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franklin county times

Ravens' defense was as good as advertised, but not commercials

By Staff
Jan. 29, 2001
Thoughts whizzing about while doing what everybody else in America was Sunday night…
What a country we live in. Where else but America could a man be involved in an incident nearly causing him to be imprisoned one day, and be standing in the national limelight on the pedestal of the professional football a year later?
This time last year Ray Lewis was a murder suspect, this morning he is the Super Bowl XXXV Most Valuable Player.
Aside from the Lewis issue, the championship of the 2000 NFL season had some points of special interest to Mississippians.
The champion Baltimore Ravens' Adalius Thomas got a championship ring. The former defensive stalwart for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, achieved what so many NFL players only dream about climbing to the top of the NFL mountain.
And he did it in his first season, so now the question looms…where does he go from here?
I'm sure a gamer like Thomas will find plenty of challenges in the years to come for what will undoubtedly be a promising career.
If you read this space yesterday, you remember sports editor Rocky Higginbotham talking about former East Mississippi Community College standout Orlando Bobo.
Reading that took me back to my days in the Sound of Today Marching Band at Northeast Louisiana, when Bobo helped anchor an Indian offensive line that helped running backs and quarterbacks churn out some serious yardage.
Bobo went through the transition years when Northeast Louisiana was a I-AA powerhouse and then a I-A bottom dweller (where it is today and will probably remain since it has never had any business competing in the upper level anyway.)
I didn't see whether or not Bobo got into the game, because once Kerry Collins took the New York turnover Giants out of it, my significant other decided she would take us out of it by promptly flipping the channel (something about watching a show starring a talking pig). But playing time or no playing time, Bobo is a World Champion, and nobody can take that away from him.
Another Raven from my past was the one who touched the end zone first last night. I remember covering Baltimore wide receiver Brandon Stokley a couple of times when he was playing for his dad, Nelson, on some not-so-good Ragin' Cajun teams.
When Stokley beat Giants' defensive back Jason Sehorn and hauled in the Trent Dilfer pass to put the Super Bore's first touchdown on the board, I reminisced about the guy routinely doing the same thing on Cajun Field.
In the fall of 1998, I was in graduate school at what was then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana. I was also working for the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, while Stokley was breaking USL receiving records and being a bright spot on an otherwise dismal team. One thing's for sure, he didn't win much under the crimson Cajun fleur de lis' banner. But he certainly made up for that by winning the hyped of hypes last night.
Speaking of hypes, the big "defensive struggle" that had been hyped for the last two weeks was a bit one-sided, don't you think? I mean 34-7? The Baltimore Ravens staked their claim as best defense ever by holding opponents to just a single offensive TD in this year's playoffs.
Impressive. They do say defense wins championships though, and Brian Billick's crew left little room for argument. So say what you want skeptics, but the Ravens are Super Bowl champs. Please cease the jaw-dropping and I'll lay off the Dilfer jokes.
As for the game itself, it reminded me of few years back when the NFC annually routed the AFC. I guess these days the shoe is on the other foot. Oh well, many people may not have cared about the final outcome, but it did give them an excuse to party.
Oh, and by the way, the commercials stunk this year.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.