With Super Bowl LVI just months away, I can’t help but reminisce on my favorite Super Bowl memory.
I was 17 years old when the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 47.
This was a special moment for me, different from our first Super Bowl win.
In 2001, the Ravens won their first Vince Lombardi Trophy against the New York Giants. But I was only 6 years old at the time, just a young whippersnapper who could only remember going to her grandmother’s house for the big game. When I got older and did a Youtube rewind, I was able to appreciate that victory from afar and what it meant to my favorite player Ray Lewis.
However, for Super Bowl XLVII, it was a completely different story. I remember all of the moments that led up to it: It was the best Super Bowl in Ravens history.
A traumatic 2011 NFL season
Coming into the 2012 NFL season, Baltimore Ravens fans were still traumatized by how the previous season ended. I’m honestly triggered just typing this story.
Everything seemed to be going our way in the 2011 season. The Ravens finished the regular season 12-4, won the AFC North division title and even earned a first-round bye. They had a dominant 20-13 win against the Houston Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs and would go on to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
That’s when things got messy.
With 1:44 left in the game, Baltimore was trailing New England 23-20. It was 2nd-and-1, and the Ravens were on the Patriots’ 14-yard line.
Joe Flacco threw a pass to Lee Evans in the endzone, and he dropped the ball at the last second. This would have been the game-winning touchdown.
But, hey, there was time left on the clock, and the Ravens had two more chances left.
It’s now 4th-and-1 with 15 seconds left on the clock. Ravens kicker, Billy Cundiff, attempted a 32-yard field goal and missed.
Game over. Patriots won 23-20.
A season of miracles for a Super Bowl win
With the nightmares of 2011 in their rearview mirror, the Ravens had to look forward. It was their only option if they wanted to contend for another Super Bowl.
Unbeknownst to #RavensFlock at the time, there were a few miracles on the way to that Super Bowl ride.
‘Hey, diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle’
In Week 12 of the Ravens’ 2012 season, Baltimore headed to San Diego for a trip against the Chargers.
The Ravens were down 13-10 late in the fourth quarter, and their only hope was to convert on a 4th-and-29 on their own 37-yard line.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a short pass to running back Ray Rice, and he managed to elude multiple defenders to make it to the first down marker. This was one of the craziest plays I’ve ever witnessed as a Ravens fan.
That historic, miracle-esque play helped the Ravens score a game-tying field goal. The Ravens would then beat the Chargers 16-13 in overtime.
Ray Lewis’ last ride
Everyone who knows me knows that Ray Lewis is my all-time favorite NFL player. I still recite his “Pissed Off For Greatness” speech to this day.
So it’s no question, the pain endured when I heard that Ray suffered a season-ending triceps injury so early in the season. We were only six games into the season with so much to play for. I couldn’t even fathom the thought of my favorite player watching the last season of his career from the sidelines.
But then something happened: Ray Lewis made his return in time for the playoffs.
It’s the divisional round of the playoffs, and the Ravens were facing off against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on the road.
This was a familiar opponent; just weeks before this matchup, the Broncos beat the Ravens 34-17. But this time, it was going to be different for the Ravens.
In a back-and-forth brawl, the Ravens were down 35-28 with only a minute remaining on the clock. It was go-time, now or never. And then something majestic happened.
Joe Flacco threw a deep 70-yard bomb to Jacoby Jones down the sideline for a touchdown to tie the game.
This was pivotal, and much like regulation, the Broncos and Ravens were fighting tooth and nail in overtime.
Thankfully, a Justin Tucker 47-yard field goal sealed the deal in double overtime and the Ravens would move on to the AFC Championship Game.
Redemption at Gillette Stadium
We all knew what was at stake heading into the 2012 AFC Championship Game. It was time for redemption.
The Ravens were down 13-7, heading into half-time. Things weren’t looking too good at this point.
But in the second half, the narrative changed.
The Ravens defense prevailed, leaving Brady zero chances to get to the endzone. Baltimore scored 21 unanswered points to beat New England 28-13.
Revenge never tasted sweeter. Next up: Super Bowl XLVII.
The Harbaugh Bowl, aka ‘The Blackout Bowl’
It was very ironic that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh would face his younger brother Jim, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, in the Super Bowl. But, hey, a family divided, this serves better drama than Y&R.
At first, all seemed to be going pretty well for John Harbaugh in the Super Bowl. The Ravens were beating the 49ers 21-6, heading into half-time, and then Beyonce graced the stage for the greatest Super Bowl half-time performance EVER.
What could possibly go wrong?
All of a sudden, in the third quarter, everything went black. I’m wondering what’s going on, and then I started to blame this power outage on Beyonce (sorry, #BeyHive.) But then, thoughts of a conspiracy flooded my mind.
I thought it was pretty convenient that a power outage occurred at Candlestick Park right after the Ravens had a 22 point lead over the 49ers. The score was 28-6, for goodness sake. I also found it quite ironic that this outage strategically happened right after Jacoby Jones returned the opening second-half kickoff for 108 yards.
After a 34-minute delay, those conspiracy theories continued all throughout the second half. The 49ers somehow rallied from behind and the Ravens were now only winning by a slight 34-29 margin.
At this point, I knew the government was in on this.
Goal line stand
After scoring on four straight possessions, the 49ers had a chance to win the game with four minutes remaining.
When the 49ers drove down to the Ravens 5-yard line, the anxiety was real. If the Ravens did not make a goal-line stand, it would be over. It would be over for not only this miracle-ridden season but for Ray Lewis, who was playing his last game as a Raven.
This can’t be it.
On back-to-back downs, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw an incomplete pass to Michael Crabtree.
And then, finally, the moment was here.
On fourth down, Kaepernick threw yet another incomplete pass to Crabtree and that was it.
The Ravens ran the clock out and won their second Super Bowl, a 34-31 win against the 49ers.
A Super Bowl storybook ending
You literally cannot script out all of the moments the Ravens endured that led up to Super Bowl 47.
Never in my life did I witness such tragedy and triumph all in one season of football. But it was all worth it.
Super Bowl 47 will forever be indebted in my heart as the best Super Bowl win in Ravens history.