Maybe it’s just me, but there is something about this year’s trip to the playoffs that tastes a whole lot sweeter.
To say that the Ravens have overcome adversity this season doesn’t seem to do justice to the national backlash, criticism and skepticism that they have faced throughout 2014. Despite having the odds stacked against them, the Ravens have proven once again that they are mentally and physically one of (if not the) toughest football teams in the NFL.
I am proud to be part of a fan base that supports a team that has demonstrated such strength and unity during a time of intense scrutiny. There are no words to describe how difficult it felt as a fan to see the organization and the city that I love under the microscope.
To the Baltimore Ravens: I am sorry that there have been times when people have questioned your actions and questioned your character. I am sorry that there are people who will not see past the good that you do in the community and will see only a team stained by recent off-field incidents. I am sorry that there will be times that you don’t receive the recognition that you deserve on the field for things that have happened off of it, but at the end of the day, those that love you continue to stand beside you.
As I look back at the 2014 regular season, I can’t help but think that the best Ravens football might be yet to come in the postseason. Watching the momentum change during the 4th quarter of Sunday’s game, as the Ravens realized that their playoff hopes were certainly not dead yet, made me reminisce about the 2012 season that led to the Super Bowl.
The 10-6 2012 Baltimore Ravens, bear a striking resemblance to the 10-6 Ravens we’ve watched in 2014.
Inconsistent at times, but clutch in the moments that mattered most.
Saturday’s trip to Pittsburgh doesn’t make me nervous. As they sit atop the AFC North, the Steelers don’t scare me like they usually would.
I look at the Ravens and I see a team that has proven against all odds, that they know how to drown out the noise, shut down the haters and get the job done.
I truly believe that there are few teams in the NFL who wouldn’t have let this season’s controversies eat them alive. Instead, the Baltimore Ravens took everything in stride and marched their way into the post-season just in the nick of time, in true Ravens fashion.
When we put on our purple this Friday in Baltimore, we do so knowing that we don’t have anything to be afraid of. We dismantled the Steelers once this season, and also had it handed to us by them.
We know all too well that in one of the league’s most heated rivalries, there is no favorite. When these two teams take the field, anything can happen.
I know my Ravens are going to bring their best and leave everything that they have out on the field.
To me, this season’s playoff berth represents more than any of them before it.
This season, we beat the odds. We made it.
We did what no one thought we’d be able to do.
I know on Saturday, we are more than capable of doing the same.
Pittsburgh, you don’t scare me.
Submitted by Taylor Boyd
Follow Taylor on Twitter at @TaylorABoyd