Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns to Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones – each one converted by Justin Tucker to give the Ravens a 17 point half-time lead.
An imperious defensive display reduced the 49ers to two David Akers field goals before Jones’ record-equalling kick return at the start of the second-half increased Baltimore’s lead.
But after 30 minute power outage delay, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked to life passing to Michael Crabtree and handing to Frank Gore for touchdowns.
The two teams exchanged field goals and Kaepernick himself ran in a touchdown, but it proved too late as the Ravens held on for their first championship since 2000.
But Harbaugh, who found it hard to console his brother – 49ers head coach Jim – at the final whistle, said it was typical of the Ravens to grind out the 34-31 result.
“It’s never pretty, it’s never perfect but it is us. And that was us today, just the way we do it,” he said.
“It was really hard. At the end of the game that was the hardest experience. I told my brother that I love him and he congratulated me.”
Super Bowl MVP Flacco – who threw for 287 yards with a completion rate of 67 percent – paid tribute to the support of the Ravens fans.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “We don’t make it easy and that’s the way the city of Baltimore is, that’s the way we are.
“We did this for them back home. We had a great send off and we can’t wait to get back there for the parade.”
And Ravens defensive talisman, Ray Lewis – playing in his final ever game – was magnanimous in his praise for his team-mates as he won the second title of his career.
“It’s simple. When God is for you, who can be against you? It’s no greater way, as a champ, to go out on your last ride with the men I went out with,” he said.
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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard
BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge