Jerry Coleman: Ravens Going Bowling
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The Ravens have certainly overcome adversity this season. With the passing of former owner Art Modell, the loss Torrey Smith’s brother, battling through the injuries, and of course this being Ray Lewis’s last season. Head Coach John Harbaugh said, “That’s what made the journey – the adversity.” That is what sets a Super Bowl team aside from the teams that are struggling or are close to that goal. One has to fail before they succeed, the Ravens are certainly exceeding expectations and after failing to make it to the BIG game last year, the tables have turned. Harbaugh said, “It’s a professional livelihood and they fight through things – the wins and the losses and all that stuff and the criticism, and all that, it’s all part of it. We all take it personal. It’s who we are. So, it either tears you apart of pushes you together. And it pushed our team together.” Now Lewis, will have a shot to ride into the sunset as a two time Super Bowl Champion. The match-up is set for the Lombardi trophy but the teams will have an extra week to prepare for the game, which will pay dividends for the Ravens. With the emotions of winning the A-F-C Championship behind them , the players will take a few days to reflect on the road that has gotten them to this point.
Teams like the Ravens are built to make it to the Super Bowl. It all starts at the top, and works its way down. The Ravens have tremendous experience in the postseason, they have veteran leadership to guide and help the younger athletes, and a solid coaching staff. There are 30 other teams that are in off season mode, trying to figure what went wrong, while the Ravens prepare for the ultimate challenge. Win another Super Bowl for Lewis and have Joe Flacco tie Peyton Manning for playoffs wins at 9. Flacco’s stock rises each time he wins the in a big game. What a journey for Flacco in the playoffs, he beat the Colts with Andrew Luck and then Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the same postseason, the only other QB to do that was Mark Sanchez. Not even Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, or even Eli Manning have done that. Flacco needs one win to get into a certain class of QB’s, I think we all know what that is….
15-year veteran center Matt Birk is grateful for the opportunity, he said, “That’s the goal, that’s your dream, that’s why you play, nobody deserves it more than anybody else. It doesn’t matter how long you play. Every year getting close and getting close to finally break through, it’s pretty special.” The Ravens have only four who have played in a Super Bowl and seven coaches who have participated in one. Let the team enjoy the win, but the preparation Super Bowl XLVII will not be far behind.