Prior to The Game on Sunday,
Why did Mitchell share his entry?
"Once a Raven, always a Raven," said Mitchell, 38, a former defensive back. "Play for that team and you always have a special bond with Baltimore."
Ever since the Super Bowl, folks who know
"At first, I was confused," said Herring, 37, a starting safety on the Ravens' 2000 Super Bowl team. "I wondered, are we having another child or something? But people here (in Orlando) were just happy for me, as if I had played in Sunday's game."
The impact of the Ravens' triumph has crossed state lines and touched players and coaches who, for more than 50 years, helped shape the city's football lore.
"I was sort of hoping they'd win," said
"For a team to slump with three straight losses and come back strong is a huge mark of its leadership and character," said Berry, 79, who coached the
For Jim O'Brien, the growth of quarterback
"It seemed like he got smarter as the season went on, and stopped making dumb mistakes," said O'Brien, 66, who kicked the winning field goal in the Colts' 16-13 victory over the
The 200,000 fans who gathered to welcome the Ravens home on Tuesday reminded Marchetti of the crowd that greeted the Colts at Friendship (now
Marchetti understands their jubilation, then as now.
"Baltimore fans live and die with their teams and, when they finally get over that hump, it's the greatest feeling in the world," he said.
That the Ravens clambered back after blowing a Super Bowl bid last year makes it sweeter, said Bob Vogel, an All-Pro tackle on the Colts' 1970 title team.
"The world is full of people who spend their lives dealing with regrets from opportunities not seized," said Vogel, 71, who'd played on the 1968 club that was upset by the
"When I think of how, more than 40 years ago, we blew a golden opportunity and then got a chance to do it again ... well, that's a great blessing to me, as I'm sure it is to the Ravens. Those guys poured themselves out on the field, emotionally, physically and spiritually."
It all boils down to coaching, said Raul Allegre, the former Colts' kicker who has two championship rings of his own and who broadcast the Super Bowl for
"I remember in December, when the Ravens got beat soundly by Denver, 34-17 in a game that wasn't even that close. It was pretty ugly," the 53-year-old Allegre said. "Harbaugh held a press conference and said, 'We've got all of our goals in front of us.'
"I thought, this guy is really reaching. His team is injured and playing horribly and falling apart. Well, adversity can either divide or unite you, and the Ravens rallied. Obviously, the players believed their coach and reflected his personality."
Something else struck Allegre, while reporting from New Orleans.
"The stadium seemed to be two-thirds Ravens fans. And they weren't corporate types, but real people," he said.
"I think Baltimore fans are past the Colts leaving town in 1984, and have truly embraced the Ravens as their team. I think they've moved on."