As part of the NFL Films series on Super Bowl champion teams, the NFL Network aired a profile of the 2000 Ravens on Thursday. My viewing of a preview DVD made me think this: Sure, the NFL can seem to get away with things image-wise that other leagues don't, but here is an example how the NFL so often does things right.
You might think that an arm of the league - which NFL Films is - would have to soft-pedal or even ignore the Ray Lewis/Atlanta murders angle of the Ravens' Super Bowl season. However, this program not only devotes an entire segment to the story, but it also comes back to the issue with footage from Brian Billick's opening salvo to Super Bowl reporters and Lewis' testy response on Media Day in Tampa, Fla.
The show's three interviewees are Billick, Lewis and quarterback Trent Dilfer. Of course, the production is immaculate, even if the rush of strings to turn up the emotion gets heavy-handed at times. Ravens fans surely remember all of the story lines, but that shouldn't decrease their enjoyment. And NFL Films does manage to break one story - at least, Dilfer says he'd never talked about it before.
Dilfer talks about how his playbook disappeared after the regular-season game in Tennessee and how he was certain it was stolen. When the Ravens returned to face the Titans in the playoffs, Dilfer said, their defense was unusually well-prepared for what the Ravens were doing on offense - as if somebody from the Titans had gotten hold of the Baltimore playbook. Dilfer didn't specifically accuse anybody, but he was just sayin'.
Read Ray Frager's blog at baltimoresun.com/mediumwell.