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The Baltimore Raven' 2012 Championship Season
By Carroll County Times
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2013 Carroll County Times
All rights reserved.
Super Bowl XLVII
February 3, 2013
New Orleans, Louisiana Ravens 34, 49ers 31
Ravens overcome adversity to win Super BowlBy Matt Zenitz
It was fitting that a season filled with so many obstacles would be decided by the Baltimore Ravens' ability to overcome one final bit of adversity.
Despite a power outage early in the second half that swung the momentum of a game during which the Ravens appeared to be pulling away — and despite a San Francisco 49ers scoring run that put them in position for a game-winning touchdown in the closing minutes — the Ravens end the 2012 season, and end linebacker Ray Lewis' "last ride," as Super Bowl XLVII champions, holding on to defeat the 49ers 34-31 behind MVP Joe Flacco to claim the second Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Baltimore led 28-6 early in the third quarter before a power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that suspended play for 32 minutes. What followed the delay was a 23-6 scoring run by the 49ers that put San Francisco in a position — trailing by five points with just more than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter — to drive for a potentially game-deciding touchdown in the game's closing minutes.
The 49ers drove to Baltimore's 5-yard line, but Colin Kaepernick's fourth-down pass attempt fell incomplete and, despite everything that transpired during the second half — and despite everything that transpired throughout the course of the season — the Ravens were Super Bowl champions.
"It's never pretty," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said after beating his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. "It's never perfect. But it's us. ... This feels great!"
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta said he felt the game turning.
"Oh my goodness. I mean, we had a ton of momentum ... then the power goes out and we're waiting for what felt like an hour. We lost a lot of momentum and, credit goes to [the 49ers], they came storming back," he said. "But this team has continued to fight and never quit. What a fitting [end]. ... It didn't make it easy, but it was fun."
Baltimore led 21-6 at halftime, and it extended its lead even more when Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of the second half of 108 yards for a touchdown. But after defensive end Art Jones sacked Kaepernick to force a third- and-13 on the 49ers' ensuing possession, the power went out in the Superdome. And in a bizarre scene, the Ravens and 49ers were forced to wait on the sideline for more than 30 minutes as power was restored in the stadium.
When play resumed, a Baltimore offense that was on fire for much of the first half had gone flat while a San Francisco offense that was stagnant for much of the previous two-plus quarter all of a sudden came to life.
Kaepernick led scoring drives of the 49ers' next four possessions, trimming what was a 22-point deficit prior to the power outage to just 31-29 with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
And after the Ravens drove for a Justin Tucker field goal on their ensuing possession, Kaepernick and the 49ers took over at their 20-yard line trailing just 34-29 with a little more than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
San Francisco worked the ball to Baltimore's 5-yard line. But facing a fourth- and-goal at the Ravens' 5, Kaepernick was pressured by Baltimore linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and his fourth-down pass attempt sailed beyond the reach of wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
The 49ers got one final shot with the ball — as the Ravens were forced to punt to Ted Ginn with four seconds left in the fourth quarter — but Ginn was brought down at midfield as time expired, and the Ravens were officially Super Bowl champions.
"It feels good," Harbaugh said. "It feels really good actually. I would like to be more profound than that, but I do not have those words. ... It feels like all the guys that worked so hard, stuck together through trials, tribulations, difficulties and maintained faith — it feels like they got what they deserve."
This is a team that dealt with the death of former owner Art Modell. It dealt with the death of wide receiver Torrey Smith's younger brother. It dealt with an exorbitant amount of injuries to key defensive players. It dealt with prolonged offensive struggles that resulted in the team firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with just four weeks remaining in the regular season. And it went through a three-game losing streak late in the regular season that had many on a national level doubting the Ravens' viability as a Super Bowl contender heading into the playoffs.
But the team persevered, just as it did Sunday night.
"We're certainly glad it turned out the way it did," Baltimore offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "[The power outage] was a slight interruption, but we've had a lot of adversity all through this season, and that was just another blip on the radar screen."
Added Harbaugh: "We have a lot of resolve. That's why we won the game."
Flacco was named MVP. The quarterback that's been so heavily scrutinized on both a local and a national level since entering the league in 2008 completed a career-defining postseason run with 287 yards and three touchdowns against a 49ers defense that ranked as the NFL's fourth-best against the pass during the regular season.
All three of his scoring passes came during the first half, including an electrifying 56-yard touchdown pass to Jones that pushed Baltimore's lead to 21-3 with just less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Flacco was 13-of-19 for 192 yards with the three scoring passes during the first half.
He completed the postseason with 11 touchdown passes, tying a record for a single postseason, and without a single interception.
"I am a Joe Flacco fan," said Lewis, who was playing in the final game of his storied 17-year career. "I've been a Joe Flacco fan. For him to come in and do what he did today, and make some of the throws he made, that is what we've always seen. But we've always said that when you win a championship, one man won't win the ring. It will be a complete team. Today, we won as a complete team."
