Flacco revels in Super Bowl glory
Post-match reaction to Baltimore's 34-31 victory over San Francisco.
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Quarterback Joe Flacco led the Baltimore Ravens to one of the tensest Super Bowl wins in recent memory, then said: "We don't make it easy."
Flacco was named MVP for his performance, as he threw for 287 yards, including three touchdowns, in the Ravens' 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
But it could have been so much easier for the Ravens, who were leading 28-6 before a 34-minute stoppage caused by a power outage, after which the 49ers were rejuvenated and almost pulled off the greatest comeback in Super League history.
"It's unbelievable," Flacco said. "I tell you what, we don't make it easy.
"But that's the way the city of Baltimore is, that's the way we are. We did this for them back home."
Flacco held off contract talks until the end of the season - a decision which now looks set to pay off handsomely, with a Super Bowl ring and an MVP award on his CV.
"[Ravens majority owner] Steve Bisciotti told me that if this happens then I can go and pound on his desk and really stick it to him - and I said that's exactly what I'm gonna do," Flacco told NFL.com.
Flacco insisted he would be staying in Baltimore.
He said: "There's no about it, I'm going to lead this team into the future, but this is a team. We get the misconception in Baltimore that this is a bunch of individuals playing for the victory.
"There is not a closer-knit group of guys that I've ever been around.
"Ray Lewis is the best team-mate you can ever imagine. It's sad he's known for the opposite of that, when that couldn't be further from the truth."
Flacco was pleased to see the Ravens hit top form at exactly the right time.
"When you're a little kid and you're out in the schoolyard, you dream of being a Super Bowl champion one day, and we made it happen," Flacco said.
"When we're put on the big stage and we need to win games, we're a good football team, so that's what happens - we usually win them.
"We were able to put a good string together at the end and come together at the right time."
One sub-plot to the game was the battle between the Harbaugh brothers - Baltimore coach John and his San Francisco counterpart Jim.
Triumphant John consoled his little brother after the game finished and afterwards said: "It was really hard. The end of the game was the hardest thing I've ever experienced."
Asked what he said to his brother, John added: "I told him I loved him and he told me 'congratulations'.
"He's the best coach in football, there's no question in my mind. What he's accomplished in the last two years has been phenomenal, and I'm so proud of him."
The Ravens coach also praised the way the 49ers handled the half-hour stoppage caused by a power outage, which proved to be a turning point in the game - albeit not a decisive one.
"I thought the Niners handled it really well," he told ESPN. "The Niners came out of that an flipped the momentum of the football game. For a young team to handle the adversity that way is pretty incredible."
He also paid tribute to his own players, saying: "I'm just so proud of the players, every one of them. It's a team victory - and our coaches, man. Our coaches were phenomenal."
We want to handle this with class and grace.
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh was left upset at what he saw as a missed call on the 49ers' final offensive play.
Harbaugh felt Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith interfered with Michael Crabtree as he attempted to catch Colin Kaepernick's pass for a potentially match-winning TD.
"No question in my mind there was a pass interference and a hold on Michael Crabtree on that last one," Harbaugh said on NFL.com.
But he conceded his side had not been at their best.
"We want to handle this with class and grace," he said. "We had several opportunities in the game. Didn't play our best game. Ravens made a lot of plays. Our guys battled back to get back in it. We competed and battled to win."