There was an aura surrounding the Ravens from their season-opening shutout in Pittsburgh through their playoff run where they gave up one touchdown. The Ravens had swagger. Their opponents had fear.

The Ravens didn't just stuff running backs. They made them quit. Cincinnati's Corey Dillon once waved off coach Bruce Coslet about going back into the game and Tennessee's Eddie George lasted one rush against the Ravens before injuring his knee.

The Ravens' pass rush didn't just harass quarterbacks. It knocked them out of the game. The Bengals' Akili Smith left after a bone-rattling hit by Rob Burnett and the Raiders' Rich Gannon tapped out after Siragusa drove him into the ground in the AFC championship game.

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Perhaps the only disappointment is this defense didn't have a few more years together like the Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain or Minnesota's Purple People Eaters. But for this one season, the Ravens had a defense for the ages.

Jamison Hensley

A Super encounter, a year later

Here's what I remember about Super Bowl XXXV: Not much.

I was assigned to write the story on the fans, reacting on the homefront to what was going on in Tampa. What that meant was I spent most of the game on the phone in the newsroom taking quotes and scenes from reporters spread out around town. They got some great stuff — from a pregnant fan who went into labor before game time to the raucous, traffic-stopping victory party that broke out at the Inner Harbor — but I was two degrees removed from all the action.

So my favorite Super Bowl-related memory actually came a year later.

I was in Stillwater, Minnesota, for a story — I was a national correspondent for The Sun back then — and had one of those awkward chunks of time you end up with on the road. I'd already given up my hotel room, but still had a couple hours to kill before my next interview.

Stop reading now if you're a bean counter for the newspaper, because what I did was go for a manicure at a day spa. The woman checking me in asked for my phone number and, just as I was giving it, a cute couple walked in. The wife said something like: 410? You must be from Baltimore. We just moved from there.

In the waiting room, they told me how much they missed the city, and it sounded like they'd only moved because of work. I asked them what they did, and the man said, um, I was with the Baltimore Ravens, now I'm with the Minnesota Vikings.

It was our great punter of that great season, Kyle Richardson.

Jean Marbella