Part One of the Super Bowl Edition of Who To Root for offered 12 reasons why you should root for the San Francisco 49ers.
Part Two will offer 12 reasons why you should root for the Baltimore Ravens.
The Baltimore Ravens
1. Ray Lewis: In case you hadn’t heard (and honestly, I’m not sure that is humanly possibly), Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is planning to retire at the end of the season. And wouldn’t it be cool to see the super inspiring and super emotional Lewis retire with another ring?
2. John Harbaugh: Also pretty crazy, though maybe slightly less crazy than Jim, in terms of intense and exciting “good” craziness goes. Also, you know, there’s something about being older and wiser.
3. Speaking of older and wiser, the Ravens do have an older and more experienced team, with a ”we’ve been there before” feel to them. With that, and given the age of the majority of their key players and the number of them about to retire (or go play for the Patriots, *cough, cough*), this may be the team’s last shot at a Championship for quite some time.
4. Joe Flacco: Flacco is rather easy to make fun of, but the guy has played lights out in the playoffs.
In three playoff games, Flacco has not only outplayed Luck, Manning and Brady, he’s also 1 of only 6 QBs to throw at least 8 touchdown passes and no INTs in the same postseason. The other 5 QBs all have Super Bowl rings AND were named MVP in those Super Bowl wins.
A Super Bowl ring would finally propel Flacco to the status that he rightfully deserves (unless you’re just a Flacco hater or a Steelers fan, in which case you probably don’t think he ever deserves any kind of status) and it wouldn’t hurt him in his pursuit of a new contract.
5. Ed Reed: This entire playoff run has been about Ray Lewis this or Ray Lewis that but the story and career of Ed Reed, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game, is just as compelling. As Reed nears the end of his career, we should all root for him to get a ring, too.
6. You’re a Packers or Falcons fan and there’s just no way you’re rooting for the Niners.
(Or you’re a Seahawks fan).
7. Niners Chris Culliver’s comments on hypothetical gay teammates: The Niners DB pissed off a lot of people on Thursday when he said that a gay teammate would not be welcome on his team. Culliver’s comments are in direct contrast to the hard work of Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who has been an advocate for gay-rights and used his celebrity to promote marriage equality.
(Worth noting before you hate on the entire San Francisco 49ers team too hard: They were the first NFL team to put together an “It Gets Better” video).
8. The Ravens’ post-season run has a sort of lighning in-a-bottle/Cinderella feel to it, similar to that of last year’s Super Bowl Champions, the Giants, and the Packers from the year prior to that.
Cool stat on this: Teams that started their playoff runs on Wildcard Weekend have won 5 of the last 7 Super Bowls.
9. East coast > West Coast. Obvi.
10. The Niners are favored to win and all other things being equal, you always root for the underdog.
The Niners opened as 5-point favorites and while some books have moved the line to 4-point favorites or even 3.5 favorites, the Ravens still remain the underdog.
11. Purple. Purple is an awesome color and 50% of the time selecting a team based on color works.
12. Root against a sixth championship: A Niners would would give the franchise a sixth championship and then we have to hear all about how the are tied with the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history and really, that doesn’t sound like very much fun, especially if you’re a Steelers fan.
Kristine Reese is the NFL editor and lead New York Jets writer for Aerys Sports. You can follow her on Twitter @KristineReese.