But it's a win that may not have culminated without that final defensive stop.
The 49ers finished with 468 yards of total offense, 289 of which came after the power outage. They got 302 yards through the air from Kaepernick and a combined 172 yards from Kaepernick and Frank Gore on the ground. But, in the game's biggest moment, and on the final defensive snap of Lewis' career, the Ravens defense came up with a stop, forcing the incomplete pass from Kaepernick that resulted in a turnover on downs with one minute, 46 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"What a fitting way to end that game — our defense on the field and Ray Lewis in his last play," Pitta said. "They came up huge on the goal-line and got the stop."
It's a stop that propelled the Ravens to the Super Bowl title, and a stop that provides an exclamation point on the illustrious career of Lewis.
The future Hall-of-Famer announced his plans to retire at the end of the season in the week leading up to the Ravens' playoff opener against the Indianapolis Colts. Less than a month later, he ends his career as a world champion.
"What better way to go out? And, I think, more importantly, it was my teammates in the way I went out — the things we've been through all year," Lewis said. "[We were] tested through this journey, it was an up-and-down rollercoaster — the injuries, the people — and we stayed together. And now, I get to ride off into the sunset with my second ring."CHAPTER 2
Super Bowl MVP
Unflappable Flacco Named Super Bowl MVP
Quarterback proves he's amongst game's eliteBy Pat Stoetzer
Joe Flacco came to Super Bowl XLVII with impressive postseason credentials — gaudy statistics like the most career road victories in history and eight touchdowns with no interceptions in this year's playoffs — all the while displaying the nothing-bothers-me demeanor that led to Baltimore fans dubbing him "Joe Cool."
The Ravens quarterback added another accolade Sunday night in New Orleans — Super Bowl MVP.
Flacco led Baltimore to a 34-31 win over San Francisco with another solid performance, using his powerful right arm as a statement toward his status in the NFL. He also used it to raise the Lombardi Trophy, to the delight of the thousands of Ravens fans inside the Superdome.
The 28-year-old threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns, connecting on 22 of 33 passes along the way. Baltimore held on to win despite a furious San Francisco rally led by second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick (302 passing yards, 62 rushing yards), but the 49ers came up short on their final series near the goal line and the Ravens prevailed.
With Flacco at the top.
"I don't think it's going to settle in for a while," Flacco said. "We don't make anything easy."
Flacco finished the playoffs with 11 touchdowns, tying Joe Montana and Kurt Warner for the most in a postseason. He also became the sixth player in NFL history to throw three or more touchdowns in the first half of a Super Bowl. One of them was a 56-yard bomb to speedster Jacoby Jones in the second quarter.
Flacco also made a few other pivotal throws that helped Baltimore keep its lead, particularly midway through the fourth quarter in a huge third-down situation.
Baltimore faced a third-and-inches at its own 45 with 7 minutes, 14 seconds to play, and Flacco hit receiver Anquan Boldin, his main target during the Super Bowl, for 15 yards to keep the Ravens' offense on the field and the clock on the move.
"I told Joe to give me a chance," said Boldin, who caught six passes for 104 yards, "and he gave it to me."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't hesitate to eschew a running play on third-and-short with Flacco under center.
"To me, it shows you he has got guts," Harbaugh said. "He has got the guts of a burglar. He was doing it all night, making plays."
The drive didn't end with a touchdown, but Flacco moved the ball 60 yards and used 5:38 with three completions for 26 yards. Then he watched from the bench while the Ravens' defense kept Kaepernick and the Niners out of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
And perhaps Flacco proved some of his naysayers wrong with his Super Bowl performance.
"I've never cared," Flacco said. "I don't ever want to feel like I'm in a position to defend myself, it's just not right. We'll have this thing forever. Everybody on that team will be connected to each other forever and that's something pretty special."
He threw for a career high 3,817 yards in the regular season and tossed 22 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, but Flacco and the offense went through enough struggles that coach John Harbaugh switched coordinators during the year, firing Cam Cameron and replacing him with Jim Caldwell. In the new offensive coordinator's second game, Flacco led the Ravens to a 33-14 win over the Giants on Dec. 23 with 309 yards on 25-for-36 passing and two touchdowns.
Flacco threw for 1,140 yards in the playoffs and completed 57.9 percent of his passes in beating Indianapolis, Denver, New England, and San Francisco.
The Ravens will attempt to negotiate a long-term contract with Flacco during the offseason. Flacco was in the final year of his rookie contract. A championship and Super Bowl MVP will only help Flacco's leverage.
