A Raven Salute to Memorial Stadium
The Baltimore Ravens closed down Memorial Stadium by honoring the old Baltimore Colts and showing that the next generation of pro football in Baltimore could be successful.
Eric Zeier threw a career-high three touchdown passes as the Ravens defeated the Tennessee Oilers, 21-19, on Sunday in the final NFL game at the 43-year-old stadium.
Dozens of former members of the Colts, including Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas, were introduced during timeouts, and after the game 22 of them gathered together to run one final choreographed play. Yet the closing of the venerable old stadium served notice that it is time for Baltimore fans to bury the past and look toward the future.
“The Ravens are going to be here a long time. The Colts had a tremendous run and enjoyed a lot of success and a lot of glory,” Baltimore Coach Ted Marchibroda said. “Now I think it’s the Ravens’ turn.”
Baltimore (6-8-1) made only 11 first downs, but four Tennessee turnovers paved the way for the Ravens’ second victory over the Oilers (7-8) this season.
Tennessee got within two points with 63 seconds left when Steve McNair scored his second touchdown of the game on a quarterback sneak. The Oilers recovered an onside kick, but had no timeouts left and failed on a fourth-down pass from the Baltimore 39.
“We’ve got to find a way to win the close ones,” McNair said. “We’ve got to make the plays when they need to be made. We didn’t do that.”
It is a lament that the Ravens have often used during their two-year existence, but now that they’ve won two close games in a row, there is hope for the future at their new home in Camden Yards.
“When we get our new stadium we will set our own tradition,” Raven receiver Jermaine Lewis said. “You know, try to get to the Super Bowl and just have great memories for the fans.”
Marchibroda said: “I think the electricity and excitement was there today. I hope that will carry on to the new stadium, because that will give us eight games with an edge.”
Said Zeier: “It’s great to win, especially this being the last game here at the stadium. All the tradition that is here, all the support that we received the first two years. It’s nice to be able to give a little something back to the city of Baltimore.”