I still haven’t been able to stop replaying the events of February 3rd on my DVR. I’m still flipping through the newspapers and magazines that flew off shelves in the subsequent days. When my team, the Baltimore Ravens, wins the Super Bowl I’m going to live with it for a while and savor it…certainly for more than a month.
Hell, I milked Super Bowl XXXV for twelve years. I still have tremendous memories of the 2000 championship. That’s the beauty of winning a championship in sports. It’s something no one can take away. You hear the players say that a lot. It’s the same for us fans. So with the two titles in mind (one fresh and one fairly distant) let’s compare some facets of the two.
Game Site: XXXV Tampa, XLVII New Orleans. I can’t really compare the two cities per se because I have been to neither. I hear good things about both. As for the venues, I’ve never been one much for domes or artificial turf. Give me grass stains and a slight breeze any day. Working lights are preferable too. Advantage: XXXV (1-0)
Regular Season: XXXV 12-4 Wild Card winner in the AFC Central, XLVII 10-6 AFC North Division Champs. In 2000, the Ravens darted to a 5-1 record before losing three straight and never lost again. They went 5 games without a TD in October as well. But they had one of the most dominating defenses of all time. This season, Baltimore shot out to a 9-2 record against a tough schedule before again losing three straight games. After beating the Giants in week 16 and clinching the division, they lost a meaningless game in Cincinnati. It was somewhat of an anti-climactic end to a season that started on all cylinders. Advantage: XXXV (2-0)
Uniforms: XXXV all white, XVLII white jersey blank pants. I have always liked the classic all-white look for an NFL team. And some grass stains never hurt. The last few years though, the white top, black pants combo has grown on me. If there is one team in the NFL that should wear a lot of black it’s the Ravens. Plus the old white socks with purple and black stripes killed the look in 2000. Advantage: XLVII (1-2)
Playoff run: XXXV Denver, at Tennessee, at Oakland. XVLII Indianapolis, at Denver, at New England. In 2000, the playoffs came to Baltimore for the first time since 1977. It was a huge deal and solid performance in beating Denver. Winning in Tennessee was a blood bath between the NFLs two best teams. Oakland was almost an afterthought. This year’s games included Ray’s Last Dance, the Mile High Miracle and the exorcism of the demons (i.e. a certain WR and kicker) in New England. Advantage: XLVII (2-2)
Radio announcers: XXXV Scott Garceau and Tom Matte. XLVII Gerry Sandusky, Stan White and Qadry Ismael. Garceau was smooth and clean in my book. He rarely made mistakes and had a great grasp of the game’s intricacies. Matte was the stereotypical homer but he added the right amount of insight if a bit bumbling at times. Sandusky has certainly made his mark with “Touchdowwwwwwn Ravens” and “The hay is in the barn!” but I think the trio can miss things that, to me, seem obvious. Plus, I don’t see where the two man analyst combo works that well on the radio. Advantage: XXXV (3-2)
TV Crew. XXXV CBS Gumble and Simms, XLVII CBS Nantz and Simms. I think both play-by-play guys did admirable jobs. Simms is solid but pulls out the “Golly Card” or the “Shucks Card” a bit too much. I have major beef with the Gumble/Simms pairing though. When Jamal Lewis scored a TD late in XXXV, the play was reviewed at the request of the Giants. If you remember, he fumbled the ball forward as he crossed the plain. It was debatable whether he got in or not. Not debatable was the fact that Qadry Ismael scooped up the ball in the end zone. It was going to be a TD either way. No one ever mentioned that. To this day, I haven’t heard anyone address that. But that oversight could be offset by Simms’ constant gushing over Colin Kaepernick this year. Advantage: Push
Halftime Show: XXXV Britney Spears and guests, XLVII Beyonce and guests. I must admit, I don’t really watch the halftime show but Britney in her heyday was no slouch. But they had to junk her up with Aerosmith and NSync for some reason. At least they let Beyonce have the stage mostly to herself. Advantage: XVLII (3-3-1)
Pregame intros: XXXV The Squirrel, XVLVII team unity. Ray Lewis busted out “the squirrel dance” for the whole world in 2000. This year, the Ravens came out together as one (as did the Niners) in what I would call a little cliché and a downright buzz kill. The intros to me were always kind of cool. Advantage: XXXV (4-3-1)
The game itself: XXXV Baltimore 34, NYGiants 7. XVLII Baltimore 34, San Fran 31. From a nerves standpoint, XXXV was a relative breeze. Up 10-0 at half, a 17-0 lead was cut into late in the 3rd only when the Giants scored on the kickoff after which, Jermaine Lewis returned the favor and restored order. The rest of the game was a celebration. This season’s game was certainly enjoyed more by the rest of the country. Watching teams hang onto big early leads isn’t my strong suit though. We could debate the better long TD pass (Stokely or Jones) or kickoff return (Lewis or Jones). The better offensive performance came this year. The better defensive show was in 2000. The end results were equally fantastic however. Advantage: Push
Emotional Attachment: I don’t think there is much doubt that the city is more emotionally attached to the Ravens now than in 2000. The first championship team still had guys that were signed by the Cleveland Browns and were only five years removed from that ugly divorce. It’s faded from memories now. The 2012 bunch had two certain hall of fame players that had been in Baltimore their whole careers. The Super Bowl XLVII Champs had been so close before, twice losing the AFC Title game. Though there is always something special about your first time, there is a lot to be said for that long, invested relationship. Advantage: XLVII. (4-4-2)
So in my scientific break down, it’s a push! As it should be. Or maybe the better Super Bowl Champ hat here and here should break the tie? That’s a tough one for me to call too. I guess we can wait a few months and use Better Looking Ring ! That’s a lot more fun than already worrying about who will or won’t be here in September.