With ESPN releasing its 30 for 30 documentary on the 2000 Ravens — titled the “Bullies of Baltimore” — on Sunday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. The Super Bowl XXXV run meant something different for every generation, but the common thread was the feeling that the Ravens — and the city itself — weren’t supposed to be there. That’s why the team’s brash personality was such a perfect fit. It truly felt like Baltimore against the world.
2. Though the timing of Tony Siragusa’s passing was heartbreaking, the film turned into such a gift to his family and tribute to an unforgettable character who resonated with fans. For me, it also represented our own loved ones with whom we enjoyed that amazing season and we have since lost.
3. Punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, punt, interception. Halftime. Interception, punt, interception, punt, punt, punt. End of game. Ray Lewis rattling off the outcome of the Giants’ offensive possessions in the Super Bowl was a great touch. Nine of those drives were three-and-outs.
4. I’ll always maintain the Ravens-Titans rivalry was “Ravens-Steelers” before Ravens-Steelers, which is why it was such a bummer that divisional realignment split up the old AFC Central foes in 2002. The hatred was legitimate, and their divisional round clash was the real Super Bowl that year.
5. With that in mind, there are no better bragging rights than winning despite your biggest rival stealing your playbook. Former Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams — who led an excellent Tennessee unit that season — admitting the theft years later was just wild.
6. Over 22 years later, I still don’t know how the Ravens won a Super Bowl in a season in which they went five straight games without scoring a single touchdown. How that locker room didn’t crumble is a major credit to the veteran leaders and the coaching staff.
7. Social media would have had an absolute field day with that and Brian Billick, whose personality was so refreshing compared to this persistent era of “saying nothing” brought on largely by Bill Belichick and New England. It’s entertainment after all.
8. Trent Dilfer talking about the need to “know who you are as a player” summed up his role perfectly. The Ravens weren’t wrong in recognizing the need to upgrade at quarterback the following season — regardless of how it played out — but Dilfer was the right quarterback for that 2000 team.
9. You’re always hoping for new stories and nuggets of information watching a documentary about a very familiar subject, but learning Siragusa was “backed up” in the Week 7 loss at Washington probably wasn’t what anyone had in mind. Hilarious stuff.
10. My one criticism of the documentary was lacking mention of the significance of the Week 2 win over Jacksonville, who owned an 8-0 record against the Ravens prior to that 39-36 thriller. That game may not have fit the overall theme of dominant defense, but its importance cannot be overlooked.
11. The filmmakers were kind to Titans kicker Al Del Greco for glossing over how bad he was in each of the two meetings in Nashville that year. He had a fine 17-year career, but there’s a reason why Tennessee released him that offseason.
12. Between Sunday’s special and Friday’s 10th anniversary of Super Bowl XLVII, the weekend highlighted 2000 through 2012 being the Ravens’ golden age with nine postseason berths, 14 playoff wins, four AFC title game appearances, and two Super Bowl championships. Not bad for a city that wasn’t supposed to be there.