Q: Was it hard to imagine a couple weeks ago that you would be on your way to the Super Bowl?
RL: Honestly, God is so amazing. If you’re in that locker room - there’s something special in that locker room. And every man looks at each other and there’s just a certain type of love that we have for each other. And for me to come out and say that this is my last ride and for me now to be headed back to the Super Bowl, for the possibility of me possibly winning a second ring, how else do you cap off a career? How else do you honor your fans and give them everything that they cheer for? Baltimore is one of the most loyal places since 1996 that I’ve ever been around. And the greatest reward you can ever give them is another chance at a Super Bowl. The last ride, I can only tell you I’m along for the ride.
Q: Last year you were in [Foxboro] and were devastated. What a difference a year makes.
RL: Yeah. And after that game, my speeches went viral, social media just kind of took over. But that moment, that conversation with my team, I was just telling them that God doesn’t make mistakes. He’s never made one mistake. In two weeks, somebody else will feel the way we felt last year. But we ran our course. Last year we ran our course. And it wasn’t one play. It wasn’t no dropped pass, it wasn’t no one field goal, it was about a team that came in. And we came back and we were faced with adversity early this season. The injuries, starting with Sizzle [Terrell Suggs] – the first time me, Ed [Reed] and Sizzle actually played together was against the Colts. So the up-and-down roller coaster that went through was just an example or just everything that we had to go through. Starting with last year’s loss here and then rebuilding as a team and coming in and having one of the best training camps ever, I can say, just because everyone believed in each other. It’s just so special, it’s special to be here right now.
Q: What did you say to your team after this game?
RL: Honestly, I just said that God doesn’t make mistakes, man. There was no way that he was going to bring us back here twice to feel the same feeling. He had a real plan for us the whole year. And that’s one thing that I really congratulate my team by, that we stuck to the course, no matter what happened throughout the year. It was always ‘next man up.’ And our locker room, it’s contagious. It’s contagious with a certain respect that we have for each other, coaches all the way down to trainers. It’s a great environment to be around. That’s probably the biggest thing I got out of telling them is, ‘We’re back. We’re back, but this time we’re on our way to the Super Bowl.’
Q: How about Joe Flacco coming up big again?
RL: Look, I’m a little biased because I’ve always been a Joe Flacco fan. For Joe to do the things he did coming into this business his first five years – he’s the winningest quarterback, I think, in playoff history on the road. That speaks volumes, because that meant he always kept his head on the prize. Of course, a lot of people had a lot of things to say about Joe, but as his teammates, we’ve always been there for Joe. And to do it for him, to do it for Sizzle [Terrell Suggs], to do it for Ray Rice, to do it for Ed Reed, to do it for people that I really wanted them to feel what that confetti felt like, just hearing your name being announced going to the Super Bowl. And so Joe, man, I’m a fan of Joe’s. I’ve always been a fan of Joe’s. He played his butt off again today and he was one of the biggest reasons why we’re here today.
Q: Your thoughts on your play tonight and the [helmet-to-helmet] penalty that you had early on?
RL: Look, I always love the game, but some things you just can’t control as a defender. The guy saw me coming and he ducked. So to get a flag on that in the championship game, it always bothers you. Because defensively - we already have so many rules defensively, so I won’t get too much into that. I just say anytime that my defense, me as a leader of my defense, comes out and plays against probably one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history - [
Q: How do you feel about the fact that your teammates keep bringing your name up and say they want to win it for you?
RL: It’s the greatest respect you can ever ask for. You walk in your locker room – you walk in and sometimes the hardest thing for me to do – I just try to live a humble life. It’s hard because sometimes you walk in the locker room and everybody wants something from you. I’m willing to give everything back to them. Everything, no matter if it’s leadership, if it’s teaching them, ‘Don’t make the same mistakes I made in life. Learn from my mistakes.’ And just the beautiful conversations that we’ve had every Saturday night - I sit there and I talk to my team and I talk to different players just about what I used to be when I was in my 20s and what God has brought me from [to] now. And to spread that knowledge and see the changes. To watch a Terrell Suggs grow up right before my eyes. To watch Ed Reed grow up right before my eyes. And Ray Rice. It’s the ultimate respect. It’s why you play the game. I’ve always said that when you leave your legacy, what will your legacy be? And to hear men tell you they love you, to hear men tell you they respect the life that you live, it’s the ultimate.
Q: Does this win give John Harbaugh all the respect he deserves as one of the best coaches in the league?
RL: Like I said, you’ve got to tie him in with Joe [Flacco]. They kind of came in together and we’ve been to, what, three AFC championships? A lot of them we could’ve won, but it just wasn’t our time. But I think that the growing that he did with his team, the way he grew with us and the way that we understand and we respect each other and the conversations that we have as men, that’s what I applaud him the most about. Everybody only sees the wins and losses. But I think the growing that he did from year one to now year five, to have favor with his team. To have conversations, the way he talked to us as men, that was the biggest difference. That was the biggest difference because we came together and we made our mind up to do something as men. Q: What’s your reaction to finally going to the Super Bowl?
