NEW ORLEANS (CNN) — It may not have been a great game until after the lights went out and came back up, but the Super Bowl showdown Sunday night created quite a few memorable moments on the field and off, even before kickoff.
There were powerful performances, including a much buzzed-about halftime show by superstar Beyonce.
And San Francisco 49ers fans are sure to get emotional over that last play they ran on offense, when two players met in the end zone and despite interference, the referee did not call a penalty.
Here are the five moments you can expect your coworkers to talk about Monday morning.
The men may have duked it out during the game. But when it came to the non-football entertainment at the Superdome, women ruled the day.
First up was Jennifer Hudson with a stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful.” The choir backing her comprised of students from Sandy Hook Elementary, the Connecticut school where 20 students and six school staff were shot dead in December.
Players on the sidelines and fans on the stand wiped away tears.
“Our wish is to demonstrate to America and the world that, ‘We are Sandy Hook and We Choose Love,'” the choir said in a statement.
Next, Alicia Keys belted out the “Star-Spangled Banner” as the children, in white polo shirts with green ribbons pinned to them, stood with their hands on their hearts.
“It’s football. But I just cried,” tweeted actor Brian Baumgartner about the Sandy Hook performance.
The big show, however, came once the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens got through the first half.
For 12 minutes, she rocked the stage clad in above-the-knee black stiletto boots and a leather minidress.
Powered by an all-female backing band, there was little doubt Beyonce sang live — unlike during President Barack Obama’s inauguration last month where she admitted singing along to a prerecorded track.
And as if that wasn’t enough girl power for the night, Beyonce was joined by her Destiny’s Child bandmates, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.
“Watching the #SuperBowl with family & friends. @Beyonce was phenomenal! I am so proud of her! -mo,” tweeted none other than the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.
She wasn’t the only one. Beyonce’s performance generated 5.5 million tweets!
Lack of power
For the first two quarters, the Ravens seemed unstoppable, steamrolling the 49ers to a 28-6 lead.
But then, half the lights in the Superdome went mysteriously black.
The NFL released a statement saying it was “investigating.” The power company said it was not to blame and that electricity in the rest of the city was fine.
The outage left players, coaches and fans to wait, wait and wait some more.
Social media lit up.
After 35 minutes when the lights slowly went back on, so did San Francisco — prompting many to wonder if the break in play played to the 49ers advantage.
Running back Frank Gore felt differently.
“You have to wait. Football is a game of adjustments. The elements don’t matter,” he told NFL.com. “I’ve been saying it all year, the elements don’t matter in football. You’ve just got to learn how to make adjustments.”
The real MVP?
Quarterbacks often get the glory in the Super Bowl, but wide receiver Jacoby Jones had a strong case for Most Valuable Player. He lost out to Joe Flacco.
Jones scored on two of the most incredible plays in Super Bowl history, including a record 108-yard kickoff return. It took him just 11 seconds on the clock to slice through the 49ers coverage team.
“Jacoby’s been a blessing to this team,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “We’re grateful to have him on this team.”
Jones, who grew up in New Orleans, also caught a 56-yard touchdown pass — his only reception. He fell, got up, decked a defender and sprinted at an angle toward the goal line, beating two 49ers into the end zone.
“Everybody dreams of scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl. But two of ’em? That’s what’s up!” Jones told NOLA.com. “It was always a goal to win a Super Bowl. To come home and do it, that’s the icing on the cake.”
Jones is definitely the MVP for some Baltimoreans who bought furniture this weekend at a Baltimore store.
The Baltimore Sun reported Gardiners Furniture promised to wipe out the charges for anything purchased on Saturday or Sunday — if the Ravens returned a kick for a touchdown to start a half.
Probably seemed like a good bet at the time.
Grading the ads
Some of the Super Bowl commercials — 30 second ads that cost upward of $4 million — made us weep for different reasons.
There were quite a few that played on our sentiment, from Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” to Jeep’s Oprah-narrated America Will Be Whole Again” to Dodge’s ode, “Farmer.”
Then there was the racy GoDaddy ad that made us want to cry, burn our eyes out and have the Men in Black wipe out our memories.
In it, model Bar Refaeli shares a long kiss with a red-cheeked “nerd” that prompted its own hashtag: #NoDaddy.
“Oh my gosh those kissing noises,” tweeted Chicago college student Grace Barnes.
A no-call to rue
Niners fans will tell you they were robbed of a possible win when referees failed to call a penalty.
In the final quarter, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick attempted a pass to the Niners’ Michael Crabtree in the end zone.
What happened next depends on who’s doing the talking.
Niners’ fans will say Smith deliberately interfered with Crabtree, making it impossible to catch the ball.
Ravens’ fans will say it doesn’t matter, the ball was too high for Crabtree to catch.
Niners’ fans will say the penalty call would have given the team a first down and a great chance to take the lead with less than two minutes left in the game.
Ravens’ fans will say the ball was uncatchable — that it sailed way over Crabtree’s head.
But if you ask New England wide receiver Donte Stallworth, there should have been a penalty flag, even if the ball seemed like it was too high to catch.
“For all y’all saying that ball was uncatchable for Crabtree in the endzone… DUH!! Because dude held thee sh*t outta him…” he tweeted.
Crabtree told Yahoo Sports it was “a missed call.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said. “I don’t want to think about it.”
That’s OK, the 49ers fans will likely do it for him.