There’s a question I’ve been thinking about in the days since the Ravens’ miraculous win against the Chiefs, but really, I’ve been trying far more to push it totally out of my mind.
The question is essentially, “Are the Ravens now a Super Bowl contender again or are they still a flawed team due to injuries that just so happened to score a massive win and could still fall apart?”
I’ve attempted to push the question out of my mind because the answer is really quite simple. The answer is, “Who the hell knows, you idiot? We’re two bloody weeks into a 17-game season.”
And … we are. So it’s simply not worth spending this much time wrestling with the query. But I truly believe there’s another question that was firmly answered by the Ravens’ spectacular, wildly unexpected victory. I think the Ravens finally answered the question of whether they can do what they do and win a Super Bowl.
“WHOOOOOA Glenn, you just said it’s Week 2 of the season and then wondered out loud if they could still fall apart because of their injuries and flaws. It was literally eight sentences ago. What in the ever loving hell are you talking about?”
Yes. You read all of that correctly. I both cannot guarantee that the Ravens won’t fall apart AND I believe they have proven that they can win the Super Bowl. That’s because “can” is a drastically different question than “will.” I of course cannot, for the life of me, remember what made us think that we were wise and would never compromise.
BUT ALSO, I cannot, for the life of me, tell you who is going to win the Super Bowl this year. As my friend and ESPN senior writer Kevin Van Valkenburg said recently, “They only award one of them every year and even Dan Marino couldn’t win one.” I have no idea if the Ravens will go on to win the Super Bowl this year or in the next few years. It’s a very difficult thing to do.
But I know they can. Because the last bastion of “proof” that this run-heavy, Lamar Jackson-led offense COULDN’T win a Super Bowl was the fact that they hadn’t been able to beat the AFC’s standard-bearers in their first three tries. The argument was that they couldn’t beat good teams once upon a time. And then they started beating Russell Wilson’s Seahawks and Tom Brady’s Patriots. The next argument was that they couldn’t come from behind down multiple scores to win a playoff game if they needed to. Then they did that.
But no matter how much it might have bothered Ravens fans, the Chiefs issue was very much real. While it was never a certainty that the Ravens would have had to beat the Chiefs in order to win a Super Bowl, there was a preponderance of evidence that suggested they might. And it wasn’t just that they had lost in their last two attempts at beating the Chiefs, it’s that they inexplicably got away from their identity in doing so. This time they fell behind, yet stayed completely true to their identity and won anyway. That matters so much. And not just to idiots like me who write internet columns.
Veteran safety and special teams ace Anthony Levine Sr. is one of (if not THE) most respected players in the Ravens’ locker room. He is a mentor to seemingly every younger player on the defensive side of the ball and his feelings carry significant weight as an established veteran and Super Bowl champion. During an appearance on “The Tyus Bowser Show” Sept. 22, he acknowledged that the results against the Chiefs had weighed on the franchise.
“We did it. We finally … it was a hurting,” Levine said emotionally. “We’ve always been close, we’ve always been in the game.”
“We made a statement. They were saying we couldn’t win being from behind. We’ve done that,” he added. “It’s not only did we beat them, we beat them playing our game. We didn’t go out there and try to beat them doing what [they do]. We went out there and played Ravens football. And that’s what makes it special.”
That’s exactly right. The Ravens beat the Chiefs playing bully ball. They grinded it out, stole their opponents’ hearts and rammed it down their throat when the game was on the line. They played their brand of football and the best team in the league couldn’t stop them from winning. Lamar Jackson, contrary to the ABSOLUTELY BATSH*T OPINION that he should run the ball less and they should prioritize him throwing the ball 50 times a game or whatever stupid thing otherwise intelligent people have suggested in recent years, ran the hell out of the ball and beat the friggin’ Kansas City Chiefs.
So explain to me now why exactly they CAN’T win a Super Bowl. I’m all ears. If they can beat the Chiefs and come from multiple scores behind in the second half with a quarter of their roster on IR, there’s absolutely no reason to think they can’t find ways to beat other good teams in big situations.
Which doesn’t mean they’re going to win the Super Bowl. I cannot see the future. My Magic 8-Ball was inconclusive. We’ll see what happens. But they’ve made their point. This system, no matter how much old-school football minds don’t want to accept it, can work to the most significant level … thanks to the presence of an eternal talent under center.
They could use a little good luck in their pursuit of doing it.
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