By now you have likely heard that the Superbowl is going to be the Arizona Cardinals vs the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's how it is after the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Steelers last night. I was out at the bar watching the game as it unfolded and hoping that we would have a Cinderella story on our hands by winning in our third faceoff against the Steelers this season. Unfortunately, I ended up heartbroken. However I have no hate for the Ravens or how they played tonight. Were mistakes made? Sure, but their heart was in the game and they gave us a great performance.
This season has been amazing for the Ravens because no one expected them to do what they did. Last year their record was 5-11 and so we fired the coach and hired a new one. On top of that, we had a rookie quarterback who by a twist of fate was thrown into being the starting quarterback for the Ravens. All of the national media pundits and even many fans had counted out the Ravens as playoff contenders this year. However, the Ravens blew away everyone's expectations by going 11-5 in the regular season and making it into the playoffs. On top of that, they got all the way to the championship, everyone counted the Ravens out, but they proved them wrong, and I love it.
Joe Flacco did amazing work this year for being thrown into the fire. He stepped up and showed that while he may be a rookie, he has a ton of potential to be one of the great quarterbacks in the NFL. He was coached well by John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron (Offensive Coordinator) and I think we will see a lot more out of him next year. From talking with many fans of rival teams, the common thing I heard was "I don't like the Ravens, but I like Flacco." People paid attention to him, and that's a great thing. I immediately saw in the pre-season that Flacco was not one to panic under pressure, unlike Kyle Boller, and that is something the Ravens offensive line desperately needed. After watching him play in the regular season, I was hooked, he's got a fan out of me. Now he's made a name for himself and done something no other rookie quarterback has done. He got to the playoffs and won two playoff games; any other rookie has only won one game. That's something he can hold for himself now.
Flacco, combined with guys such as Ray Rice, LeRon McClain, and Willis McGahee created a much better offensive line than we ever predicted, especially under the coaching of Cam Cameron as the offensive coordinator. Add to that our well-known defense, and we became a force to be reckoned with. What scares me a bit now is that we could lose Rex Ryan, our defensive coordinator to another team, and some of our defensive players are getting up there and might be looking to retire or go elsewhere, we shall see.
Despite what happened tonight, I am extremely proud of the Ravens and how far they made it. They earned their season and they have a shot at earning a ring next year. Pittsburgh had better look out though, now they have intensified their rivalry, and we are going to want that win!
As I was writing this, I was waiting at the Owings Mills mall for the bus with the players to arrive for a rally. There were lots of fans there ready to cheer on their Ravens when they rolled back into town. People were beating drums and yelling rally chants, along with plenty of "STEELERS SUCK!" Eventually a cop got on the loudspeaker and announced the Ravens would be rolling in around 2 AM since the plane was on the tarmac still. Okay, fine, I can sit in my car and warm up a bit. 1:30 rolls around and now it looks like 3 AM. At 2 AM they announce the plane is still in Pittsburgh so they are going to have to cancel the meetup. Lots of people start rolling out, I hung behind writing this and on the phone with TB before a cop came up and told me I had to leave.
I hope the Ravens set up a rally soon, I want the chance to cheer them on for an awesome season. 2009 should be a great year for us.
Last but not least, GO CARDINALS! I do not want the Steelers to get another Superbowl ring.