Ray Lewis has silenced all of the haters. Joe Flacco has officially dismissed the doubters. Torrey Smith finally has some joy to share after dealing with a nightmarish tragedy. Ed Reed doesn’t have to worry anymore about his pocketbook being lighter because of delivering another one of his ferocious hits. The NFL’s long and winding season that featured so many subplots and intrigue is now over.
The Baltimore Ravens brotherhood has staked the claim as the best of the rest after putting the San Francisco 49ers away with an exciting 34-31 win in Super Bowl XVL. Right about now Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are somewhere kicking themselves.
Former Dorsey High School and UCLA star Rahim Moore must still be stooping over a toilet in Mile High Stadium for being so sick after allowing the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones get by him for a long touchdown at the end of regulation of a divisional playoff game where Baltimore eventually booted the Broncos out of.
I wonder what the wife of New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker was thinking after watching Lewis, the heart and soul of the Ravens for the last 17 years, let out a bellow of triumph when the time clock hit triple zero at the New Orleans Superdome.
Anna Burns Welker was miffed that the Ravens knocked the lights outs out of her husband and the rest of the getting old and ragged Patriots in defeating New England in the AFC championship game. Burns Welker was so upset that she acted like the bozos and sore losers that the Patriots have recently shown they are, erroneously calling out Lewis on a Facebook post following the game.
Burns Welker took to the social media tool and factually incorrectly alleged that Lewis got off with double-murder and stupidly called out his personal life, which she later apologized. I suppose Burns Welker had to be just a tad pissed off to see Lewis, a future Hall of Famer, basking in the glow of another Super Bowl victory.
However, it’s a good bet that the knucklehead move that Burns Welker exercised after the AFC title game won’t be duplicated because the classless action she took resulted in a huge wave of negative backlash. Speaking of Lewis, this is his last ride. And what a ride it has been. After announcing that he is going to retire after this season, Lewis and the Ravens have played inspired throughout the postseason. It is a good thing that they did.
Otherwise, we’d be singing praises to Manning and the Broncos, a team that had whipped the Ravens during the regular season. After finishing the season losing four of their five games during the regular season, the Ravens got on a roll. What a roll it was. Unlike the team that I saw when they went up against the San Diego Chargers where depended on its famed defense, the Ravens put the onus on Flacon to lead them to the grand prize.
Lead them he did. Flacco completed 11 touchdown passes and didn’t have any picks during the Ravens’ postseason run. After firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replacing him with former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, the Ravens decided to go vertical and took off. Thank goodness that they did because the team I saw live and up close was boring, slow and played ugly. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh’s revised open playbook changed all of that.
The end result concluded with the Ravens pulling off an “us against the world” Super Bowl win. Along the way, Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP, outdueled Andrew Luck, Manning, Tom Brady and hot-shot quarterback Colin Kaepernick in leading the Ravens to the NFL’s ultimate prize. But this win was about Lewis and his career-ending game, riding out his last contest with the guts and courage that has made him one of the NFL’s best ever.
The face of the franchise for nearly two decades, Lewis has become of the symbol of the NFL: pride, passion and ferocity. With the game on the game, Lewis and his defensive buddies closed out the win with a remarkable goal-line stop. It was a fitting way for Lewis to ride off into the sunset and end his career.