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Ravens revitalize city's football fortunes with Super Bowl win
Updated: Sunday January 28, 2001 11:16 PM
BALTIMORE (AP) -- A city that believed its football tradition was stolen 17 years ago discovered a new one Sunday night.
Baltimore basked in a purple glow as the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 in the Super Bowl.
"For the people in Baltimore City, to the people in Baltimore County and to the state of Maryland, this belongs to you," Ravens owner Art Modell said as he clutched the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Watching the scene from the ESPNZone in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Audra Perry said, "I think the city of Baltimore deserves this."
In the surrounding Inner Harbor, fans showed off their "Super Bowl Champion" T-shirts. Whoops and shouts could be heard across Baltimore as early as halftime, when the Ravens led 10-0, but the city erupted as the clock wound down.
Drivers leaned on their horns, and fans screamed and shouted. A tugboat in Fells Point let out a blast as the final seconds ticked off.
Nearby, crowds poured into the streets and delirious fans swung from lightposts and pounded on stop signs. Police kept a close eye, but did not move in. There were no immediate reports of any violence, Police Commissioner Ed Norris said.
"We're world champions. Can you believe it?" said University of Maryland student Len August, who watched the game from Max's on Broadway.
Said local resident Mike Wallace: "This elevates Baltimore to a whole new level ... Baltimore's not small-time anymore. Now we're like New York or Philadelphia."
Across town in the suburb of Reisterstown, Scott Berger waved a Ravens flag on an 8-foot pole as he led a procession of fans around Bill Bateman's Bistro, a sports bar a few miles from Ravens headquarters.
"We're a great team. We're a fun-loving town. We're easy-going," said the 45-year-old Baltimore refrigeration salesman. "If they don't like it, we'll take them all on. We'll take them down to the Inner Harbor. We'll even show them how to eat crabs."
Like many, 68-year-old Bill Paul, wore his team pride for all to see: his purple-painted face and purple-dyed hair peeped out from under his purple cowboy hat.
"The Ravens have pulled the city together and made them feel better about themselves," said Paul, from Mother's Federal Hill Grille.
Steve Sherman, a 29-year-old lawyer, said the trash-talking Ravens fit the city's gritty personality.
"This is a city of underdogs and rebels," said Sherman from the purple patio outside Mother's. The Ravens, he said, were "necessarily arrogant."
For fans who remembered the night the Colts sneaked out of town in 1984, the Ravens victory all but erased the memory.
"It's redemption," said Bob Hubbard, a 38-year-old Columbia accountant. "We waited a long time to get a team. For us to get into the Super Bowl before Indianapolis, it's a great thing."
Jamie Ruckle, 22, and her sister Laurie, 24, of Catonsville, painted their faces purple before downing longneck beers at the Downtown Sports Exchange.
"We remember our parents crying over the Colts," Laurie Ruckle said.
"But now it's all about the Ravens," Jamie Ruckle chimed in.