Ray Lewis Sparked Ravens’ Championship Run
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By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens’ 2012 season has been very magical indeed. Their season will end one way or another in the Super Bowl. For the most of the season, it appeared that Baltimore would fall short once again for the Lombardi trophy. The Ravens lost to Charlie Batch and the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, and the loss ended their impressive home win streak. Then Baltimore traveled to Washington where they lost to Robert Griffin III in overtime. And just when things couldn’t get any lower for the Ravens, they took a beating at home by the hands of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Things were getting ugly fast – really ugly. But the Ravens didn’t feel sorry for themselves. They weren’t looking for pity from the public for their injury ridden season; they just fought to get better. Since that Broncos game in the regular season, the Ravens haven’t looked back. They’ve looked unstoppable on offense. Joe Flacco has played his best season as a professional quarterback, but the spark that lit the fire for this team came from one man – Ray Lewis.
“I talked to my team today; I talked to them about life, life in general, and everything that starts has an end,” Lewis told reporters days before the postseason began. “It’s just life. And for me, today I told my team that this would be my last ride.”
Some had a good idea the Ravens were going to make noise in the postseason prior to the announcement. This unit had too much talent to be taken for granted, but the impending retirement for Ray Lewis gave this team a much needed sense of urgency, and the aura that Lewis has brought to the field since his return has been downright breathtaking. M&T Bank stadium will never shake the way it shook when Lewis left the tunnel for one last time. The players gravitate toward the 37-year-old icon like a young child would to their father. Embracing that role, Lewis made sure to do things the right way heading into the Super Bowl, and that includes not taking pictures with the precious hardware.
“You see [the trophy here and] everybody wants to have you take pictures with it,” Lewis stated with a straight face. “Like I told my team, don’t ever take pictures with nothing that’s not yours, nothing that you haven’t earned. When we hold that Lombardi — whoever holds that Lombardi next Sunday — you’ve earned it when you touch it. And don’t fool yourself and try to trick yourself [by saying], ‘This feels great.’ Don’t go through that. And don’t even [think about it]. I don’t believe in jinxes and all that, I just believe in don’t set yourself up for something. Just really work for it.”
The Ravens have done just that. They practiced all week in preparation for the big game. Now they’ve landed in New Orleans to complete preparations for the big game. The Ravens are the underdogs for the third straight time this postseason. But it’s hard to go against the Ravens at this point. Not with #52 still calling the shots.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.