Updated Monday, February 4, 2013 at 08:09 AM
NEW ORLEANS — Before he could bask in a shower of confetti, before he could put his fingerprints on the Lombardi Trophy and before he could head into retirement as a champion, Ray Lewis had one final task: stop the San Francisco 49ers on three plays 5 yards from the end zone.
After two passes went awry, Lewis charged up the middle on a blitz. The Ravens stellar linebacker never made it to Colin Kaepernick, but after the quarterback's pass flew out of bounds, Lewis and Baltimore could begin to celebrate.
"How could it end any other way than that?" Lewis said. "And now I get to ride into the sunset with my second ring."
The 13-time Pro Bowl star began his final night on the football field with a motivational speech to his teammates. He ended it looking upward into a waterfall of silver streamers and purple confetti after the Ravens beat San Francisco 34-31 Sunday night to win the Super Bowl.
"It's simple: When God is for you, who can be against you?" Lewis said, clutching the Lombardi Trophy. "It's no greater way, as a champ, to go out on your last ride with the men that I went out with, with my teammates. And you looked around this stadium and ... Baltimore! Baltimore! We coming home, baby! We did it!"
Standing tall in the middle of a defense that survived a frenzied comeback by Kaepernick and the 49ers, Lewis put a lovely bow on his 17th NFL season by earning his second Super Bowl ring — 12 years after the first.
• Muhammad Ali's daughter knocked down rumors of her father being near death, saying he was at home watching the Super Bowl.
May May Ali said she talked to her father Sunday morning on the phone and he was fine. She said he was watching the Super Bowl at home in Arizona, wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey.
The family later posted a photo on Twitter of Ali sitting in a chair wearing a Ray Lewis T-shirt.
• Baltimore receiver/kick returner Jacoby Jones warned the San Francisco 49ers early in the week not to give him an opportunity in the return game.
"If I were them, I wouldn't kick it to me, not at all," he told reporters.
But the Niners did and Jones returned the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a TD and 28-6 lead.
How did it feel for Jones? "Like a million dollars," he said. "I saw daylight because of my blockers."
• Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tells local TV station WBAL-TV that the city will hold a parade Tuesday to honor the NFL champion Ravens.
ROB CARR / GETTY IMAGES
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco attempts to escape pressure from San Francisco's Aldon Smith in the first half Sunday night.
EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES
Coach John Harbaugh, left, of Baltimore shakes hands with his brother, San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, after winning Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.