It's the first day of the rest of our lives. Thirty-one weeks and two days until opening night at M&T Bank Stadium and the world champion Ravens host the opener of the 2013 season. Time to breathe a little bit. And by the way, if you haven't seen visuals from the Ravens' parade and stadium event today, it's phenomenal. The love, the crowds ... so good to see in a great city. Did anyone go to school in Maryland today?
Before we put 2012 in the rear-view mirror, let's examine the three things about the Ravens' 34-31 victory that filled my email box and Twitter timeline in the hours after the game -- and still did this morning. I have enlisted former NFL officiating czar Mike Pereira, now the rulesmeister for FOX, to help on a couple of them.
Who knows what factor it would have had on the game, but to play the final two-thirds of the Super Bowl with only three corners could have made an impact. Williams did have two passes defensed the rest of the game. Maybe his presence in coverage on Randy Moss on the game's last three plays -- all three of them throws to Michael Crabtree -- influenced the Niners not throwing a fade to one of the best fade catchers ever, Moss. We'll never know.
As Smith told me after the game, the officials had been letting corners and receivers joust during the game. "They were letting us keep our hands on each other,'' Smith said. "No calls." In fact, in the first 50 minutes of the game, the officials called no interference or illegal-contact fouls. There was only one PI, on Chris Culliver of the Niners 53 minutes into the game. Said Pereira: "When you read the rules, contact in the air has to significantly hinder the receiver's opportunity to make the catch. I thought it did not. When I look at it, I saw no restriction. Could it be? Might it be? You don't want to throw that flag. Absolutely not.''
Now for your email:
SCOTT DOES NOT AGREE.
I don't agree, but thanks for writing.
I am so sick of that word. Flacco is one of the best six or eight best quarterbacks in football right now. He just proved it in the biggest month on the NFL calendar. That should be enough.
IT'S A CROWDED CLASS.
Look, it's a difficult process. I firmly believe Bettis is a Hall of Famer, and I believe he will be in someday. When? I don't know. It's a tough process when the majority of the 15 modern-era candidates each year are worthy of the Hall, and we can put only five in. When you measure the impact of Jerome Bettis versus the impact of Bill Parcells -- which is what we have to do -- it is a difficult proposition.
SMART GUY OF THE WEEK.
You should write my column. Thanks, Aaron.
GREAT POINT FROM JERSEY.
Good point, Greg, but you can't throw your hands in the air and do nothing about it. The NFL will be enforcing more restrictive rules about the huge hits, and they'll be fighting to get players to use helmets with the most modern technology.
NOT THE FIRST TIME I HAVE HEARD THIS.
There's some merit to that. I believe there would be moments both would like to have back, and I hope each watches the tape of the game to see them.