Baltimore hints of Super shutout
Updated: Thursday January 25, 2001 3:41 AM
By John Giannone, CNNSI.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- The admonitions usually come from the head coach minutes before the wheels touch down in Super Bowl City every January.
"Don't do anything that will bring you disgrace or unwelcome publicity," they warn. "And don't say anything that will appear on the other team's bulletin board."
Well, it appears the Ravens heeded only half that advice. Or, knowing cocksure head coach Brian Billick, only half that speech was delivered.
Because the words flying from Ravens camp Wednesday -- specifically from the puffed-with-pride members of that record-setting defense -- should serve as emotional fodder for a Giants team that has been decidedly stoic and sedate all week.
At issue was whether these Ravens could become the first team in Super Bowl history to pitch a shutout. That question came at the Ravens in rapid-fire fashion.
The answers were just as fast.
"It's always in our minds," defensive back Duane Starks said. "We don't ever want to give up anything. ... Is it possible? Sure it is. Why not?"
"You don't think we can? Have you seen our defense play?" lineman Tony Siragusa rhetorically asked. "I think you can answer your own question."
And from usually reserved linebacker Peter Boulware: "That's something we've thought about, something we've talked about. It's something that always comes up."
That level of confidence -- some call is unmitigated brashness on this sport's ultimate stage -- is in keeping with the Ravens' "nobody believes we're this good" battle cry throughout January.
Remember, the Vince Lombardi Packers, undefeated Dolphins, Steel Curtain Steelers, Doomsday Cowboys and five-time champion 49ers never blanked a Super Bowl opponent.
And remember, Baltimore's opponent this Sunday is a Giant team that totaled 41 points and more than 400 yards of offense in its last game.
"Nothing against the Vikings, they have a great offense and all, but there defense isn't very good," Lewis said. "We know Kerry Collins can throw the ball. We know they can be dangerous. But we're not the Vikings."
"We can really make a statement if we go out and put up a shutout," defensive back Chris McAlister said. "Is that cocky? No. Cocky would be if we said we were going to pound them into the dirt all day.
"It's not cockiness. It's just supreme confidence."
"If a team ever didn't think it could post a shutout, it shouldn't play the game," Siragusa said. "Go do something else for a living."
Added Lewis: "I've done the research, heck yeah. Every time we go out there, our goal is to throw up a zero. We really don't believe anyone can go up and down the field and put it down our throats 60, 70 yards at a time. That won't happen."
Chances are, neither will a shutout. But that wouldn't bother at least one member of that vaunted, vociferous unit.
"I'm here to get a ring," defensive end Rob Burnett said. "I'm here to become a Super Bowl champion. If the score is 100 to 99 and we have the 100, that would be perfectly OK with me."
Finally, a voice of reason.