" that tripped a breaker switch.
"The sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue," said Superdome spokesman Eric Eagan. "Backup generators kicked in immediately."
Jones took a pass from Flacco on a brilliant 56-yard pass and run play with just under two minutes remaining in the second quarter for the Ravens.
Jones fell backwards while making his catch, then rose and scrambled past two San Francisco defenders before diving into the end zone to give the Ravens a 21-3 lead.
Flacco also completed a one-yard pass to Pitta for a touchdown in the second quarter and a 13-yard toss to Boldin to open the scoring on the Ravens' first possession of the game.
Boldin, who caught six passes for 104 yards, outraced 49ers defender Donte Whitner before leaping to snag the Flacco pass for his fourth reception of the playoffs.