January 20, 2009 |

So for the record, the season ended on January 18, 2009, with a 23-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Tough to swallow is putting it mildly.  Losing stinks; losing to your hated rival in the AFC Championship is even worse.  But now as the off-season has already begun, it’s time to reflect and say thank you for a rewarding and surprisingly successful season. 

We start every year filled with hope, and this year the Ravens turned that hope into reality.  While the whole team deserves credit, as well as the organization for that matter, I am going to single out some whom I think really deserve it. 

It’s time to say thank you to John Harbaugh and his coaching staff.  You brought a sense of blue collar toughness not seen in these parts in a long time.  You proved you were the right choice and as you said to the team, “This is not an end, but a beginning.”  We look forward to 2009 already.

Thank you Rex Ryan for your years of service to the Ravens and the Baltimore community.  This opportunity to be a head coach is long overdue.  Good Luck Rex, we’ll miss you. 

Thank you to Joe Flacco, (a.k.a  Joe Cool).  Hey rookie, not a bad start. Thanks once and for all for settling our quarterback dilemma.  You wowed us with your poise and command.  We can’t imagine how much better you’ll be in the years ahead.   

To Ray Lewis thank you for being the leader we all know you are.  At 33, you showed you’re still the top dog. 

Thank you to Derrick Mason, Jared Gaither and Terrell Suggs for playing hurt and setting a standard for heart and toughness on the field.  It would have been easy to say I can’t go, but you didn’t. 

Thank you to Jim Leonhard, you might not be the biggest guy on the field, but you sir are a player. 

Thanks to Ozzie Newsome, for reminding us how lucky we are to have you as a GM.  Thanks for drafting Flacco and Ray Rice and for signing Lorenzo Neal, Willie Anderson, Leonhard and Fabian Washington.

Thank you to O.J. Brigance.  You showed us what courage is all about.  In a battle against an insidious disease, you inspired us and taught us the importance of living each day to its fullest.   God bless you O.J.

To the entire Ravens organization, thanks for taking us on a great ride.  Your accomplishment will live in Baltimore lore.   

Now onto 2009.