Catching up with ... former Ravens offensive lineman Edwin Mulitalo

A framed photo of the Super Bowl XXXV champions hangs on Edwin Mulitalo's bedroom wall; a "Festivus" T-shirt, in his closet. They are cherished keepsakes for Mulitalo, a starting guard for the 2000 Ravens when they won their first NFL title.

Has it been 15 years since he dreamed up "Festivus" — a nod to a Seinfeld episode — during the team's playoff run, creating a buzz around town and a stampede for shirts made to cash in on the craze?


"The whole thing just took off," Mulitalo said. "Of course, it was all predicated on us continuing to win."

Win they did, with Mulitalo (360 pounds) and Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden (345) manning the left side of the offensive line and drilling holes for rookie running back Jamal Lewis.

"Those were fun times," Mulitalo said. "J.O. took so much pride in his run blocking. He'd call other linemen in the league and razz them about how much more physical we were and how we led the conference in rushing. And you could see Jamal thinking, 'If you guys are going to block hard, then I'm going to run hard.' Once we asked him, 'If you were a car, what would you be?'

"'A Hummer,' he said. 'I may be ugly but, behind you guys, I can go anywhere.'"

Mulitalo recalls less about the Super Bowl than he'd like. He suffered a concussion in the Ravens' AFC championship win over the Oakland Raiders and another in the fourth quarter of the 34-7 victory over the New York Giants.

"I blanked out for 15 to 20 minutes," he said. "I remember the trainer putting smelling salts in my nose and then, all of a sudden, everything computed. I saw that the clock had gone down to 12 seconds, so I jumped up. I didn't want to miss the countdown."

Now 41, Mulitalo lives in Cedar City, Utah, with his wife and four children, having returned from 3 1/2 years in Samoa, where his parents were born.

"We wanted the kids to experience the Polynesian culture," he said. "It was great — and they appreciate things here a little more now."

He shared his roots as a Raven. "Big Moo," as teammates called him, played a ukulele, and each year in training camp performed a Polynesian war dance, the New Zealand haka.

"The first time I did it, Ray Lewis jumped up all pumped, so it became a tradition," Mulitalo said.

A fourth-round draft pick from Arizona in 1999, he arrived having completed a two-year mission for the Mormon church. In Baltimore, Mulitalo established Big Ed's Band Foundation, which distributed musical instruments to needy children. On Sept. 11, 2001, following the terrorist attacks in New York, Mulitalo drove to a local Red Cross donation center to give blood and then stayed to greet others who did the same.

A Ravens starter for eight years, he was released after the 2006 season and played two years with the Detroit Lions before retiring. He's now finishing his college degree at Brigham Young, where he'll graduate in June, and looking to coach in college. Last fall he served as a volunteer coach at Southern Utah, which won the Big Sky Conference.

"I like helping these kids," Mulitalo said. "You feel like you're actually contributing to someone becoming better, and that feels good. Also, you get the chills [of competition] without getting beat up. Afterward, you're still mentally drained but without the crick in your neck."

While he has maintained his playing weight, he said, "I've gone from 360 pounds of muscle to 360 pounds of half-and-half. But I walk 40 minutes a day because the best exercise for the brain is to keep the blood flowing. I have aches and pains, but every morning lying in bed I do a body check and wiggle my toes. Then I say, 'OK, you're alive, let's go.'"


Mulitalo has also taken up snowboarding, which is big in the hills near his home.

"When you see this big polar bear coming down the mountain, watch out," he said. "My weight helps me go fast and gives me the sensation of flying, which not many 360-pounders get to feel."

One foot of new snow took him out on the slopes this week. But even there, he said, he hearkens back to his time with the Ravens.

"I don't miss football until the Super Bowl. Then I remember [2000], and get that little urge, and kind of wish I was still playing," he said. "Other than that, life is good."


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