"It's tough to put into words because it really hasn't sunk in yet," Flacco said. "I don't even think it has sunk in yet that we're here. Pretty cool."CHAPTER 3
Art Modell: 1925–2012
Ravens Patriarch Modell Dies At 87
Influential owner moved franchise to BaltimoreBy Matt Zenitz September 6, 2012
Baltimore Ravens patriarch Art Modell, as beloved in Baltimore as he was reviled in Cleveland, died early early Thursday at age 87. Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1996, returning football to a city that had been without since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984. He was the Ravens' majority owner through the 2003 season.
"When you think about Art Modell, you think about a great man, a leader, a father and a servant," said Ray Lewis, the Ravens' standout middle linebacker since 1996, in a statement. "I genuinely loved Art as a man, and he showed me what to strive for in life. When you truly see the impact he had on everyone he touched, it humbles you.
"When I found out he wasn't doing well, I knew immediately I had to see him. When I was with him [Wednesday], I prayed with him and shared with him things that a son would say to a father. Even though he has left us, he is going to a place that one day we all want to be. I am truly blessed to have had Art in my life. He was a humble servant, and one of the best men I have ever known."
Modell was surrounded by family when he died.
"Sadly, I can confirm that my father died peacefully of natural causes at 4 this morning," David Modell said in a statement. "My brother, John Modell, and I were with him when we finally rejoined the absolute love of his life, my mother Pat Modell, who passed away last October.
"He was adored by the entire Baltimore community for his kindness and generosity. And, he loved Baltimore. He made an important and indelible contribution to the lives of his children, grandchildren and his entire community. We will miss him."
Modell was one of the most influential figures in NFL history.
He was a team owner for 43 years, served as NFL president (1967-69), the only elected president in league history, was chairman of the Owners Labor Committee, which successfully negotiated the NFL's first players' collective bargaining agreement, and served on the NFL-AFL Merger Committee, breaking the impasse for realignment of the two leagues by moving the Browns to the AFC.
"I've had a love affair with this league for 40 years. I've watched it grow and grow and grow into something extraordinary," Modell told the Carroll County Times in 2003. "I'm proud of my career. ... It was a great run."
Modell was chairman of the NFL's Television Committee for 31 years (1962-93), worked closely with former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle to establish NFL Films, and later became the first chairman of NFL Films, and was an important negotiator with ABC to start Monday Night Football.
"I believe very strongly that Art Modell is one of the most important figures in the history of the modern NFL," former NBC-TV president Dick Ebersol said. "He and Pete Rozelle developed the magic formula that married the potential of television to the game. Those funds from this marriage propelled the game into what it is today."
Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos called Modell a "visionary" and a "pioneer" in a statement.
Modell owned the Browns for 35 years (1961-1995). During that time, Cleveland qualified for the postseason 17 times and won an NFL championship in 1964. However, financial issues led to Modell relocating the franchise to Baltimore in 1996 and renaming it the Ravens.
The team won the Super Bowl four years later and followed with playoff appearances in two of the next three seasons before Modell sold controlling interest of the Ravens to Steve Bisciotti in 2004.
"He was my friend, my mentor," Bisciotti said. "We will miss him so much. How lucky are all of us to have had Art in Baltimore? How fortunate am I to have had him teach me about the NFL. His generosity, his love, his humor, his intelligence, his friendship — we were all blessed by this great man. We will strive to live up to his standard."
Modell will also be remembered for his charitable work. He donated and raised millions of dollars for many civic and charitable causes. He was on the board of the famed Cleveland Clinic, serving as president of the organization for seven years (1988-95).
He also contributed millions of dollars to a variety of charities in the Baltimore area, including the SEED school, a boarding school for disadvantaged youth, Johns Hopkins hospital, Kennedy Krieger Institute, St. Vincent's center, a home for abused children, and the House of Ruth.
However, for as much as Modell will be remembered for his positive contributions to the NFL, he'll forever be vilified in Cleveland for moving the Browns to Baltimore.
"People still carry a terrible scar and that's understandable," Modell told the Times in 2003. "The politicians drove me out of town. The business community took care of the Indians and the Cavaliers, but not the Browns. The memories are unpleasant."
It's a move that has played a significant role in keeping Modell out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Modell was one of 15 finalists for the Hall of Fame in 2001 and has been a semifinalist for classes in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
"No question the move from Cleveland hurt my possibilities," Modell said. "My record speaks for itself, but obviously the move hurt some people and has hurt me."
Born June 23, 1925, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Arthur B. Modell left high school at the age of 15 to help his financially-troubled family following the death of his father, according to the Ravens.
His first full-time job was as an electrician's helper, cleaning hulls of ships in a Brooklyn shipyard. He joined the Air Force in 1943 at age 18 and then enrolled in television school following World War II, eventually producing "Market Melodies," one of the first regular daytime television shows in the country.
He got into the advertising business in 1954 before purchasing the Browns for $4 million in 1961.
Modell is survived by his sons, John and David, daughter-in-law Michel and six grandchildren.
Excerpted from Redemption by Carroll County Times. Copyright © 2013 Carroll County Times. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
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