The Baltimore Ravens and 17-year veteran linebacker Ray Lewis captured their 2nd NFL Title defeating the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl 47 held at the Mercedes Benz-Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
It didn’t matter that the Houston Texans demolished the Ravens at Reliant Stadium during the regular season, nor did it matter that three former Texans players now have something that All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson will hopefully get before his playing career is over. Jacoby Jones, Bernard Pollard and Vonta Leach all now have a Super Bowl title to add to their resume.
The Ravens overcame so much adversity throughout the season it was unbelievable. Prior to the start of the season they lost founding owner Art Modell. Later prior to a Monday night game, wide receiver Torrey Smith received a phone call that his younger brother had been killed and he later went out and played and dedicated his two-touchdown performance to his brother. And let’s not forget the inspirational story of the fight that former Rice Owls linebacker and Baltimore Ravens LB O.J. Brigance has given as he continues to battle ALS. Brigance still serves as the Ravens Director of Player Personnel.
LB Ray Lewis made a public retirement announcement on January 2nd. It started a wave of determination to fight to the bitter end for the Baltimore Ravens team. Lewis for the past 17 years has been the inspirational leader for the Ravens. He has given so much of himself to the team and the entire organization. The team wanted to give him a going away present, which was his second championship ring.
“Can you imagine? The final series of Ray Lewis career was a goal-line stand for the Lombardi Trophy,” coach John Harbough said. “What a fitting way for him to go out.”
It had been 12 years since Lewis, 37, and the Ravens last played in a Super Bowl, beating the New York Giants with Lewis earning MVP honors. He was 25 then, and the best middle linebacker in the game.
Oh, and his final NFL game, even as he dealt with his ill grandmother, Elease McKinney, who is hospitalized with complications of diabetes. “My ultimate goal with this crew of men was to get back to the Super Bowl. I wanted to experience winning with this team.”
“And now that I experienced it, it was awesome! The bottom line is I want to feel what that confetti feels like. It’s real with me when I say I’m done.”
Lewis got to feel what the confetti felt like and the most wonderful feeling of hugging teammates, owners, and various other members of the Ravens organization, and then holding up the Lombardi Trophy on a football shaped stage.
Ray Lewis has now concluded a 17-year career in which he played 228 regular-season games and 21 in the postseason. The 13-time Pro Bowler was the only current Raven with a championship ring; he was MVP of Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 in Tampa, Florida, just 35 miles from where he was raised. Lewis has said that he wants to spend more time with his children, including watching Ray Lewis III play for the Miami Hurricanes.
Ray Lewis last ride was a wonderful testament of a young man who starred at the University of Miami as a linebacker. He was drafted into the NFL and throughout various ups and downs he still managed to come out on top. And as he told many reporters and other members of the media during the week – “What God has for you , no one can take away from you!”