BALTIMORE — Baltimore celebrated with its Super Bowl champion Ravens on Tuesday, with thousands of fans in purple lining the streets and packing the team’s stadium for a celebration.
Fans filled the square in front of City Hall and cheered when the team arrived and when players held the silver Vince Lombardi Trophy aloft. The Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management estimated that 200,000 people took part in the celebration in Charm City, including at City Hall, along the parade route and at the stadium.
Coach John Harbaugh thanked the fans for their support, and safety Ed Reed sang the melody of Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Retiring middle linebacker Ray Lewis, the only current player to have started with the team when it came to the city from Cleveland in 1996, told fans the team had fulfilled a promise to go to New Orleans and win.
“The city of Baltimore — I love you for ever and ever and ever and ever,” Lewis told fans in front of City Hall.
The players were about an hour late arriving, but fans waited to see them pile into military vehicles and set off on their drive to the stadium. Quarterback Joe Flacco and several other players rode in their own camouflage-colored military vehicles, while others stood on a float decorated like a football field with a yellow goal post.
When the team did arrive at M&T Bank Stadium, they treated fans to a thank-you celebration that lasted just over a half-hour. Lewis emerged from a tunnel onto the field, handed off the Lombardi Trophy and did his signature dance, “The Squirrel.” He thanked fans for their love of the team and said he wanted to win the Super Bowl to repay Baltimore for everything it’s done for him.
“There is no place on this earth that’s better than Baltimore,” he told the crowd.