Ray Lewis, 50 Cent
Ray Lewis and rapper 50 Cent talk to a reporter before the start of the Daytona 500. (Reuters photo /February 24, 2013)
Many factors played into the Ravens’ run to Super Bowl XLVII, including quarterback Joe Flacco’s inspired play, wide receiver-return specialist Jacoby Jones’ contributions and the revamped offensive line’s performances.
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs thinks another reason was inside linebacker Ray Lewis’ retirement announcement four days prior to the team’s first playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.
“You could say what sparked it was Ray [Lewis’] announcement when he said that this would be his last playoff run with us,” Suggs said Friday night as a guest of the NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” program. “I would definitely say that was hands-down what sparked it and got our minds going in the right place. But we’ve always been a pretty dangerous team in the playoffs so we knew with Ray announcing that he was retiring with how we normally play in the playoffs, those two combined together rallied one of the most emotional runs I’ve ever been a part of.”
Suggs was then quite candid when asked if the Ravens would have won the Super Bowl if Lewis hadn’t announced his intention.
“No, probably not,” he said. “Because as a team, we know we’re really good – we needed something to get us over the hump. To do what we had to do – to beat the future in [the Colts’] Andrew Luck, to go into [Denver with] Peyton Manning having an MVP season and going there and winning, and then going up to Foxborough a place where we lost the previous year against arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of our time – without that emotional lift it probably would have been next to impossible. With the lead of No. 52, we had enough to do it.”
Lewis finished with a league-best 51 tackles in the postseason, but he struggled to cover receivers in the team’s 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. But it seems that Lewis’ presence was more important psychologically than physically to the Ravens.
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