By Chad Bonham
Super Bowl XLVII (February 3, 2013): Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31
There was no shortage of clever nicknames provided for Super Bowl XLVII. The “Bro Bowl,” “Harbaugh Bowl,” “HarBowl,” and “Super Baugh” were among the preferred ways reporters and fans alike paid homage to the game’s first meeting between opposing head coaches who were also brothers—Baltimore’s John Harbaugh and San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh.
But eventually, the focus of conversation turned back to the field where star athletes such as Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick were ready to shine.
Early on, it looked like Baltimore was going to run away with the championship. The Ravens took a commanding 21-6 lead into the locker room at halftime and promptly extended that lead on the third quarter kickoff thanks to Jacoby Jones’ 108-yard return.
Then, on the next drive, the lights inside the Superdome inexplicably went out causing a 34-minute stoppage of play. Once the game resumed, San Francisco stole all momentum and orchestrated a remarkable comeback that resulted in one of the most exciting finishes in Super Bowl history.
Trailing 34-29 late in the fourth quarter, the 49ers had four chances to score the go-ahead touchdown from the Ravens’ seven-yard line. But Baltimore’s defense, anchored by legendary linebacker Ray Lewis, held strong and secured the franchise’s second Super Bowl title.
At the end of the game, Lewis removed his jersey and shoulder pads to reveal a black shirt with “Psalm 91” printed across the front. His shoes bore the same reference to the same chapter often referred to as “The Psalm of Protection.” It was the ending portion that Lewis become known to quote publicly:
“With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:16)
For Lewis, the entire passage was deeply significant. For 13 years, he had been a controversial figure within the NFL. Following the 2000 season, Lewis nearly lost it all at a Super Bowl party in Atlanta when a fight broke out and two young men were tragically killed. He and two friends were indicted on charges of murder and aggravated assault, but the charges were dropped when he agreed to plead to a lesser charge and to testify against the other men.
From there, Lewis began a long, soul-searching process that forced him make big changes in his life. He experienced a spiritual renewal and committed himself to helping others avoid making the same mistakes he made.
“Don’t ever do it the way I did it, because everyone won’t make it,” Lewis told The New York Times. “You got to be willing to walk in a storm. That’s what I tell people all the time. If there’s something in your life that you know needs changing, make sure you change it before God’s got to change it. Because if God’s got to change it, you ain’t going to like it.”
Psalm 91 was also relevant to Lewis because of the connection he felt with its traditional writer. He related to King David’s moral failures and the realization that he needed to turn away from his sins and serve God.
“For me, through the ups and downs, the roller coasters of 17 years, you have to find a safe place,” Lewis said. “You have to find that place that is very quiet in your head, and anytime I read it, anytime I come across it, my Bible, the first Scripture in there is Psalms 91.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
(Photos: MarylandGov Pics; Keith Allison)