At the beginning of the 2012 NFL season, Art Modell, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens and a very influential figure in sports, passed away.
A couple of weeks later, the brother of Ravens’ wide receiver Torrey Smith died in a motorcycle accident.
In the final week of the NFL season, Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis, arguably the most influential and emotional player of the past decade, announced his retirement, saying this season would be his “last ride.”
Finally, quarterback Joe Flacco elevated his game in the playoffs, putting on a show similar to Eli Manning’s Super Bowl run last year.
No matter which way you put it, destiny played a role in the Ravens winning Super Bowl XLVII.
We’ve seen it quite often in sports, as recently as last year’s Super Bowl run by the New York Giants. Sometimes fate has other plans and players increase their level of play almost out of nowhere.
I was talking to a friend of mine who was a 49ers fan, and we both agreed that San Francisco was the better team in nearly every aspect. However, I pointed out to him that the better team doesn’t always win, and that I had a gut feeling that this would be the case.
It turns out I was right, and despite a power outage and furious Niner rally, Baltimore hoisted the Lombardi trophy in the end.
Shocking is a good word to describe how the Ravens were able to turn it on. Losing four of their last five regular season games, it seemed that the Ravens were toast, and that they wouldn’t be the hottest team come year’s end.
But all of a sudden, as if Lewis’s retirement announcement turned the lights on for Baltimore as quickly as the lights went out in the Superdome, the Ravens were a different team.
Let’s start with Lewis. He played in the first six games of the year and looked a little sluggish, showing his age. After tearing his triceps, the emotional linebacker missed the remainder of the regular season. He then channelled his inner Willis Reed by racking up an absurd 51 tackles in four postseason games, all while leading his team.
Then we must look at the Super Bowl MVP, Flacco. Despite playoff success, Flacco was often disrespected for not having the most guady of stats. He tossed away that notion by averaging 285 yards per game, while tossing 11 touchdowns and not a single interception. It’s safe to say he has reached elite status and his critics will be eating a nice plate of crow.
This is what happens with sports. Sure, there are always times when the best team wins it all (last year’s Kentucky Wildcats, for example). But sometimes, something else happens. Sometimes, some things are just meant to be. And for the Ravens, it is their time.