The Norman Transcript

National Sports

February 3, 2013

Super Bowl of firsts, lasts, bests

NEW ORLEANS — The journey to this Super Bowl wound through bounties and replacement refs, eventually bringing the big game back to the Big Easy — with a replacement quarterback, a sibling rivalry and a grand exit for one of the NFL’s greatest players, clouded by the obscure healing powers of deer-antler spray.

It is a Super Bowl of comebacks, of firsts and lasts, and — if San Francisco wins — the best.

A win over the Baltimore Ravens today gives the 49ers six championships, matching Pittsburgh’s titles in the Super Bowl era. Unlike the Steelers, the Niners have never lost one.

Of course, they haven’t won one in 18 years, either.

“There’s a tradition with the San Francisco 49ers, but I think these guys are paving their own way,” said Hall of Fame receiver and three-time champion Jerry Rice. “They’re playing with a lot of swagger.”

Or as owner Denise DeBartolo York said, “We’ve come full circle and the dynasty will prevail.”

New Orleans has come full circle, too. Ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, losing a quarter of its population, abandoned by the Saints for an entire season, the city couldn’t imagine hosting another Super Bowl. But as New Orleans recovered and rebuilt, it envisioned staging what Patriots owner Robert Kraft calls “the pre-eminent sporting event.”

The NFL agreed it was time to return. And even if Commissioner Roger Goodell is despised here after slapping the Saints with suspensions and fines in the bounty scandal, the vibes from the French Quarter and Warehouse District this week have been supportive, even uplifting.

“It’s also terrific for us to be back here in New Orleans,” Goodell said, joking about voodoo dolls in his likeness. “Our 10th Super Bowl here, the first since Katrina, and it’s clear this city is back bigger and better than ever.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Emmert seeks big changes to NCAA

    INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Emmert wants the NCAA to fast-track upgrades for college athletes — regardless of whether a player union is pushing for them....

    April 24, 2014

  • Mets edge Cards

    NEW YORK — With a 360-foot relay in the ninth inning, the New York Mets prevented a hard-fought victory from vanishing in the wind....

    April 24, 2014

  • Seahawks will open against Packers

    NEW YORK — As Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks get to kick off the NFL’s regular season by hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4....

    April 24, 2014

  • Heat hold off ’Cats

    MIAMI — LeBron James drove to the rim as time was winding down, got clobbered by Josh McRoberts and sat on the hardwood gathering himself for a few seconds afterward. It was fitting. Miami took Charlotte’s best shot, and survived....

    April 24, 2014

  • Mavs even series with Spurs

    SAN ANTONIO — Monta Ellis scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 113-92 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece....

    April 24, 2014

  • Popovich wins Coach of the Year

    The San Antonio Spurs, the model for stability and sustained success in the modern NBA, were still a shaken team when they showed up for training camp in October, less than four months after a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals. ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Tony Allen’s hounding defense a challenge, even for Durant

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant is tired of hearing about Tony Allen’s defense....

    April 23, 2014

  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career

    WASHINGTON — Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry....

    April 23, 2014

  • Lawmakers seek change in MLB Cuban player policy

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two Florida lawmakers motivated by Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig’s dangerous escape from Cuba are trying to change the way Major League Baseball treats Cuban players and are willing to tie state money for ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Physical stars ruffling Ducks’ feathers

    DALLAS — Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf was asked about the Dallas Stars trying to get under his skin or into his head with their physical play in Game 3. “Trying to hit my head how about?” the already stitched-up and visor-protected ...

    April 23, 2014