For the Ravens, this victory is well deserved. It is a byproduct of hard work, dedication and resolve in the face of adversity (including untimely power outages).
This spiritual football team houses a rare blend of talent, confidence and unfettered brotherhood others should aspire to.
The Ravens are a class organization indeed.
Yet, while pundits debate which Ravens players left the biggest footprint in this title fight, it is essential that a game ball goes to the Ravens faithful fans.
As players often take on the personality of their coach, Ravens Nation has taken on the personality of their football team.
While some writers berated “rust-belt” Baltimore, wasted cash throwing up billboards and then wrongly went after Ray Lewis using deer-antler spray as a grenade (per Sports Illustrated), Ravens Nation sat very quietly, very confidently and with unfettered faith in the Ravens' ability to get the job done.
This is because the Ravens and their fans know what they are about.
For Baltimore's fans, the term “Purple Passion” is not a one-year motto. It is not some super trendy catchphrase to get butts in seats. Quite the contrary, "Purple Passion" is a deeply held conviction shared by all faithful to the Ravens.
While fans love Baltimore’s Marching Ravens Band, the team's cheerleaders and the Ravens' mascot, “Poe,” as well as fun tailgate parties in the shadows of M&T Bank Stadium, it is the strong sense of community that sets this fanbase apart from many others in sports.
Throughout the state of Maryland and beyond, pride for the Ravens runs deep. For better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, Baltimoreans of all cultures and creeds are faithful to this steadfast football team.
This loyalty is reflected in the overwhelming sea of black and purple jerseys scurrying about the French Corridor in New Orleans. These same jerseys filled Mercedes-Benz Superdome just a few hours later.
Back home, it can be seen in old watering holes lining Canton, Federal Hill and along cobble-stoned Fells Point, where droves of rowdy Ravens fans echo the chorus from “Seven Nation Army.”
Ravens pride is also seen in the workplace. Dubbed “Purple Friday,” Ravens faithful buck traditional dress codes for outrageous gear that could be confused for attire seen during Mardi Gras.
And when Ravens games are on, Baltimore transforms from a bustling sea town to a ghost town, where whipping winds between row houses are left to their own devices.
True, Ravens fans do not always agree on this team’s direction. And at times, debates can be heated.
But in the midst of these rumbles is the agreement that every Ravens fan wants this team to perform at a Super Bowl level every single year.
Put another way: Ravens Nation does not accept rebuilding. It will accept nothing less than reloading.
Even during the summer months, Ravens fans shatter the airwaves with talk of football. Only a truly magical run by Buck Showalter’s Orioles last summer upended this regular feature in Baltimore.
As a writer, things like this are inspiring to see. As is watching thousands of Ravens fans bear brutal cold weather in downtown Baltimore to see their AFC champion Ravens off to gridiron war in New Orleans.
Now that the confetti has fallen, and Baltimore has rightly been crowned Super Bowl champs, Baltimoreans should pat each other on the back. For while this proud football team is iconic in its own right, the team has thrived on positive energy unleashed by fans on the home front.
It is for these reasons Ravens Nation most certainly deserves a game ball.
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