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

January 11, 2018 | Nestor Aparicio

amalgamation from a lifetime of sports memories with the Ravens.

And as a sports fan already blessed with a few championships in my lifetime, you know you only get so many chances. And given the sheer ineptitude of the Orioles for a generation it has rested solely on the backs of the Ravens to deliver for Baltimore. And this 2013 Super Bowl title felt, acted and marinated differently than Tampa in 2001. I’m sure Ray Lewis, Ozzie Newsome, O.J. Brigance feel the same way. And I’m sure you do, too — if you bleed purple.

So, we’ve reprinted “Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac” for those of you who want to relive the 2001 Super Bowl title through the eyes of a manic, 33-year old radio station owner, who struck up a strange, enduring friendship with the head coach and several assistants on that special team.

And I’m really honored that 12 years later you’ve picked up this 2013 book to complete the tales of the first two Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl championships. I’ll be researching Purple Reign 3 right up until the moment the next group of purple warriors grab a piece of their own confetti.

Lord knows, you’re not willed to these championships. You can’t buy them no matter how much money any fan dumps on PSLs, season tickets, or cable TV extortion of money.

As we’ve learned in 2001 and 2013, oft-times they’re both unpredictable and completely unexpected — these championship runs. And that’s what makes it so much fun!

It’s truly “priceless” when your team or your town wins a championship.

It’s not for sale. It’s the Hope Diamond. There’s only one every year and they’re so damned hard to win. Ask any NFL fan in the state of Ohio. Ask Philadelphia Eagles fans. Ask long-suffering Washington Redskins fans. And don’t get me started on Buffalo! And if you’re an Orioles fan, well, 1983 was a long, long time ago.

So it is by the grace of God that this book is in your hands and that this story unfolded the way it did.

It took 12 years to write the sequel, and I’m grateful. There’s a lot of love and joy reflected in these pages.

It has a happy ending.

The Ravens lost to the Steelers, Redskins, and Eagles in 2012 and STILL won the Super Bowl. That’s the ultimate bragging right for any fan walking the Ocean City boardwalk amongst mixed NFL marriages and friendships in our football-obsessed region.

In their march to New Orleans, the Ravens beat the Colts, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick. John Harbaugh finally beat his younger brother Jim in a game that mattered.

And as the elder Harbaugh told David Letterman: “You do wake up thinking ‘Thank God I beat him!’ Yes. You do. It would’ve been a long life, ya know?”

In my mind, every team that wins a Super Bowl had a “perfect” season.

A happy ending is as close to perfect as anyone in the NFL has gotten since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Harbaugh put it differently: “It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t pretty. But it was us…”

Beware: there are tons of references to “family” and “brothers” and “team” in this book about the 2012 Baltimore Ravens and their Super Bowl 47 triumph. There are also plenty of references to “God” and “faith” in this book.

That really defines this championship to the many people who gave their time before, during, and after the Super Bowl to tell the stories that comprise “Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family, Football – A Baltimore Love Story.”

And the book really is a love story. Player after player outwardly said they loved each other and loved football. It has a city and fan base that loves football and loved the way this team battled and showed the perseverance to bring home a Lombardi Trophy. And it has a parade. A really big one, too!

And here’s one piece of my personal spiritual advice — and if you take nothing else out of this book, take this! And it’s my tribute to the Harbaugh boys and it comes from their father.

I could put it in my own words but I’ll let the words of Jack Harbaugh, father of John and Jim Harbaugh, talk about the love of his life and the mother of the two head coaches of Super Bowl 47:

“Back in 1957, Jackie and I were freshmen at Bowling Green State University. One of the great college coaches, his name was Doyt Perry. He’s a Hall of Famer, he was our college coach there. Our second year there, he held a class. It was Football 101. There were 35 guys in the class, all purporting to be coaches. That’s what they wanted to do, high school coaches and possibly college coaches. On the first day of the class, Doyt stood up and he said ‘How many of you here want to be coaches?’ and of course 35 hands went up. And he said ‘To start the class, I’m going to tell you the three things that are going to be necessary for you to be a coach.”

“Number three, you have to have a love and passion for the game of football. “

“Number two, you need to outwork the people that you are coaching against.’ He said, ‘The reason I say that, I’ve been around you for about a year and there’s not many of you here that are going to outsmart anybody so you had better be prepared to outwork them.’”

“And he said ‘Number one on the list, if you want to be a coach someday, marry wisely.”

“I guarantee the only advice that I know I listened and followed from the great coach Doyt Perry was the ‘marry wisely’ part. Jackie Harbaugh is the foundation of this Harbaugh family. She is the rock of our family. She’s the one that moved us 17 times in a 43 year coaching career. She sold houses at every stop and she bought houses at every stop. She took them in to school and out of school. She went to school when things didn’t go well. This is my hero right here, Jackie Harbaugh. You’re going to ask us how we feel on this historic day? Jackie, who has it better than us? Nobody!”

This book is a tribute to my wife, the former Jennifer Ford (who IS built Ford tough). We got to share this Super Bowl XLVII adventure together, and I’m forever grateful.

And trust me, nobody has it better than me to be writing this book with Jenn, Kitty and my own, mother, friends, and family all by my side as the Baltimore Ravens won yet another Super Bowl title that meant the world to all of us. (And yes, that’s my 93-year old Mom on the back cover with Bryant McKinnie.)

Thanks to all of you for making this “ride” so memorable and special!

It was The Last Ride for Ray Lewis, but I hope it’s not our last ride as a community.

Bring on the confetti!

If you’re a football fan of any kind, I hope you’ll love the book. And if you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan, I know you’ll love the happy ending!