The AFC champion Ravens won the pregame coin toss and chose to defer until the second half. The kickoff went out of the end zone, so the NFC champion 49ers are starting the game's first drive on their 20.
Beforehand, a chorus of 26 children from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. - where 20 students and six adults were killed in a shooting rampage in December - sang ``America the Beautiful,'' accompanied by ``American Idol'' alum Jennifer Hudson. Grammy winner Alicia Keys performed the national anthem.
This is the 10th time New Orleans hosted the big game - tying Miami for most in a city - and first since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Big Easy in August 2005.