The Superbowl: the biggest stage in sports, one game, two teams, millions of people watching. Nothing amounts to this one event, not the NBA Finals, not even the World Series. This is when people from all over the country tune into the event to support their team, see the next ad for a summer blockbuster or watch the lovely Beyonce Knowles perform at halftime. But for me this Superbowl is more than a match up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, where the respective coaches of each team, Jim and John Harbaugh, are brothers. It is more than the Ravens beating the 49ers. For me, this is a about the Ravens playing to cement the legacy of one of the greatest linebackers of all time: Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens.
Ray Lewis is a 13 time Pro Bowler, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, the MVP of Superbowl XXXV, a seven-time member of the All-Pro team and a first ballot Hall of Famer. Ray played with the Baltimore Ravens ever since the birth of the franchise in 1996. Ever since then, he has been the heart and soul of the team. In other words, Ray Lewis is the Baltimore Ravens. Go on Youtube and search up “Ray Lewis inspiration”. Watch one of those videos and you will be inspired by his words (inspiring enough to get me pumped up for homework). You will see that Ray is a football player like no other; he plays with unmatched passion and intensity. Some of us may have seen his epic dance as he comes out of the tunnel of M&T Bank Stadium. His philosophy on the game and life is truly inspirational. This past Sunday, Ray played the last game of his decorated NFL career. After dispatching the young Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Playoff Round, grinding past the Denver Broncos in a double overtime thriller, dominating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game (who they lost to last year in the same round) and beating the San Francisco 49ers in the Superbowl, Baltimore somewhat shocked the world! Although the 37-year-old Ray Lewis did not play like the MVP he was in his previous Superbowl (that MVP Award went to Ravens QB Joe Flacco) in this game, he did what many players dream of: riding into the sunset as a champion.
However, we can’t forget about the young and fiery 49ers! Two years ago, they did not even make the playoffs! Last year, they lost to the eventual Superbowl Champions New York Giants in the NFC Championship game. They obliterated the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round and came back from 17-0 deficit in the NFC championship game against the Atlanta Falcons to win the game behind QB Colin Kaepernick’s leadership. When they were down 21-6 at halftime, Kaepernick led a comeback to cut the deficit to 5 points with the score at 34-29. However, the Ravens prevailed after Kaepernick’s incomplete pass at fourth and goal with less than a minute remaining. Mark my words; the 49ers will be back next year.
But this year, it’s about the Baltimore Ravens, an old dynasty that has failed to make the Superbowl for the last twelve years has finally bought their 2nd Lombardi Trophy to Baltimore.
"I appreciate how pure the moments really are, because I promised my teammates & my coaches something, that we will finish this, we will see another Lombardi trophy in Baltimore, I owe them that, I owe a certain group of those men to touch that together"- Ray Lewis, A Football Life
You guys should check out the documentary about Ray Lewis above!