From the "Har-Bowl" hype to the early Baltimore blowout, through the bubbly Beyonce halftime show, the "lights out" New Orleans voodoo that darkened the Superdome for 35 minutes, to the Niners comeback that finished fingertips from an alltime record, this was a scintillating Super Bowl and the heavy spice of local flavor made it all the more compelling.
Every few minutes it seemed a play or a situation came up where one of our record 7 Locals in this Super Bowl would step into the spotlight, where, by deed or discussion, one of them (Dennis Pitta, BYU; Paul Kruger, Utah; Ma' ake Kemoeatu, Utah; David Reed, Utah; Alex Smith, Utah; Hiloti Ngata, Highland High School; Will Tukuafu East High School) would command or demand a mention, or a full replay review of the exceptional play or something less glowing.
Early on they were easy to soak in. Paul Kruger's first of two first half sacks, then high-end "Maestro Conducting" sack celebration! Was this the result of a planned choreography to honor classical music? Nah. "That's just what came to mind," Paul deadpanned postgame.
His proud mother Rebecca Tweeted out this heart-felt emotion along with the pic of Paul being interviewed It's only going to get better in the near-future for Kruger.
His contract's expiring so this former Ute (who once serendipitously turned the pages of my Utah Sugar Bowl highlight script while he was joining us Live from…the Superdome) is now living a very rare NFL player's dream. He's a Super Bowl Champion AND a free agent. No doubt Kruger's pass rushing skills will be in high demand, probably re-signing with the Ravens but this time for multimillions of dollars.
Then there's Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco's buddy, former BYU Cougar Pitta. Hauling in 2 of his 4 Super Bowl receptions on a precision, tight-end dominated (along with teammate Ed Dickson) drive that ended with Pitta becoming just the 3rd BYU football player to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl. It was the 3rd pass Pitta caught in the first 22 minutes of the game and put the Ravens up 14-3. After that, Flacco threw a 3rd td pass in the half (56 yard catch and run to Jacoby Jones) but while going 9-13 in the 2nd half, he only threw for 95 yards and of course, no touchdowns AND only hit Pitta one more time over the games final 37 minutes.
Alex Smith's main moments came at halftime when former Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher wondered out loud if when Jim Harbaugh might consider giving his 1st half of this season starter a shot at trying to rally the Niners.
Obviously, little bro Harbaugh never considered it, Kaepernick calmed down and nearly pulled off the miracle, record-setting Super Bowl rally. It's the last time we'll see Alex Smith (the NFL"s 2004 #1 overall draft pick) in a Niners uniform. ESPN.Com reporting San Francisco's intent on trading Smith rather than release him to save up to two million dollars in salary and cap space. There is no doubt with new coaches and no quarterbacks in Kansas City and Philadelphia, just to name a couple, Smith will be the most sought after veteran quarterback in the league. Sure to hit the jackpot with one more big number signing bonus. It's just a question of how quickly teams work with the Niners to make the deal.
Hiloti Ngata's night was bittersweet. Ngata played most of this season with a knee that was less than 100% and he left the Super Bowl with a knee injury "'I feel a lot better now. My knee is kind of numb.' We'll see what happens with checking the MRIs and all that. Doctors don't really know if any ligaments are torn or anything. We'll definitely see when we get back to Baltimore." Every time he's referred to as ‘Super Bowl Champion Haloti Ngata' his knee will hurt less and less.
For the Ravens' locals there are plenty of rings to go around. 3 for former Utes Kruger, Kemoeatu and Reed. To keep the rivalry resonating in the Ravens lockeroom, there's also a Super Bowl ring for the ex-Cougar Pitta.
Special congrats to Kruger (Timpanogos) and Ngata (Highland) becoming the 1st pair of Utah prep players to play together on a Super Bowl Champion!