RAVENS WR ANQUAN BOLDIN
AB: To us it wasn’t a secret what we were trying to get accomplished. We came here last year and left with a bitter taste in our mouth, we felt like this team [the Patriots] took something away from us. And we wanted to come back and make that right. It would’ve been great to do it in front of our fans in Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium, but we thought the proper way was to come back here and to win at Foxboro. And we were able to do that.
Q: What changed for the offense from the first half to the second half?
AB: For us, we had a pretty good feel for what [the Patriots] were trying to do. And we came in at halftime and we felt like we hadn’t played our best ball in the first half but we were only down six points. So we wanted to come out and we just played the way we’ve been playing. We wanted to up the tempo a bit, put them on their heels and just put the ball in the hands of playmakers and we were able to do that.
Q: What does a game like this say about Joe Flacco?
AB: What I’ve been telling you guys all along: he’s [Joe Flacco] a great quarterback. I don’t know why people keep doubting him because the bigger the situation is, the bigger he plays. And he’s proven that time and time again. So maybe they’ll get off his back now.
Q: Can you talk about the difference between where you were in the middle of the losing streak and after that loss to Denver, to where you are now?
AB: Even after those three losses I told everybody, ‘Don’t panic. We’re going to right the ship. We’re going to win the division. We’re going to make it to the playoffs and we’re going to be a team to reckon with.’ This team is a team of faith, we believed all year no matter what the circumstances were. We’ve been through a lot as a team. We’ve had injuries after injuries, we’ve had one of our brothers lose a loved one. We’ve lost an offensive coordinator. You name it, we’ve been through it. But this team has never wavered. No matter what the situation was, we always believed. And I think today, you saw that. We got down early but this team didn’t blink. We knew that this was our game and we were going to win.
Q: Can you talk about you personally getting back to the Super Bowl?
AB: It’s definitely a blessing for me. You look at guys who go their whole career and never make it to the Super Bowl. For me, I’ve got another shot. And I’m looking to finish it off this time. I went to the Super Bowl five years ago and lost and that’s not the way I want this one to end. So I’m definitely grateful to be back there.
Q: Is it a different feeling for you to go to the Super Bowl this time around?
AB: Oh, definitely. It’s definitely a different feeling. And I’m looking forward to it, I’m going to enjoy this moment and just get prepared for San Francisco.
Q: Did Bernard Pollard’s forced fumble underscore the hard-hitting nature of this rivalry?
AB: Yeah, we knew we were going to have to come in and play physical. We felt like the most physical team was going to win. [The Patriots] did some things early, chippy things. But I don’t know if they know it or not, but the Ravens are a physical team, that’s just the way we play. Like it or not, offensively and defensively. So if you think you’re going to come in here and throw us around, you’ve got another thing coming. Up front, especially with our offensive line, I thought they did a great job of handling their defensive front. And on defense, our defense is known to fly around and hit people.
Q: What are your thoughts on San Francisco?
AB: [San Francisco] is definitely a great team. Offensively, they have a great offensive line, they run the ball well, they have a quarterback that presents problems, especially with his legs. Defensively, they have one of the best defenses in the league. Great guys up front again, probably one of the best linebacking corps’s in the league. Then they have a sound secondary. So we’re definitely going to have our work cut out for us. We’re going to take some time and enjoy this one before we get to work on them.
RAVENS HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
JH: I just want to thank everybody for being here. What a great moment. We’ve been inspired. You’ve heard so much of the inspirational stuff, on grace and faith. [Anquan Boldin] started off with the word love, which to me means so much more than what we think about sometimes. But that’s what holds a team together. It was a team victory. It was about the team. The team. The team. That’s what wins football games like this. But there’s other people involved that you draw inspiration from. Like O.J. Brigance … who is battling the battle of his life. He told us that the third try is the charm. Ok, that third time is a charm. He’s going through something for the third time. The Muñozes out in California – just tremendous people who are fighting tremendous fights, who have impacted the guys on our team, and make this about so much more than just a game. It’s people’s lives, you know. The New England Patriots are a great, great football team. They are a great organization. They are led by a tremendous coach, perhaps the best coach in history. He’s just done some great things. We admire them so much; we admire the quarterback, we admire the football team. When you come out and play the way we did and win this football game, it means a lot and we are very excited about it.
Q: Could you and your brother ever have dreamt this big growing up?
JH: I don’t know if we had a dream this big. We had a few dreams, a few fights. We had a few arguments. Just like all brothers. We’ll try to stay out of that business; we’ll let the two teams duke it out as much as possible. But [I] couldn’t be more proud of Jim [Harbaugh]. Watching that team play, they do reflect his personality. They have a great staff. They’re physical players, man. They run the ball, they throw the ball, they have a quarterback that’s throwing the ball all over the place. They’ve got a rough-house defense. There’s a reason they are in the Super Bowl. Love the way they play. I’d like to think that our two teams are very similar. I’d like to think when you look at those two teams, you are looking at mirror images of two football teams. I’d like to think that. It’s going to be a great football game. He’s a great football coach.
