When I think about the Super Bowl, I think about Jacoby Jones.
I can see, in my mind's eye, his stumbling catch of a Joe Flacco duck, his presence of mind to get up and scramble into the endzone, his electric 109 (sorry, correction, 108)-yard kick return for a touchdown to open the second half and give his Ravens a lead they could not possibly squander.
Jones made only that one catch in the game but his contribution to his team's victory cannot, must not be underestimated.
The fact that the MVP award went to Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco is, to my mind, a minor detail, a silly albeit predictable bit of nonsense that is perpetrated almost every year in the NFL's biggest game. After all, MVP does stand for "Most Valuable Passer", does it not?
Flacco played pretty well, I agree. He completed 22 of his 33 passes for 287 yards and three TDs. More importantly, he took care of the ball, refusing once again to give up an interception for the third time in three post-season games.
But Flacco's performance was no work of art. If he completed 22 passes, it was because receivers like Anquan Boldin caught poorly thrown balls time and again. Boldin, who also put up MVPlayer numbers (six catches, several of them spectacular, for 140 yards and a TD), caught balls in coverage that Flacco should not have thrown and that no receiver has a right to catch.
Boldin made his quarterback, who was average on this day, look very very good.
And then there's Jones. His TD reception will go into the record books as a 56-yard pass from Joe Flacco. Written like that, we can conjure images of Jones on a fly pattern, Flacco rifling a perfect arc to him as he broke past the cornerback, hitting him in stride so that he didn't have to slow one iota on his way to glory.
But that's not how it happened. Flacco put up a fluttering duck, well short of his receiver's path. Jones made an impressive adjustment to the poorly thrown ball and gathered it in as he fell backwards to the turf. Jones then showed some smarts in realising he had not yet been touched and showed some moves in juking and jiving past two Forty-Niner defenders on his way to the end zone.
And then there was the kick-off return. Jones, standing in the end zone to receive the second half kick off, his team up 21 to 6. Great blocking up the middle, a quick cut early and Jones was gone. Seven quick points that should have buried the Niners but, instead, gave the Ravens just enough of a margin to hold on at the end.
Joe Flacco the game's Most Valuable Player? Hardly. Jones, on that one occasion, and Boldin time and again bailed him out from his own poorly thrown balls.
And though I think of Jacoby Jones when I think about this game (his two TDs are the signature plays of the game, to be sure) I think the Most Valuable Player was Boldin. He scored early and he made several key, practically impossible catches at pivotal moments to enable his team to hold on for the win.
Or, if you want to be really controversial, pick unsung Raven linebacker Dannell Ellerbe for MVPlayer. Ellerbe is often overshadowed by the likes of Ngata, Suggs, Lewis and Reed and yet came through to make any number of key stops for Baltimore.
With Ngata and Reed missing time due to injuries, and so many of his other teammates forgetting how to tackle in the second half, Ellerbe was rock solid. He ended up leading the team with six tackles and three assists.
So there you have it. Joe Flacco is officially the Super Bowl MVP. In my books, however, Anquan Boldin, Jacoby Jones and Dannell Ellerbe were all just as deserving of that award, if not more so.