Cleveland Championships for the Ravens and the Heat

This reflection was originally posted shortly after the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – As the clock ticked down to zero on the last play of the game, the rest of the Browns bench started storming out onto the field.

“I’m just so excited. If any city deserves two champions, it’s this city,” said Browns quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw for 287 yards and 3 touchdowns, which was just enough for Cleveland to hang on over the San Francisco 49ers. “Everybody knows that the fans are the best in the country.”

Twelve years prior, when the Browns last won the Super Bowl to erase a 37-year championship drought for the sports-crazed Northeast Ohio area, nearly 200,000 people, or roughly half of the population of the city of Cleveland, turned out for the ticker-tape parade. Just six months earlier, when the Cavaliers won their first-ever NBA title over the Oklahoma City Thunder, mayor Frank Jackson declared a city holiday on July 2, gave all of the players and coaches on the 2011–2012 squad a key to the city, and gave all city workers the entire week off.

Now, the fans in Cleveland will get to wear two crowns. Nearly forty thousand fans packed into Jacobs Field in downtown Cleveland, the home of the Cleveland Indians, and joined owner Dan Gilbert in watching one of the more exciting Super Bowl finishes in the past few years on the stadium’s Jumbotron.

Coach John Harbaugh tried to downplay the significance of this game for the city of Cleveland before the game. “I know that the fans in Cleveland are as loyal as any other, and I thank them for their support this entire season. Breaking the long drought was the hardest part, though. Thankfully, I don’t have that kind of pressure riding on me now.”

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