Ah, how fortunate. The earliest memory I have of the Baltimore Ravens is handwritten, logged in this girly-looking journal I received from my aunt back in 1998. Don't judge me. Judge my aunt's taste in journals.
Back in 2001 -- when I was possibly the only seventh grader wearing contact lenses ... when the World Wrestling Federation's owner Vince McMahon created the XFL ... when I championed the 'newbs' in math class as the biggest
nerd whiz ... when Adam took my expensive, prized Pokemon card (a Charizard), out of its case and kicked the holographic card down the bus aisle to never be found again -- I for some reason, knew in my soul that the Ravens would crush the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.
While a Minnesota Vikings-Ravens bout would have served as the league's dreamiest babe of a matchup, the NFC was represented by a galvanizing, ground-shaking Giants team coming off a confidence-fortifying, 41-0 shutout of the Vikings. Still, I'd be verbally destroyed if I denied this fact: watching Minnesota's high-octane offense featuring four Pro Bowlers quarterback Daunte Culpepper, running back Robert Smith, and receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss challenge the league's second-best defense would have been much, much more enticing.
I recall the Ravens defense under defensive coordinator - whoa - Marvin Lewis demoralizing the Giants offense play after play under - double whoa - current New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. Some fans love offensive shootouts; for others, a stout defensive stand is a crisp refreshment.
Welp, I prefer shootouts and for that reason my expectations were derailed after the third quarter, when the scoreboard read 24-7. That outcome taught me an invaluable lesson: never take Super Bowls for granted. I was naive to think that the game would end with Ray Lewis holding back the outstretched arm of Tiki Barber, failing to break the plane of the goal line -- by a yard -- the same pose Titans' receiver Kevin Dyson pulled in the Super Bowl a year ago
The Giants registered 152 yards on offense, the third-lowest total ever in a championship. The Ravens sacked Kerry Collins four times and forced five turnovers. That's no joke. All Giants' possessions, 16, ended with punts or interceptions, with the exception of their last drive, due to time running out.
Check the chart out below. Makes you wonder when the Ravens defense will ever be that talented again.
|Qadry Ismail||WR||Ike Hilliard|
|Jonathan Ogden||LT||Lomas Brown|
|Edwin Mulitalo||LG||Glenn Parker|
|Jeff Mitchell||C||Dusty Zeigler|
|Mike Flynn||RG||Ron Stone|
|Harry Swayne||RT||Luke Petitgout|
|Shannon Sharpe||TE||Ron Dixon|
|Brandon Stokley||WR||Amani Toomer|
|Trent Dilfer||QB||Kerry Collins|
|Priest Holmes||RB||Tiki Barber|
|Sam Gash||FB||Greg Comella|
|Rob Burnett||LE||Michael Strahan|
|Sam Adams||LDT||Cornelius Griffin|
|Tony Siragusa||RDT||Keith Hamilton|
|Michael McCrary||RE||Cedric Jones|
|Peter Boulware||LOLB||Micheal Barrow|
|Ray Lewis||MLB||Jessie Armstead|
|Jamie Sharper||ROLB||Emmanuel McDaniel|
|Duane Starks||LCB||Dave Thomas|
|Chris McAlister||RCB||Jason Sehorn|
|Kim Herring||SS||Sam Garnes|
|Rod Woodson||FS||Shaun Williams|
What are your earliest Ravens childhood memories? Comment below!