Q: Do you think you can stand two weeks’ worth of Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh?
JH: You know what? I agree with you. Let’s just cut that right out. Can we all agree? Just forget about that stuff. We did that last year ok? It was fine. It got old last year. Did it not? My dad is definitely on board with that. They don’t take any interviews anyway. He’s in the basement down in Mequon [Wisconsin] Mom and dad, love ya; love ya very much. Let’s move past that and let’s talk about the two teams.
Q: Talk about the physical play and talk about the Bernard Pollard play.
JH: That was the turning point of the game. That was the turning point of the football game there on the 40-yard-line. It was just a tremendous hit. It was football at its finest. It was Bernard Pollard making a great physical tackle – just as good a tackle as you’re ever going to see in football right there. That just probably turned the game around right there.
Q: What does this say about Joe Flacco’s development as a quarterback?
JH: You guys will write great stories and can put it in way better words than I can. We’ve always believed in Joe. For Joe to come out and have this kind of game, on this kind of a stage, three weeks in a row…[Andrew] Luck’s a pretty good quarterback, [Peyton] Manning’s a pretty good quarterback, [Tom] Brady’s a great quarterback; all those guys are great players. But Joe’s a great quarterback. He’s proven that, and he’s not just proven that this year, he’s proven it for five years. But to do it this year, on this stage, and to have the success he’s had…But again, it’s a team victory, ok? It takes a team to win a game like this. We have a great football team.
Q: What do you think your father is thinking right now?
JH: I hope he’s on his fourth or fifth beer right now, that’s what I’m hoping for. I hope he and mom have a big hug going. I don’t know what he’s thinking, you’ll have to give him a call and ask him. He’s proud.
Q: It seemed you turned the game more over to Joe Flacco offensively in the second half. Is that fair?
JH: I’d say that’s what happened. We kind of made a decision on the second half to cut it loose a little bit more. We were running the ball with some effectiveness, but they were doing a good job on defense. They were stopping us. They were playing very physical up front. You mentioned a physical football game; it was really a physical football game. They’ve got a very stout front. Their front seven is as good as any in football and we had to get away from that. We had to get away from challenging them and give Joe a chance to make some plays.
Q: Since that December 16th game with Denver, what’s happened with your quarterback and team in general? That seemed like the low point of the season but you've come back from it
JH: You keep kind of going there and I just haven’t seen it that way. I just haven’t. I think we’ve had steady improvement throughout the course of the season. In that game, we played well. We had turnovers. When you have turnover that go for big plays like that in critical situations against a team that’s playing so well…we gave up a couple big plays, and that turns the game. So, I really believe we’ve been building throughout the course of the season. We had a mid-season thing. One thing about our guys, we like our guys talking things out and confronting issues. We’ve been doing that throughout the course of the season and it’s pushed us so close as a football team. I think you’re seeing the results of that right now.
Q: Early in the season, the franchise was founded on defense. And then Dean Pees took a lot of heat early in the season, kind of a lot of injuries. Can you talk about Dean’s season?
JH: Thank you. Dean Pees is a special man. I’ve known this guy as a football coach for 30-something years. I knew he was a good coach when he took a slow corner that couldn’t jump or do anything and made him kind of an ok player, maybe. But it’s not just Dean, I think Dean’s a great leader. We have a great staff. And Ed [Reed] alluded to it: coaches and players working together to make each other better. That’s kind of a motto that we had. And Dean did a great job transitioning really what is a young defense. When you look at our defense a bit, it’s become a young defense. We needed to adjust what we were doing a little bit schematically, and we did that. We got back to playing – we got to playing those guys in a very fundamentally sound way. And it showed up in the way we played defense in the second half of this season.
Q: Everyone talks about Joe getting over the hump, but do you feel like you now feel like you’re over the hump?
JH: I’m so bad with feelings. I wish I could describe them better. There was a couple minutes left in the game and we had Tom Brady out there, and Bill Belichick and Josh [McDaniels] and those guys and then
Q: What’s special about this team that you can go on the road and win like this?
JH: I mean, I would go to the words we talk about, you know: faith, and grace and toughness and heart and love and togetherness and work ethic. You know, it comes back to those things and a bunch of guys that can really play. You know, we have a great owner, we’ve got a great GM, we’ve got a great organization from top to bottom. Everybody in our organization pulls the oar in the same way. And maybe in the end that’s enough.
Q: Talk about the tipped pass and interception.
JH: That was a huge play. The tipped pass, that was Pernell McPhee just getting pushing to the quarterback. The thing with Tom Brady that you can’t do is you can’t give him pass lanes inside. He’ll step up in there and he’ll just shred you. I thought in the second half we did a much better job with tightening up our pass rush a little bit, tightening down the throwing lanes and getting our hands up. We had two or three batted balls that were huge. Pernell’s was the biggest one. Dannell [Ellerbe] making a catch there was big. You’re right, that was a turning point in the game as well.
