Five years later, the magic of Purple Reign 2 and Ravens Super Bowl title revisited

January 11, 2018 | Nestor Aparicio

Newsome was put in charge of the Baltimore Ravens in the spring of 1996 by owner Art Modell and Ray Lewis was drafted with the 26th pick in the first round when the franchise didn’t even have a color scheme or a logo.

Everyone has an opinion on how and why the Baltimore Ravens stood on the dais at the Superdome in New Orleans on February 3, 2013 and held the Lombardi Trophy to the roof and toasted the city of Baltimore and anyone who ever loved a crab cake.

But the road is so curved and complicated and the series of events that led to that magical evening and the ensuing massive parade in Baltimore is so tangled that it’s taken me a rather large book to tell the story.

One thing that was universally accepted and discussed was a four-letter word: they all agreed “luck” was part of the recipe.

Yeah, “luck.” They all said, “You need to get lucky to win the Super Bowl.”

The other word was “faith.” Many talked about faith in God and in each other. But they all said they never stopped believing they could win.

Not when Ray Rice faced 4th & 29 in San Diego. Not when Joe Flacco huddled the offense in Denver down seven points with just seconds on the clock. And not when their backs were to the goal line as Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers looked to be going into the end zone to cap an improbable comeback against the formerly impenetrable Baltimore Ravens defense to steal the Lombardi Trophy.

Luck. Faith.

Oh, and there was “love” – a word that’s often tossed around playfully like the Bud Light “I love ya, man” commercials, but one that seemed to truly take on intense meaning when it was spoken between grown men playing a boy’s game on a field of gladiators in the NFL like a band of brothers in combat

The Ravens certainly had good fortune smiling down on them during the 2012 season.

We all saw it differently and put different weights and values on this complex maze of unlikely and never-to-be-replicated events that resulted in Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, and John Harbaugh standing on a dais in New Orleans at the Superdome. There they were holding the Lombardi Trophy over the bayou in front of a delirious throng of Baltimore fans showering them with a love that was reciprocated 36 hours later with a parade that saw an unprecedented quarter of a million-plus in purple pour into the streets for a civic celebration.

In trying to piece together memories, never-been-told-before stories and some 20/20 clarity to this amazing Super Bowl XLVII run in New Orleans and a subsequent parade that was the largest civic gathering in the history of Baltimore, the roads were all different.

I’m not one to throw a word like “miracle” around without some trepidation, but there were certainly some “woo-woo” moments down the stretch for the Ravens.

The Ray Rice 4th and 29 play in San Diego on a dump pass

Terrell Suggs coming back from an Achilles injury two months ahead of schedule?

Ray Lewis coming back from a triceps tear 4 weeks before anyone thought it was possible?

That Jacoby Jones catch of Joe Flacco’s hail mary in Denver? The prayer in thin air? The Mile High Miracle? The Rocky Mountain Rainbow?

And what other team has ever fired its offensive coordinator in Week 14 and then won the Super Bowl eight weeks later?

And none of them have found that kind of Super Bowl form in January and February after stumbling to a dreadful 1-4 finish in the regular season.

It’s all in here and told through various perspectives and prisms. Hopefully, you’ll learn a few things and share some laughter and some tears as you recall the magical journey of the 2012 Baltimore Ravens. And if you like, please tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter about the book. It’s not being mass produced, and is easily purchased via our store at WNST.net.

Unlike my first book on the 2001 Super Bowl championship team, this book isn’t a diary.

My mission for this book was very simple and clear: tell the definitive story of how the 2012 Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. And, really, there are a couple of profiles of guys in this book – Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, and Ray Lewis – that books could be written about when you assess their incredible lives and accomplishments and their theme of overcoming adversity.

As my WNST.net partner and Super Bowl XXXV championship head coach Brian Billick kindly wrote in the foreward to my first book 12 years ago, I just want to get the story right and have a book to pick up a dozen years later that tells the story of how it all came together. Hopefully, for you, this is that book that recalls the tales of the 2012 Baltimore Ravens and the magic purple carpet ride of January 2013.

I still pick up the original “Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac” and the story of how that 2000 team was built and a won a championship stands up, and it brings back amazing memories of that warm night in Tampa in 2001 that I’ll never forget.

My goal beginning at 10 p.m. on February 3, 2013 as the confetti rained down in New Orleans was to make Purple Reign 2 better — chock full of stories, background, and memories that will last a lifetime for any Baltimore Ravens fan.

And in comparing the Super Bowl experience of 2001 to 2013 let’s just say the names have changed and the journeys were bumpy and beautiful, but the ending is the same – it ends with a parade in Baltimore at the end of the journey!

Sounds corny, right? The “journey”…except when Ray Lewis is talking about it.

Both Super Bowl wins for Baltimore were not lacking storylines and tales of human emotion for all involved.

There were tragedies: Jermaine Lewis and Torrey Smith. There were tales of redemption and homecoming for Ray Lewis and Trent Dilfer in Tampa and similar tales in New Orleans for Jacoby Jones and Ed Reed. Rod Woodson and Tony Siragusa were chasing elusive rings at the end of their careers just like Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie were this time.

Both teams had coaches full of fire, armed with the easy motivational tool of being a constant underdog on the road in January and the full love and support of a Baltimore metropolitan area that literally ate, slept and breathed purple in the Charm City.

And the Purple lights were aglow across the Baltimore region for both Super Bowl squads.

Both teams had to weather storms and droughts and dealt with droves of disappointments, injuries, and adversity, but this Super Bowl XLVII team had a love and bond through “faith and a family” environment that is unmatched in what I’ve seen around sports since 1984.

To be honest, I was around the Brian Billick-era Baltimore Ravens nearly every day and had far more access because that’s just the way it was. John Harbaugh is, by his very nature, much more reserved, secretive and somewhat detached — especially with the media regarding information that could make its way into the hands of other coaches around the NFL.

But in the era of social media, live press conferences streamed to my mobile device and an incredible depth of information, video, replays, and mic’d up players, it’s so much easier to be overloaded with Baltimore Ravens mind food in the era of the new media.

I was in the parking lot on that day in November 1995 when Art Modell showed up with the Cleveland Browns – long before the internet, Twitter, blogs, and instant information. I’ve been a PSL holder in Section 513 since inception of the Baltimore Ravens, and my life is ruled by the NFL schedule that comes out each April.

Wherever the Ravens go, I go.

My company, WNST.net has hosted hundreds of Ravens’ fan events in cities all over the country for tens of thousands of purple lovers. Over the last 17 years, I’ve logged countless miles and put in the time and savored the relationships to be in the unique position to write “Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family, Football – A Baltimore Love Story” with passion and civic pride.

As a fan of the Baltimore Ravens and a lifelong Baltimorean in the land of pleasant living, it’s been a satisfying and memorable ride – far exceeding anything we thought possible in 1996 when the dream became a reality.

Planes, trains, buses, rental cars, tailgates, wins, losses, and even one tie – I’ve spent my life in search of good stories and great memories. I love the Baltimore Ravens. I’m a Raven Maniac of the highest order. I also happen to run the all sports radio station at WNST-AM 1570 and every facet of WNST.net that allows me to live inside the bubble of constant sports information.

I’ve lived and breathed it every moment of my life since the early 1970’s in Dundalk as a Baltimore sports fan.

Many people have approached me over the years and given me a kind word on “Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac,” which I wrote immediately following the 2001 Ravens Super Bowl XXXV win in Tampa. It was available 75 days later on the 2001 NFL Draft Day that Todd Heap was their first-round pick. This book, similarly, was assembled in 99 days with painstaking recollection and data