One year ago we were basking in the glow of being a Super Bowl participant. Collectively we had a swagger. The Ravens were kings and we their humble servants.
Together we steamrolled the franchise that broke our hearts in 1984, dropped a Mile High Miracle on Denver and carved the Patriots at Gillette Stadium with razor precision.
There was just one more standing in our way in pursuit of another Lombardi – the San Francisco 49ers.
Tens of thousands gathered at The Inner Harbor while many more watched on TV from home or their offices as our town gave the Ravens a raucous send off to New Orleans, site of Super Bowl XLVII.
Dressed for business the Ravens looked relaxed and confident and as they said goodbye and closed out the rally to Ed Reed leading a chorus of “Two Tickets to Paradise” we smiled, we laughed, we sang along and we believed.
And the Ravens delivered.
What a difference a year makes.
This week is the team’s last as defending Super Bowl Champions. The previous 51 weeks have provided many highs and some lows. The 2013 campaign wasn’t what we expected, starting with the season’s opening night, when the Ravens were forced to play on the road in Denver.
They deserved better.
Defending the crown is incredibly difficult in the modern day NFL. The season before is longer and the offseason shorter and laced with the distractions that typically accompany champions. Players leave to cash in on their success. Attrition is a nasty byproduct of reaching the NFL’s pinnacle.
But we all knew this going in.
The challenges are daunting.
We just didn’t expect our team to handle them so clumsily.
Chalk it up to experience and like any good organization the Ravens will get back up, dust themselves off, figure out why they’ve fallen and work diligently to once again be among the dazzling dozen still standing in the post season in 2014.
So as we prepare for Super Bowl XLVIII and enjoy our final few days as defending champions, take solace in the fact that the struggles of the 2013 season will fade over time. What will be remembered most are that championship and that trophy.
They are the indelible marks upon the history books.
They are part of our civic pride and our heritage.
Remember where you were, whom you were with and the incomparable joy you felt.
Look back upon the pictures that captured those moments in time.
They will echo in eternity.
Please share your Super Bowl XLVII memories below…