Road to the Super Bowl: Baltimore Ravens
By Sean Tepper, sportsnet.ca
With the Super Bowl XLVII less than a week away, sportsnet.ca takes a look at the Baltimore Ravens' road to New Orleans.
This is a tough point to judge, because the Ravens had two storylines that elevated this team to the next level.
The first was the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Following a deflating 31-28 overtime loss at the hands of Mike Shannhan’s Redskins, the Ravens fired Cameron and replaced him with former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. Although it seemed surprising that a team with a then 9-4 record would fire their offensive mastermind, many fans were aggressively calling for Cameron’s job following the team’s Dec. 2 loss to the Steelers. In that game, Cameron elected to shut running back Ray Rice out of the offence by not giving him the ball once. Since taking over the position, Caldwell has powered the team to three straight playoff wins and has helped harness Flacco’s abilities in ways that we have never seen.
The other turning point of the season is more of emotional one rather than a personnel decision. When Ray Lewis announced that he would be retiring from professional football at the end of the season, his team seemed to rally behind and help the veteran linebacker play some of the best football of his career. While the legend of Ray Lewis will forever be ingrained in Baltimore’s defensive identity, the extra motivation that his retirement announcement has brought about exceeds any personnel changes that the team went through over the season and have made the Ravens look like a team of destiny.
RayLewis isn't getting enough credit for resuscitating a team that nearly lost 6 of last 7. Backed in, took off b/c Ray returned. Amazing.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 24, 2013