Of the 53 players on the
James Ihedigbo was a starting safety for New England, and as the Ravens spent last week gearing up for meeting the
"You don't ever want to be on the other end of it, the loser's end," he said. "Coming into this whole week, it's preparation, it's understanding the type of offense the 49ers run, the things they do on special teams, how they want to attack us, and how do we want to attack them. Once you get into all that, you really simplify the game plan down and the game down. Then you can start saying, 'OK, I'm ready to play.'"
While the number of Ravens players with Super Bowl experience might seem small, San Francisco has just three players on the active roster who have been to the
The Ravens players who have been to the Super Bowl haven't been shy about sharing their memories with their teammates. Cornerback
"They're always offering some type of information about it, and this is a great process," Williams said. "They tell us to enjoy it, but you've got to keep it like it's a normal week once you get down to New Orleans. We understand that. So you try to keep your routine as best as possible, as much as possible as it would be for a regular-season game."
A common theme has been the need to avoid the pitfalls that Super Bowl week has to offer. The lights and revelry of attractions like the French Quarter and Bourbon Street in New Orleans can be a strong draw, and stories of
Ayanbadejo said the veterans have reinforced that the trip to New Orleans is not simply an excuse to enjoy the nightlife.
"You can go to a Super Bowl anytime you want, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in a Super Bowl," said Ayanbadejo, who played with the 2006
Dixon, who was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers when they went to Super Bowl XLIII and XLV, said he's not worried about teammates crossing the line because of the presence of strong leaders.
Former Ravens outside linebacker
"You know what you're there for," Boulware said. "You'll have a good time and you'll enjoy it, but you're there for one reason and one reason alone. You're there to win a world championship, and if you're not focused at that time, if you're not self-motivated by that time, no one is going to be able to get you there. And that's the reason why these two teams are even in the Super Bowl. They have players on their teams that are self-motivated, and they know what it takes to get ready for a game. I look at this Ravens team, and they are a veteran team, and they're going to be ready to play."
Prior to the Ravens winning Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa,
"So therefore, I have to do everything in my power to make sure that at the end of the day, I knew I was doing everything I could do," Lewis said. "Just stay focused, stay focused. This is the dance, this is the stage that you want to play on."
But Super Bowl week is not all about self-denial and discipline. Players will use video and take pictures to record memories for a lifetime, and Media Day on Tuesday is another opportunity for them to bask in the attention.
Ihedigbo said he hasn't tried to tell teammates what they can or can't do. Instead, he has encouraged them to simply enjoy the moment.
"I want the guys to be able to experience it on their own levels and have their own memories," Ihedigbo said. "So I'm not sit there and say, 'Hey, expect this. Don't do this.' It's truly just to enjoy the experience. Get out there and enjoy it. We're going to the Super Bowl. We're going to win a Super Bowl. So enjoy the experience and take it for what it is."
Ravens who have gone "Bowl"-ing
Only five players on the current Ravens roster have played in a Super Bowl before, and their experience could be significant for teammates making their debut on the NFL's grandest stage.
Name - Team - Year - Results
Ray Lewis - Ravens - 2000 - D. Giants, 34-7, in SB XXXV
Brendon Ayanbadejo - Bears - 2006 - L.
Anquan Boldin -
Dennis Dixon - Steelers - 2008, 2010 - D.
James Ihedigbo - Patriots - 2011 - L. Giants, 21-17, in SB XLVI