It’s been almost a week and the sting of being on the verge of a Super Bowl only to have it literally fall through the Ravens hands is still present. The “what if” talk has begun to settle down and fans are returning to their normal everyday lives while halfheartedly looking forward to baseball season and watch our beloved Orioles flounder through another painful 162 games.
It is hard to view this season as a success, with 3 previous years all ending in the same fashion, and the collective feeling throughout Baltimore that it’s Super Bowl or bust for this team. But as Ray Lewis said in another one of his powerful post game speeches, “there will be only one Super Bowl champ at the end of this year”, someone has to lose and unfortunately it happened to be our team for a fourth straight year in the playoffs.
Many fans felt this was the year, that if they did not win it this year the window may be closed for another decade. With the speculation that Ed Reed, JJ, Ray Lewis, Matt Birk, and several other core Ravens not returning or retiring the Ravens would enter a serious rebuilding process.
I was one of these fans.
But after looking back on everything that happened last Sunday, the season long journey that led up to it and allowing the loss to settle in I realized I am completely wrong.
Ozzie does not build a team to win on a one year push; He builds a team that is capable of being a dynasty. The Ravens have been viewed as being a complete team by analysts around the nation but still draw criticism for failing to show how complete they are on Sunday. The largest target for this criticism has been Joe Flacco.
For those who have had the pleasure, (or maybe displeasure) of talking sports with me know that I am a huge supporter of Joe Flacco, and will defend him till death. What Joe did on Sunday, out dueling Tom Brady, throwing for 300+ yards, and hitting the pinpoint throws (even though they were dropped) that make people call you “elite” hopefully showed Ravens faithful what a few have seen in Joe since day one.
Despite the shortcoming these past four seasons the Ravens winning a second Super Bowl is not a question of “if.” The national collective thought for the Ravens should not be “if” Joe can lead this team to a successful Super Bowl appearance but more a question of “when”.
When will all the pieces finally fall into place for this team?
“When” they go to the big dance remains an unknown at this time. But with a rare mix of youth, talent, leadership, composure, and front office wizardry signs point to sooner rather than later.