Q: What you feeling for Ray Lewis?
JH: I’m just feeling an incredible amount of awe. Ray would be the first to tell you this, so I’m just going to share it: awe in the work that God can do in one man’s life. To me, Ray’s the epitome of that. Ray’s a guy that has turned everything over. He’s surrendered everything and he’s become the man that he is to this day. He’s a different man than he was when he was 22 or 15 or whatever. I think everybody sees that right now. I think it’s a great thing for kids to see. It’s a great thing for fathers to see. It’s a great thing for fathers to see. It’s a great thing for athletes to see. It’s a very special deal.
Q: Any message for the Baltimore fans?
JH: Yeah, for the Baltimore fans: we have the greatest fans in the world. There were about five, six, seven, 8,000 – I don’t know how many were here. But they were all ringing in the stadium. I know there’s millions more celebrating in the streets of Baltimore and everywhere else right now. So, thanks for all you do. We have the greatest fans in the world. We love you. We heard the chant today, all the way up here in Foxborough.
RAVENS QB JOE FLACCO
Q: Does the win make this trip even sweeter compared to what you had to endure last year?
JF: I think its pretty sweet having won one of these AFC Championships – it’s probably pretty sweet no matter how you do it and no matter what fashion it’s in.
Q: Were you impressed with how many people from Baltimore made it up here?
JF: You can always tell during the National Anthem when you hear the ‘O’ how many people from Baltimore made it up and today’s was pretty strong actually, so yeah it was pretty cool and pretty impressive how those guys made it up here.
Q: What was your thought process as the team was down during halftime? What was your mindset at the half?
JF: We hadn’t gotten much going on offense. Our defense was playing really well – it was still a six-point game – all we had to do was go down and put the ball in the end zone, but we felt like we had to score, had to put pressure on the [defensive backs], put pressure on the linebackers in coverage. They do a good job stopping the run and we knew we had to come out here in the second half and make some plays in the passing game with some of our guys.
Q: What led you guys to passing so much in the second half?
JF: Like I said, we realized that we just needed to put some pressure on them in that way. In the first half we were probably a little bit run-heavy and they did a good job of stopping it and we came out in the second half and decided to go with what we went with. We didn't come all the way here to play it safe and hope to win. We came here to win the AFC Championship Game and you have to play to win and you have to do some of those things, and our guys made plays – Anquan [Boldin] came up huge – all of our receivers [and] all of our tight ends, our linemen, everyone came up big when they needed to.
Q: What has happened with this team and you specifically since that December 16th loss to Denver? You’ve been playing extraordinarily well and so has the football team.
JF: I think we’ve been playing like that all year. It’s just that some of our losses – people lose during the football season. We had a couple of bad losses, but we really rebounded from them really good. We had a couple losses in there that were really close and hey, that just happens sometimes. We had some wins that we probably should have lost. It’s a crazy season and there are a lot of good football teams in the NFL, so you have to be ready to go out and play every week and you have to be ready to take your lumps and deal with it and I think that’s what we’ve done. We’ve come out here and played football like we always do which is hard – it’s just 60 minutes of it and it’s good playoff football.
Q: What did you say to Ray Lewis after the interception in the end zone by Cary Williams?
JF: I just said, ‘Hey, we are going back to the Super Bowl, man. We’ve just got one more to win.’
Q: At what point did you know you were going to the Super Bowl?
JF: After the four-minute drive when we got a couple of first downs there, but then came off the field it seemed like we were going to go. I think we were going to go, but they could always score, get an onside kick and get a two-point conversion – anything could happen – we’ve seen it all. We got pretty confident over there, but at some point I tried to tone down the celebration a little bit just in case something like that did happen. But after we went out and threw it a couple times and got back out there and ran the ball, we felt pretty comfortable.
Q: You guys had a good team the last five years. What made this team special?
JF: A lot of things. I think this is a special team and I think we’ve had a special team. These games are tough to win and we’ve put ourselves in the position to win these games and eventually you’re going to push through and play the way you need to. It’s crazy, this is my fifth year here and this is the third one of these games that we’ve played in and this is the first one we’ve won. These are tough games to win, but we played well as a team today and that’s what we’re going to need to do in a couple of weeks.
Q: Considering what you guys have been through this year with just the different forms of adversity, just how much sweeter does this make this feel?
JF: I don’t know if it makes it feel any sweeter. Like I said, I think it’s kind of tough to have this feel any different than it does right now. I don’t care what the circumstances are, but yes, we were dealing with injuries and we didn't have [Terrell] Suggs, we didn't have – Haloti [Ngata] hasn’t been healthy, Ray [Lewis], Ed [Reed], Haloti, Suggs, all those guys on the defensive side of the ball – it was probably not until the playoffs when they were all actually playing together. So, I think we’ve definitely overcome a lot, but I think that's, if you look at the Super Bowl winners over the past few years, I’d probably say they would have a lot in common with that. It’s about who can get ready and who can become their best at the right time and hit the ground running and that’s what we’re doing.
