Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, will retire on a high note following the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
A veteran of 17 NFL seasons, Lewis earned his second championship title with the Ravens, the only team he has played for in the NFL. The Ravens drafted Lewis in 1996, the team’s inaugural season.
Before halftime, the game looked as though the Ravens would cruise to their second Super Bowl championship when they led by a score of 21-6. As the second half began, Jacoby Jones scored on a 108-yard kickoff return to increase their lead to 28-6.
In an unusual twist, though, the Superdome in New Orleans lost power and delayed play for about 35 minutes. The power outage gave San Francisco a chance to regroup just as the game appeared to be getting away from them.
Once power returned, the 49ers responded and surged to score 17 consecutive points. The scoreboard read 28-23 in the Ravens’ favor.
The game was decided on one last attempt by the 49ers to break through Lewis and the Ravens’ defense to the goal line. After failing to connect on a fourth-down touchdown attempt, it became evident that the 49ers dramatic comeback would be in vain.
After an intentional safety by Ravens’ punter Sam Koch to bring the score to 34-31 and a punt deep into San Francisco territory, the Ravens victory was assured.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was crowned the Super Bowl XLVII MVP after throwing for 287 yards and three touchdown passes. Flacco capped off a spectacular postseason, where he threw for 11 touchdowns while throwing zero interceptions.
Lewis won the Super Bowl XXXV MVP during Baltimore’s first Super Bowl victory against the New York Giants by a score of 34-7. The future Hall of Famer was an essential part of both of the Ravens’ titles.
According to NFL.com, Lewis gave an emotional 11-minute speech on Saturday night, the day before the Super Bowl, where he was recognized by teammates as the ultimate leader throughout their playoff run.
Across the nation, Lewis has been viewed as either a hero for his leadership on the field or villain for his notorious recognition for being indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges in January 2000. Lewis was never convicted.
Ramapo College sophomore Zach Howard said that he was happy to see Lewis win another Super Bowl before retirement.
“I was really glad to see him go out on top,” Howard said. “He’s been a top defensive player in the NFL for as long as I can remember and deserves to retire a champion.”
Lewis boasts an impressive list of accomplishments in the NFL, including 13 Pro Bowl selections, two Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2000 and 2003, and now two Super Bowl championships.
Other accomplishments include being the fastest player to reach the 20 sack/20 interception club in 113 games, and the 30/30 club in 204 games. He is the only player to amass 40 sacks and 30 interceptions.
After missing much of the 2012 season with torn triceps, Lewis’ return to the field in January gave the Ravens the leadership to win the franchise’s second Super Bowl title.