The Baltimore Ravens are going to the Super Bowl! Happy New Year? Surprised? Divine Intervention (according to Ray Lewis)? Are you kiddin’ me? Yes, Yes, Possibly and No. How about if we just call it “pleasantly unexpected?” Or maybe ……the team is simply on a roll, playing inspired football. Whatever it is, it has Baltimore and its fans energized. The Ravens are headed to New Orleans to play in the NFL championship game.
I had written the Ravens off after the Houston Texans blow out game on October 21st. Ray-Ray was gone, Camera Cameron was still at the helm, defense was porous and they had just come off “gift wins” against the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowgirls. Anyone out there claiming, “I knew they were going to make it to the Super Bowl”, is either lying or ignorant to the game of football. Bye week – then handily beat the Browns and Raiders. They receive 2 more “gift wins” at Steelers and at Chargers. Then they close it out with 4 of 5 losses. Oh yeah, the Ravens were by far - the peoples choice to head to the promised land. Crash and burn – I thought. Thanks to sub-par efforts by the rest of the division – the Ravens were handed the division title and slipped into the playoffs.
A few significant events happened along the way, though. 1. Camera Cameron was fired – “They have a chance!” 2. Ray-Ray was coming back for the playoffs -”They have a chance!” 3. Ray-Ray announces retirement – “They have motivation!” Rut-row rest of NFL, look out – it’s a brand new ballgame. Indy Irsays into town for Wildcard game – Ray Lewis’ last home game – yeah right, Irsays – you were leaving Baltimore with a win on that one ……..don’t think so. Travel to Mile High against another nemesis, Peyton Manning – A Ravens Classic game surfaces with a double overtime victory. Finally they travel to the dreaded Northeast against a whiner – result is a second half beat down – Ravens are off to the Super Bowl. Yeah, buddy.
None of those circumstances were on my radar. You can wish, you can hope, you can dream. But when such positive results endure such an unexpected series of events – it is just darn good for the soul. Baltimore is back on the map. The Orioles with their magic season and now the Ravens with their unexpected run of success. Win or lose, it’s been a nice past two sports seasons here in Charm City.
How about Rays retirement party being delayed 2 weeks? Hey Boston, MA – how was your season ending party Sunday evening? Better yet, how was your Monday? Come February 3rd though, Super Bowl Sunday will be Ray Lewis’, “Last Dance” – Donna Summer. In my book, Ray Lewis is one of the top 3 linebackers of all-time (if not #1). He is also the greatest team motivator and leader, I have seen in my lifetime. From the first game against Oakland at Memorial Stadium up until this past Sunday, Baltimore Raven and football fans all over, have been blessed with the opportunity to witness a legend in the making. Ray Lewis is taking/willing this team to the Promised Land.
In my point of view, he is a little over the top with his preaching, praying and quoting of bible verses. He is a passionate man on a mission to close out his football legacy………….whatever works Ray………you play it out. Carry John Horribaugh and your teammates as far as you can. Let them ride your coat tails Ray-Ray. Horribaugh has been on them the whole time. One more game, one more ride, one last dance.
And to think this season started out with “Replacement Refs”. GO RAVENS!