Bolden was one of about 30 sports fans watching the game at Covey’s Sports Grill in Tracy, and was among the few cheering for the Ravens, champions of the American Football Conference, on their way to a 34-31 win in the New Orleans Superdome.
“I'm an AFC fan, because my Raiders aren't in it,” said Bolden, a Tracy resident.
He wasn’t too nervous about being surrounded by 49ers fans, and had a couple other Raider fans to keep him company.
The game turned out to be a roller-coaster ride for 49ers fans, who started off confident their team would tie an NFL record by winning the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl. The Niners haven’t won the big game since 1995, when Steve Young quarterbacked the team following the 1994 season.
“We are due for a win,” said Martha Casanovas of Tracy.
She and her friend Sandra Yniguez of San Jose were confident since the 49ers’ Week 1 30-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers. They were encouraged even more when they went to Candlestick Park to see the 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins 27-13 in Week 14.
“I just saw from game one, when they beat Green Bay, that they were on a mission,” Yniguez said.
Then they saw their team struggle in the first half of the Super Bowl, and by the time the lights went out at the Superdome early in the third quarter, some fans worried that the 49ers weren’t playing up to their potential.
But Bolden and his son Solomon, 13, were among the happiest fans in the group after the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones ran back the second-half opening kickoff for a touchdown to put Baltimore up 28-6.
It was the last big play before a significant portions of the lights went out at the Superdome, giving the 49ers an extra half-hour to regroup. At the time, Bolden speculated the 34-minute blackout was a ploy to give the 49ers an advantage.
"After the lights went out it gave more motivation for the Niners to come back, and that was the scary part," Bolden said. "It was a very good game. It was a fantastic game."
Chris Covey, owner of Covey’s Sports Grill, said Sunday’s crowd was modest compared to those that came out for the other playoff games.
“I knew because of so many Super Bowl parties, and the fact that it's a local game, I knew it was going to be tough,” Covey said. “So I put out free food. I knew I had to do something.”
The fans who showed up saw the Ravens, led by quarterback Joe Flacco, dissect the San Francisco secondary early in the game, helped by untimely 49ers penalties and an interception from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“They've had some blown coverages. Kaepernick, he's too tense,” said 49er fan and Tracy resident Jamie Kim. “They're basically not sticking with the game plan.”
Kim’s friend Isaiah Tautua of San Jose, a Raiders fan rooting for the Ravens, said the 49ers’ quarterback was in over his head, making only his 10th professional start.
“You can tell. He's not ready, with all the pressure on him,” Tautua said.
By the fourth quarter, after two 49ers touchdowns and a field goal, 49ers fans were back on their feet, and the crowd erupted with cheers in the fourth quarter when Kaepernick ran the ball into the end zone to cut the Ravens’ lead to 31-29.
Those cheers fizzled minutes later when Kaepernick lofted an incomplete pass to Michael Crabtree in the end zone on fourth down to effectively seal the game.
“It was a good comeback by the Niners, but at the end they could have executed,” Kim said. “It's still good. From what they were a few years ago until now, it's a big progression. There's always next year, and I'm looking forward to it.”
n Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.