Preparation is underway for Super Bowl XLVII, as for the Ravens, they are treating their journey to the Super Dome as a “business trip”. John Harbaugh stressed that, “Yes, we want to enjoy it, but we want to enjoy all the things about it that make it special. You can do all those other things anytime. You can do them next week if you want, but you aren’t going to be going to the Super Bowl next week. You are going to be going to the Super Bowl this week. It’s a very special moment; so let’s enjoy all the things pertaining to the football game and the preparation and all those things and a little time with our families. That will be our priority. I will be shocked if our guys have their focus anywhere other than that. I know that our leaders – starting with this guy right over here [points to Ray Lewis] – are going to be a big part of that.” The catalyst for the purple and black is Ray Lewis, and with him being a part of the 2000 Super Bowl team, it could give the Ravens a big advantage. While it’s not like the other players aren’t pumped for the game, regardless, Lewis’s knowledge of how to handle the atmosphere is something that should be a huge benefit . Harbaugh said, “Ray is a Super Bowl MVP. His leadership, obviously, is really important for us. His leadership off the field and understanding how to approach a game like this is big for our younger guys. Also, as a football player, he has played really well. He’s played just like he’s always played.” As Lewis is going through his ride of his life…. It is very exciting and thrilling for him as he gets one last shot at the Lombardi trophy.
This team also has something that many do not have, which is relationships with each other that makes them stronger. Veteran Ed Reed admitted what is means to have a chance to send Lewis out a Champion, “Awesome. I told him, ‘This is a Super Bowl practice.’ And he said, ‘Who would’ve thought it?’ It’s awesome. I can’t explain it. It’s just so much joy, for all of us as an organization, to get to this point, for what we’ve been battling for years, but really since coach [John] Harbaugh got here [in 2008]. From what he implemented as scheme, what he wanted to do as a coach, what he wanted this organization to be – there were some bumps and bruises in there. There was some adversity that we went through in all of these seasons past, and even this season, to get here. You say we’re making plays at the right time, but we’ve earned it. We’ve earned our spot.” This team has so much chemistry and a strong bind that has carried them through the hardest of times this season. With everything that has gone on throughout the previous tears as well, the Ravens will carry that mentality into New Orleans. Their mindset is to be focused and finish the job. Who will that player be to step up and guide them to a victory? Ray Lewis has an answer…. Joe Flacco.
Flacco can cement his status among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL with a Super Bowl win. He did however, downplay his role as a leader…. due to the fact that Lewis is still in the lockeroom, and no one can replace his leadership skills. Flacco is 8-4 in the postseason and being one win away from capturing his first Lombardi trophy in his fifth season. He is the first QB in NFL history since the (1970 merger) to make the playoffs in each of his first five seasons. He is also the first to win a playoff game in each of his first five years. “There are a lot of different ways to lead, and the bottom line is it’s about motivating your players to get the best out of them and having belief that you can go do it in any situation. And Ray [Lewis] does a great job of that in his own way, and I don’t know if there’s anybody quite like him in that category. So, in an effort to do something along the lines of the way he does it would be a mistake, just because I don’t think you’re going to live up to it. You’ve got to do it your own way, and I think naturally as you get more comfortable with people and people understand you more, and you become more confident in them, and they become more confident in you, you become more vocal as time goes on.” As the Ravens are in the early stage of game planning, they know how important it is to win this game and stay focused.