San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led a massive comeback that fell short Sunday in New Orleans.
NEW ORLEANS — The Harbaugh family sure knows how to throw a Super party.
In the end, it was older brother John Harbaugh and his Baltimore Ravens who came out on top, hanging on for a 34-31 win over Jim Harbaugh and his San Francisco 49ers in a Super Bowl that had everything.
After the game, John Harbaugh said it was hard to compete against his brother.
The brothers met at midfield as the confetti rained down. "I told him I loved him," John said. "He said, 'Congratulations.’ "
Jim Harbaugh later declined a postgame interview with CBS, but spoke a few minutes later. He took the loss hard, raised several questions about calls and noncalls made by the officials, but said "We want to handle this with class and grace.
"Had several opportunities in the game. Didn't play our best game. Ravens made a lot of plays," he continued. "Our guys battled back to get back in it. We competed and battled to win."
With mom Jackie and dad Jack watching from somewhere in the Superdome, the Harbaugh brothers put on a championship game to remember. First it was the Ravens who raced to a 28-6 lead after Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff a Super Bowl-record 108 yards for a score.
Then came a power outage, which delayed the game for 34 minutes. With the players sitting on their benches waiting for play to resume, Jim Harbaugh went to work.
His 49ers went on a surge of their own, and younger brother Jim had John on the ropes. The 49ers pulled within 31-29 in the fourth quarter, but just couldn't come up with one more play to pull off what would have been the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Asked how he felt moments after the win, the winning Harbaugh said "How do you think it feels? It feels just like you think. It feels great!"
And what about his brother?
"It's tough. It's very tough," John Harbaugh said. "It's a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. It's very painful."
THAT'S SOME SERIOUS ZIP: 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sure was letting the ball go during pregame warmups, zipping his throws right at roommate and reserve wideout Ricardo Lockette.
A couple of the balls landed on the Superdome turf. A couple of others nearly took Lockette's hands off.
Now, Lockette realizes just how coach Jim Harbaugh feels when he catches Kaepernick's hard throws before games. Harbaugh admits he has his share of drops too. The coach was later seen playing catch with his quarterback after the power outage.
Wideout Michael Crabtree needed a little bit of time to get used to Kaepernick's sharp passes.
"He has the arm. Some guys are scared, but it is not like that," Crabtree said. "We do with him what we are supposed to do. Back in the day, his first year here, I do not think he could control his arm, and he was just throwing fast every play."
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF: San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis struggled to get into college.
It cost him a chance to play for his favorite team, but everything worked out in the end.
Willis talked openly in the days leading up to Super Bowl about having to take the ACT five times before he achieved a qualifying score. By then, his home-state school had passed on a chance to sign him.
"I had good grades in high school," Willis recalled. "I just couldn't take that test. That test is hard. I'm not good at taking a random test you just throw in front of me. I have to go over what's on the test. So I had to take the test five times."
Willis was upset when the Volunteers stopped recruiting him.
"I'm not going to lie. I had some tears. I was just angry," he said. "I wanted to pursue something. I wanted to go there. I wanted to play football at Tennessee. I thought that was the best of the best.
"I'll never forget my dad telling me, 'You know what? That's all right. You're going to make your ACT scores because I see how hard you try. I see how hard you work. You can go somewhere else and play. Just make sure you pick a play where you can play against them.'"
Indeed, Willis got a chance to play against the Volunteers, including a 16-tackle game his junior year. He'll never forget being praised by then-Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer afterward.