Q: How meaningful is it to get Ray back to the Super Bowl?
JF: It’s pretty cool. Ray is an awesome guy; [he’s] a special person. To see how emotional he is about it and how excited he is about it and the cool thing about Ray is that he’s excited about getting back there and having the opportunity to win another one for himself, but he’s more excited because he’s felt it and wants all of us to feel it and he knows what it feels like. I think he’s more excited for us to go feel that and he wants to get us there, so to be able to get him back there is a pretty cool feeling.
RAVENS S ED REED
Q: Well, it took a while didn’t it?
ER: It’s just awesome right now. A great feeling.
Q: Can you talk about going back home?
ER: Oh, man. I don’t think we’ve been there since right before Katrina. It’s just a blessing. I thank God for assembling this team and for his grace. It’s been a long time coming, but it takes time. We’ve built up to this point. We went up against a great team today. This is a great organization. They’ve been the champions. I’m sitting outside in the hallway looking at the Super Bowl pictures and the [pictures of the] parades. It was a hard-fought game and we’re just thankful and grateful to be on this side of the ball.
Q: What does it mean to you to go back home?
ER: I really don’t have any words for it. I rushed into the locker room to call my mom, because I know that my family has been going through some things, so I’m just thankful to be going home to New Orleans for the whole of New Orleans to see some hometown guys. Jacoby [Jones] . . . we talked about it. Like I said, we haven’t been there since Katrina. We’re just grateful.
Q: As much confidence as you have in your defense, could you have ever imagined shutting them out in the second half?
ER: We talked about it. We knew it was going to be tough because [Tom] Brady’s a great quarterback and you really have to disguise things and pretty much be perfect. He puts the ball on his receivers, in their chests. We knew we were going to have to have perfect coverage and we knew it was going to be a 60-minute game with no quit. We have always played these guys tough and they have always played us tough. We expected it.
Q: Talk about Joe Flacco taking the team to the Super Bowl.
ER: Joe has always been that guy from day one. From the first snap he went up against our defense I knew he was a smart guy. I’ve told this story many times: He took the ball, we blitzed him, and he threw it straight to the sideline out of bounds because he knew we were coming. He’s always been a leader and has more than just potential to lead us to where we’re going right now. It just takes growth and he’s embraced it and we’ve helped each other along the way. Every teammate, every coach. We’ve helped each other along the way. Without God’s grace, we are nothing.
Q: What did it mean to have O.J. Brigance out there with you guys at the coin toss?
ER: What can’t you say about O.J. O.J’s been our strength. O.J took me under his wing when I first got here and everything he’s been through and is going through, to still be the same O.J. and being a light to you and be a light for our team . . . You could say so much about Juice, man. I love Juice. He’s been like an uncle to me and like a brother. I love Juice. I’d give everything for him. I would put no other man in his position to go what he’s going through . . . Little Tyler who comes to our practices, going through leukemia right now, he’s been a strength for us. Even Chuck, man, Chuck has been a part of this too. That hit home, because we know what O.J.’s been battling through. That’s something that none of us can imagine.
Q: I know a lot of you guys have been talking about Ray Lewis, but for a lot of you guys this is your first trip to the Super Bowl.
ER: I have no words, man. I’m just grateful for our coaches. For everything we’ve been through since Coach Harbaugh got here, he had a vision of working us a certain way and taking us through something to build something and to create this moment. We believed it, but it was just something we had to go through as men and understand each other and understand the process together. Our coaching staff is amazing for what they do. That process that we went through as a team, that growth . . .
Q: After the loss to Denver, that seemed like the low point of the season. Sometimes do things come together when you least expect it?
ER: God has a plan to take you through something and to go through something and to make you the men you are. That was a moment where we as a team, defensively anyway, there were some internal things that we need to clear up to really understand each other. That was the lowest point in the season for the defense and maybe as a team, because it hurt us to lose that game. We felt like we were a better team – not better than Denver, but a better team as a whole, to play differently from week to week. We came out there against Denver and the sideline was trouble and we had never had that. For us to go through that process of losing those games, I saw the work of the man upstairs. We knew we had the team and through the process we knew we had training camp and the tough days and the hard work and the countless hours of “let’s go to work.” To get here, it’s amazing. It’s amazing to be going back to New Orleans. I’m so grateful. To go to the Crescent City . . . here we come, baby.
Anquan Boldin, Wide Receiver
(On defeating the Patriots to go to the Super Bowl)
“We came in here to win the game. It wasn’t a secret. We came in here last year and left with a bitter taste in our mouths. We could have won this game in Baltimore in front of our fans, but we get great pleasure out of coming to Foxborough and doing it here.”
(On the team’s feeling after defeating Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to get to the Super Bowl)
“Man, it’s great. Like I said before we really believed it all year. We had faith and we felt like this was our year. We just came out here and wanted to take it.”
