One month after hosting and defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Wild Card playoffs, the Baltimore Ravens returned to Charm City and M&T Bank Stadium to cap off a memorable season with a championship celebration.
The Ravens' Super Bowl parade on Tuesday came less than 48 hours after Baltimore outlasted the San Francisco 49ers in a classic title clash in New Orleans.
Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco led a cast of characters, including head coach John Harbaugh and the legendary Ray Lewis through the streets of Baltimore, showing off the Lombardi Trophy as they passed City Hall and proceeded to their home stadium.
With the parade over and the celebration now limited to bars, restaurants and individual households, it's time we revisit the best moments from Baltimore's Super Bowl celebration.
Ray Lewis Dances for Last Time
Future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis has been flying out of the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium for the past two decades, igniting the crowd with his famous dance, "The Squirrel."
On Tuesday, Lewis, equipped with the coveted Lombardi Trophy and street clothes, performed the memorable pregame ritual for the final time, as he will retire a two-time NFL champion. Lewis won Super Bowl MVP honors in 2001 following the Ravens' 34-7 win over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.
Twelve years later, the stadium was packed for the franchise's second celebration. And judging by the reaction, the fans certainly got a kick out of experiencing one of the most bittersweet moments in the team's history.
Flacco Being Flacco
Say what you want about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, but he's a champion, a Super Bowl MVP and now, elite.
During Tuesday's celebration, Flacco addressed the crowd of supporters, offering up a classic Flacco line: short, sweet and right to the point (via Associated Press):
Baltimore, we did it. Super Bowl champs, baby.
A man of few words and expressions, Flacco would rather let his game do the talking, and I'm sure Ravens fans are just fine with that.
The five-year veteran capped off one of the most memorable postseasons by a quarterback with a phenomenal performance in Super Bowl XLVII. He finished the playoffs with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions to go along with four wins, bringing his career postseason record to 9-4.
Fans Fill the Streets
The parade of champions that follows the Super Bowl every year is every bit as much about celebrating the recently-crowned NFL champions as it the fans who support them. After all, the fans are the ones who buy tickets and merchandise and who travel from stadium to stadium every Sunday.
In Baltimore on Tuesday, the fans lined up all over to get a look at the team and to join in on the celebration.
Ravens Nation even filled up M&T Bank Stadium by lunch time, making it seem as if Baltimore was preparing to host one last playoff game.
But if you ask me, the purpose of the beloved championship parade is to celebrate the fans and the city. The players have already won.
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