It's a sad day for Ravens fans as Ray Lewis played his final game in M&T Bank Stadium. You could feel the emotion surging through the stadium the entire 60 minutes of today's game and when Ray Lewis did his iconic squirrel-dance for a final time the crowd was sent into a frenzy; chanting "we love Ray" as he ran a victory lap around the field to thank the fans. Even 500 miles away in South Carolina this Ravens fanatic could feel the emotion seeping through the television screen as I was hard-pressed to keep tears from flowing down my face. Regardless of the fact that the Ravens have progressed another week in the play-offs, it is still a somber day for many Ravens fans as the face of the Baltimore franchise made his last appearance in pads in M&T Bank Stadium.
As I saw the final score glaring at me on the screen and Ray Lewis filled with emotion I came to the realization of how much he meant to me (as I'm sure he meant to many other Ravens fans). Ray Lewis has been playing for the Ravens since the day I was born, and growing up he was my childhood hero. When I was just about 5 years old I was drawn to the magnificent football team named the Baltimore Ravens who, led by a young Ray Lewis, dominated the New York Giants for their first ever Super Bowl title, and from that point on I felt a polarizing grasp by the Baltimore Ravens every time they were on the television. I not only saw a dominant team, but a team filled with passion and heart which was primarily provided by Ray Lewis.
By leading the way for the Ravens to win that Super Bowl Ray Lewis has given me something to look forward too every week for the last decade and some change. It was truly saddening to see my childhood hero wave his goodbyes to Baltimore today as a chapter of my life concluded. However Ray Lewis' career has lived to see another week as the Ravens will be headed to Denver next week to continue their quest for the Lombardi. What a better way to end Ray Lewis' career than to get him another ring?
On behalf of all Ravens fans everywhere I just want to say thank you to Ray Lewis who served as the beating heart of the Baltimore Ravens since the day he stepped on the field. He's a living legend who will truly be missed, and I can't wait to see him be inducted to Canton in 5 years.