(On believing that this team is going to the Super Bowl after the playoff road trips they’ve had)
“Definitely. That’s been our goal the entire year. We came here last year and felt like we had something taken away from us. We wanted to come back here and rectify that. We could have played in front of Baltimore and that would have been great, but there’s not a better way to end it than coming back to Foxborough a year later and beating Tom Brady here.”
(On his guaranteed victory)
“Yeah. There was no doubt and no secret what we were coming here to do. Like I said, we felt like something was taken away from us and we wanted to come back and set that straight.”
Haloti Ngata, Defensive Tackle
(On the victory meaning more to get Ray Lewis to the Super Bowl)
“It definitely does. Ray Lewis has done so much for this team and for Baltimore. For us to help him get to the Super Bowl for his retirement is an amazing feeling. You know, I’m just happy to be on his team at this time. We’re going to the Super Bowl.”
Terrell Suggs, Linebacker
(On beating a team like the Patriots)
“Any other team with this win would have been unjustified. Especially how the game last year ended, and who 12 (Tom Brady) is, and who their head coach is, and who their owner is. Between these two teams, you won’t get another battle like this between two AFC opponents. We have the upmost respect for them.”
(On how he would characterize his emotion walking off the field)
“It is still surreal. What we did as a unit. But let’s not be fooled, that team isn’t done. It will probably be these two teams at it again next year.”
(On if he thinks the Patriots are arrogant)
“They have the right to be. You have three titles and six appearances, with 12 (Tom Brady) under center, they have the right to be. We respect them. That is it, even enemies can show respect.”
(On the win)
“We still got one more win we aren’t satisfied. We know we match up real well with them. We are probably the only team in the AFC that matches up good with the boy number 12 over there and his coach. They are a good ball club, but we have a good one ourselves.”
(On being the underdog)
“We knew what we were capable of. We know you all had them picked to win. Unfortunately the bandwagon is full, and we want you all to come in two weeks and bet against us again. ”
Matt Birk, Center
(On playing in big games)
“As a player, you go out there and give it everything you’ve got. You stay fundamentally sound and that is about it.”
(On if he were to hang it up, how great of an ending it would be)
“Sure, nobody is entitled to go to a Super Bowl, or to a title in a championship. Obviously I am ecstatic to be going with this team, this group and these players and these coaches. It is a special group.”
(On what it means to get redemption against the Patriots)
“It is all still kind of soaking in. To get to our goal, I guess it makes for a great story. We had to come back here, and win here to do it. We just wanted to go. They are a great team, they have been a great team forever. It is pry fitting that they have been the best team the last 10 to 12 years. You have to go to their place and beat them to go to a Super Bowl.”
(On shutting out the Patriots in the second half)
“When is the last time that happened at Foxboro? Like, never? It’s unbelievable!”
(On the difference in the game)
“We just executed better. In the first half we had a hard time on offense sustaining anything and getting our rhythm, other than the one drive. We changed thinks up a little bit in the second half. We got a little up-tempo and got some rhythm and guys started making plays. We just executed. We threw the ball a lot more and we were taking what they give you. We just tried to block guys and give our playmakers a chance to make plays.”
Ray Rice, Running Back
(On the Ravens as a team)
“Everybody went out there and played for each other. It is not one guy, it is a team. There is no more saying one guy showed up, we showed up as a team.”
(On the mentality coming out of halftime)
“Stop them. Hold them to a field goal. We can talk about all we want, but our defense played lights out. When you keep Tom Brady and that offense to threes and only give up one touchdown and shut them out in the second half, that just speaks volumes for itself. We took a lot of heat this year, everybody was talking about whatever it was, when it was time to step up, those guys did it. I actually got to enjoy some of the feeling today.”
(On the Patriots’ loss of
“I didn’t know he went down. I hope he’s healthy. We just came in at halftime and Coach Harbaugh said we are keeping the foot on the pedal and that’s what we did.”
(On what it takes to beat the Patriots)
“Execution. You’ve got to hold Brady to three’s and score seven’s. You’ve got to score touchdowns against Brady. If you’re kicking field goals versus Brady, he’s always going to have that opportunity to come back.”
Brendon Ayanbadejo, Linebacker
(On reaching the Super Bowl)
“This is a tough game, where you have to train every single day of your life to be the best you can be. But if you love the man next to you and you play football with love, you can do anything. You play for the love of the man next to you.”
(On the rollercoaster of emotions)
“It is kind of tough, because you don’t want to say the wrong thing, but I said what I felt. It kind of sent the wrong message of what this organization is about. This organization is about OJ Brigance, this organization is about Ray Lewis, this organization is not about Brendon Ayanbadejo, but I went out there and I told the truth, I said how I felt. At the end of the day, I apologized to my teammates, I didn’t apologize to the Patriots, I didn’t apologize to the NFL, I apologized to my teammates for taking the spotlight off the Ravens and putting the spotlight on myself. That was the only thing I was sorry for. I wasn’t sorry for anything that I said, I was sorry for making a selfish comment and taking the shine away from people the light should have been shined on.”
