With Kansas City having prevailed over San Francisco in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens-related thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. From 2001-18, New England represented the AFC in the Super Bowl nine times, winning six. Since then, the Chiefs have gone four times in five seasons, winning three. For all the talk about parity in the NFL, one conference going from dealing with Tom Brady to Patrick Mahomes is wild.
2. In a town where frustration mounts over John Harbaugh’s team inability to break through in January, can you imagine the disappointment of squandering 10-point leads in two Super Bowl defeats in five years? Kyle Shanahan is a heck of a coach, but that Super Bowl history is a nightmare.
3. If someone had told you a month ago that the Super Bowl record for longest field goal would be broken twice, you probably would have figured Justin Tucker was just adding to his Hall of Fame résumé. The Ravens have a long wait until next January, don’t they?
4. Kyle Juszczyk was drafted months after Baltimore won Super Bowl XLVII and is 0-for-2 in Super Bowls with the 49ers, which has to be tough to swallow. Still, the eight-time Pro Bowl fullback has had a great career, and his Towson graduate wife is making a name for herself too.
5. Steve Spagnuolo’s defense had a postseason to remember, but the 2000 Ravens giving up a total of 23 points in four playoff games — seven coming off a kick return in Super Bowl XXXV — sounds less conceivable by the year. Yes, the game has changed, but that defensive dominance remains remarkable.
6. Watching Chris Jones come through at critical junctures reiterated why Baltimore has little choice but to place the franchise tag on Justin Madubuike if a long-term deal isn’t struck. Consistent inside pressure in today’s game is so rare — and valuable.
7. Before secondary coach Chris Hewitt was reportedly named assistant head coach, I pondered whether Baltimore might dangle that title to make a play for former defensive line coach Joe Cullen since he took Zach Orr with him to Jacksonville in 2021. Cullen recently got an extension with the Chiefs anyway.
8. The postseason overtime decision is closer than many realized in real time since both teams aren’t guaranteed a second possession, but the contrast between Kansas City’s preparation and knowledge for the modified rules and San Francisco players’ lack of awareness was interesting, if nothing else. Coaching matters.
9. The Ravens look like a strong candidate to face the Chiefs in the 2024 opener, but only last September, the NFL passed on a Super Bowl rematch with Philadelphia in favor of Kansas City hosting Detroit. Jim Harbaugh’s NFL return with the Chargers would be an appealing choice too.
10. I don’t know if I was more surprised over Lamar Jackson being one vote shy of being the third unanimous MVP in NFL history or some Ravens fans being outraged by that. Jackson was my pick in the PFWA vote, but his statistical profile didn’t scream unanimous selection either.
11. Terrell Suggs and Marshal Yanda are eligible for the Hall of Fame next year, but Julius Peppers and Jason Taylor are the only edge rushers and Larry Allen is the lone guard to be inducted on the first ballot since 2010. Those two may have to wait a little bit.
12. You’re forgiven if you dared to briefly dream about the potential for a Ravens dynasty entering the 2019 postseason with a 22-year-old Jackson leading a 14-2 team. Instead, Mahomes, Andy Reid, and the Chiefs have proceeded to build the dynasty since then. Baltimore has to find a way.