As I write this, the gridlock is finally lifting downtown, as a cold and happily bedraggled crowd of 200,000 people head for home. But it’s a glorious gridlock for this human sea of purple, as the city wraps up its wild celebration of the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory. I was in the thick of it (I was at the Super Bowl when the Ravens won in 2001, but didn’t go this time because I didn’t want to miss the victory party), and can testify it astounded even those who had been to a party or two in their time.
“You know, I’m from New Orleans and we have Mardis Gras,” Ravens wide-receiver Jacoby Jones commented to a reporter. “But that, right here? That was like [Mardi Gras] times 10.”
Jones, of course, was just one of the wild-card elements that made this victory so much more dramatic. Then there was the then-mysterious half-hour power outage that robbed the Ravens of their momentum. (I note that as of press time, Big Easy practitioners of the art have ruled out Voodoo.) The other twists to the game included the Brothers Harbaugh and, of course, it was a last, crowning moment in the remarkable Baltimore-centric career of two-time Super Bowl winner Ray Lewis. “Baltimore will always be in my heart,” Lewis said afterwards. Right back at ya’, big fella.
I don’t know what it takes for Baltimore to shed its underdog complex, but if something like this doesn’t do it, nothing will. Especially when you consider how close the guys at the stadium next door came to the World Series just months earlier.
Weeks after this phenomenal victory, I expect Charm City to still be basking in the glow, its tattered Ravens pennants still flying proudly from cars, homes, and businesses. But we of course have two great teams to follow in the coming year, and it’ll soon be time to break out the orange and black.
It doesn’t happen very often that a city wins both the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year—it was 1970 for us. And after this Super Bowl, I posted on Facebook that “The year of the ‘birds,’ part one, is now complete—part two is the O’s winning the World Series.”