By Samuel Njoku
A wild season of football just came to an end in the NFL, and the last team standing was the Baltimore Ravens. Was their historic championship run preordained by God? Or was this team championship run the result of a roster full of top notch talent? Probably a little bit of both. But no matter how you slice it, the Ravens are the proud owner of the Vince Lombardi trophy. And it was far from easy.
The Ravens dealt with more adversity than any other team in the NFL – by far. Before the season started, Baltimore was devastated with the news that former owner Art Modell passed away. The team would dedicate the season in his honor. Terrell Suggs would tear his Achilles tendon, crippling the Ravens pass rush in the process. Many wondered if Suggs would play at all this season. Suggs wouldn’t be the only player to get hurt this season. Lardarius Webb was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Ray Lewis missed most of the season. Haloti Ngata was hurt for most of the season. The team was hit with haymaker after haymaker after haymaker. But Baltimore would not quit; they were convinced this year would be super – and it was.
Many fans will point to Ray Lewis’ retirement as the reason for Baltimore’s post season success – and it was. But evidence of Baltimore’s resilience would be in full display a full three months prior to the announcement. At M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night, Torrey Smith played for his late brother. He would do so hours after learning of his death. It wasn’t as much Smith’s performance that caught my attention. It was the way the team rallied behind Torrey that day. The support that the team had for him was indescribable. It was that day that you knew John Harbaugh wasn’t building a team – he was building a family.
“That’s our brother. That’s our brother,” Bernard Pollard expressed when asked about Torrey Smith that night. “This was a very tough loss [for Torrey Smith]. Our condolences go to the Smith family. Torrey came, he came and he won, so that says a lot about him. We’re just grateful here to have him on our team, so we’ll rally behind him, and he’s going to be okay. Anytime you lose family, that’s really tough, but he has 60-plus men and coaches that are family in here.”
Teams go through adversity and are unable to overcome them, but families go through adversity every day. They persevere and they move on. That is the story of the Baltimore Ravens 2012 season. The Ravens had the ability to persevere through adversity. The path that they endured was as bumpy as they get, but they continued on that path; a path that eventually led to a Vince Lombardi trophy. The Baltimore Ravens are the Super Bowl Champions. They hold that trophy not as a team, but as a family.
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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.