James Ihedigbo, Safety
(On the injuries affecting the Patriots)
“You have to give credit to our offense. Our offense executed great. Joe (Flacco) made some amazing throws and Q (Anquan Boldin) did what he does: he’s a playmaker. He continues to make great catches. Dennis (Pitta) made a great catch there over the middle on third down to keep the drive going. You have to look at the plays our offense made and it’s not necessarily one player on their side or on our side but consistency of making the plays. Our offense made more plays than they did. ”
(On defending Tom Brady)
“Keep rolling the dice. Keep it moving. You can never keep it the same against Tom (Brady) because he can read fronts and determine coverages based off the front. He’s just a smart quarterback. You always have to move things, change things, blitz guys, cover guys; you continue to switch it up on him. Our defense did a great job today; we shut them out in the second half. That happens rarely with this type of offense.”
(On frustrating the opposing offense)
“It’s an awesome feeling because you know he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback; you know the type of things he’s capable of. Anytime you hold a quarterback of his caliber to literally no big plays, no really big plays. They had a few, but none that were touchdowns. Usually they throw the deep ball down the field, get yardage and then they run it in, but for us to shut them out in the second half: it’s a testament to our defense.”
(On the team’s victory over the Patriots)
“We had to persevere through a lot of things and this team has been through so much inside that locker room that no one knows about. We continued to fight no matter what it was. Whether it was injuries or personal things. We fought together and now we’re AFC Champions. We’re going to the Super Bowl.”
(On stopping the New England offense)
“Being lined up and being ready to play. We said we were going to be focused every snap. Win the next play. If they got a big play, which they did some times we said brush it off, go into the next play and win that one. And we did that today. We played awesome on defense and we played awesome on offense. It was great.”
Bernard Pollard, Safety
(On if his hit hurt him as well)
“It’s football. It’s something that … this is how we play the game. First of all we give all things glory to God for allowing us to get through this game injury free. For us, we’re just excited to be going to New Orleans. ”
(On the Ravens-Patriots rivalry being a physical one)
“This is what we’re about. Our football team, we’re about hitting, we’re about running, running fast and playing hard for four quarters. I think we did a really good job as a team coming into a hostile environment. We know what it felt like last year. We didn’t want to have that feeling again walking off that field. I really believe, we as a team came together. We trusted one another and we left it up to God. We said before we came out here, ‘His will be done.’ We’re gracious enough to be headed to New Orleans.”
(On the team attitude coming out after halftime)
“The feeling was we knew we were coming out to play. This week we were playing against a very good team. Just their offense, what they were capable of doing, they showed us a lot. I think it was time for us to step up and in the second half we didn’t flinch. I think we came out swinging and we did a really good job as a team.”
(On his tackle on Patriots running back
“It was just a tackle. It’s football. He broke a hole and us as safeties, we have to fill when needed. That’s football. I hope he’s OK. We as players are competitive in the moment, but when everything calms down, you want that guys to be OK. That is our brother.”
(On his reputation as a Patriot killer)
“I don’t think about that. This is football. Like I said, me as a player, I might laugh and do everything else in the moment. Be excited and ready to go. But when it’s all said and done, I really hope their guys are OK. They play in this game like we do. It’s a very physical game, violent game. I just hope he’s OK.”
Cary Williams, Cornerback
(On the win)
“We played pretty good defense in the first half. We knew we had to play at an elite level in order to win this game. Everybody just stuck together and stayed positive and continued to play the way we normally do. Eventually Tom Brady made a couple of mistakes and we were able to capitalize on them.”
Justin Tucker, Kicker
(On the Win)
“It will probably sink in when we are sitting in our seats on the plane getting all cozy. Right now I think we’re all elated and this is going to be really fun. I think with any game no matter what it is, whether it is a championship game or what, you got a twenty-four hour rule. We are going to enjoy the heck out of this and enjoy each other’s company. We have to just understand that this is a pretty rare thing, and we have to just cherish these moment, that we get to share with each other.
(On how the team responded)
“It has been a crazy ride, there has been so much that has happened. I guess that tends to happen when you are playing a 21-week season like we are fortunate to be doing. It is really cool that our team has that resilience to be able to bounce back from so many adverse situations.
Bryant McKinnie, Tackle
(On what it means to be going to the Super Bowl)
“It means a lot. Me and Ed Reed kept saying we want to get to a championship like we did in college. I mean this is my eleventh year and my first Super Bowl, so it means a lot. ”
(On what was said during half time)
“We didn’t want to leave here the same way we did last year, seeing the confetti drop on them and their dancing, I mean, that hurt. There was no way we could go and repeat that same thing again. We knew it was in our hands, we just had to go out and execute the plays and make something happen.”
(On being underdogs)
“Yeah, being an underdog they don’t expect you to do it and we like to prove them wrong. That’s just a challenge for us.”
(On defeating Denver and New England on the road to get to the Super Bowl)
“We went on the road to play two tough teams. We stuck together and this team has a great bond.”
(On the performance from Joe Flacco thus far in the postseason)
“Hopefully he finally gets the credit that he deserves. He’s up there in playoff wins with the best of them. You have to start giving the man a little credit.”
(On what changed for the team in the second half)
“We came here and kind of motivated each other to get the job done. We had that feeling at halftime like we did last year and nobody wanted to leave here with that. We had 30 minutes left to go out and execute and get a win.”
(On what was said in the locker room at halftime)
“We don’t want to have that same feeling in the locker room after the second half. We need to get it together. We got out there and started executing and just took care of business.”
Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver
(On what it is about the team that allows them to get through so much adversity)
“It’s who we are. That’s what our city is, a tough city, you get knocked down, you’ve got to get back up. That’s how life is, you just can’t lay down and roll over. You’ve got to continue to fight.”
(On how determined the team was to get to the Super Bowl for Ray Lewis)
“We all want to win the Super Bowl. Ray isn’t the only guy here, he has won, we all know this is his last shot, but we have Ed Reed, he’s never been to a Super Bowl, Terrell Suggs, Anquan Boldin, never won one, but have been there. We all play for each other.”
(On the injury to Aqib Talib affecting the game plan)
“I didn’t even know he went down until the end of the second quarter. When there are guys out there, you just play, you don’t really look at who’s across from you. That’s tough for them, he’s helped them out a lot, but I’m not going to take anything away from us. I’m not going to say that if he was out there he would have made a huge difference. Nothing changed, we ran the same plays.”
(On how the team was able to preserve so much through this season to get to where they are now)
“That’s just who we are as Ravens. We fight and we don’t quit. That’s not how our city is and our team is a direct reflection of our city.
(On what this win does for a guy like Joe Flacco)
“I’m so glad we’re going to the Super Bowl right now so people can get off Joe’s back. He led us there. He made plays with his arm and we made plays for him. When that happens, Joe is confident and sharp. Our offensive line did a great job. We’re all a reflection of the big guys as well. So when we play well, it generally goes well and we’re going to the Super Bowl.”
(On how determined the team was to get Ray Lewis to a Super Bowl)
“We wanted to be here before (Ray) said he was going to retire. We all want to win the Super Bowl. Ray has won and we know this is his last shot at it. We have Ed Reed who has never been to a Super Bowl. Terrell Suggs. Anquan Boldin has never won one, but he’s been there. These are all guys as well that we play for each and every day.”
Dennis Pitta, Tight End
(On the hit by
“There was a few of them, but sometimes you take shots like that. That was a pretty big one, but you’ve got to bounce back up and keep playing.”
(On the touchdown after the hit)
“You know, I think I was still a little bit foggy from the play before, but it was just a stick route for me. It was a little five-yard out and we got man to man coverage and I was able to beat him. Joe threw a great ball and it ended up being a big play and changing momentum.”
(On Joe Flacco)
“He’s been unbelievable this whole year and in these playoffs. We have a ton of confidence in him, we know what he is capable of. It’s a matter of just settling down and getting into a rhythm which he was able to do in the second half.”
(On having the feeling of redemption beating the Patriots)
“We were a confident team coming into this game and we knew what was at stake. We weren’t going to let it turn out the way it did last year. We dug deep and we were down at halftime. Everyone looked at each other at halftime and knew that we were going to come out and get it done. So we got it done.”
(On his touchdown reception following a big hit he took)
“Yeah, I took a big shot on that one (play) and I was a little woozy getting up. But, you have to regroup and it ended up being a big play for us.”
(On quarterback Joe Flacco’s performance in the second half)
“Yeah, he was phenomenal. He’s been great all year especially in these playoffs. He deserves this more than anyone and he’s worked so hard. We have to play well in a couple of weeks now.”
Vonta Leach, Fullback
(On the second half)
“We just came out and played Ravens football. That is all I can say about it. We played Ravens football. We missed a few plays in the first half. We just came out in the second half and we said ‘playmakers just make plays’, and that is what our playmakers did. It feels great. I feel great! I got to go see my mom!”
Michael Oher, Tackle
(On going to the Super Bowl and Joe Flacco)
“It feels great. A lot of hard work paid off for everybody. This is a great group of men. It hasn’t sunk in yet. Coach Harbaugh just let us play. Joe (Flacco) did a great job and we got the win. Joe is a great player and a great quarterback, one of the best at his position. He played great, lights out.”
Jacoby Jones, Wide Receiver
(On the difference in the game)
“We were hungry and determined. Like I said at the beginning of the tournament, the first playoff game, no matter what we were going to think win and victory. We weren’t going to think about losing. That was our job. They started out hot. We were feeling our way through and making our adjustments then we came out in the second half and played our game.”
(On what he is going to do with the AFC Championship hat)
“I am probably going to give it to my mom, and the t-shirt. She usually takes them anyway. As long as I got that ring on my finger, that is what I want.”