Commentary

Sorensen: Baltimore Ravens have Ray Lewis, don't need destiny

tsorensen@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 23, 2013 

SPORTS FBN-AFC 46 MCT

Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe celebrates his interception during the second half of the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, Sunday night, January 20, 2013. (Doug Kapustin/MCT)

DOUG KAPUSTIN — MCT

These are some of the things I don’t believe in: Bigfoot, the Tooth Fairy, Communism, student-athletes at certain universities and destiny.

I think I’m outnumbered on destiny, however.

A headline Monday in USA Today: “Destiny? Ravens may have it.”

A headline Tuesday in the New York Post: “Ravens’ run looking like true destiny.”

An ESPN headline Jan. 13: “Ravens proving to be team of destiny.”

USA Today again Jan. 14: “Do the Ravens have a date with destiny?”

If you have a date with Destiny, she likely is a dancer, her real name is Doris and she’s not studying to be a nurse.

Of course it’s fun to believe that a mystical force is guiding your team, and somebody else’s, to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.

But destiny is make-believe.

Talent, hard work, opportunity, favorable bounces, patience, poise and Baltimore middle linebacker Ray Lewis are real.

Lewis, who will retire after the Super Bowl, tore his triceps against Dallas in Baltimore’s sixth game and didn’t play the next week against Houston. The Texans scored 43 points. That’s the impact Lewis has. When he’s on the field, the Ravens know they can win. He’s back on the field.

Lewis has had a legendary career. So has Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez, who says he might retire. But Gonzalez’s team lost Sunday to San Francisco. Why does destiny favor Lewis and not Gonzalez?

The Ravens have overcome a lot this season. So has Indianapolis. Why aren’t the Colts, which Baltimore knocked out of the playoffs, a team of destiny? Why isn’t Seattle or Green Bay? How do you become a team of destiny, anyway? Do you apply, and if so, how long is the wait? The Carolina Panthers would like to know.

The Los Angeles Times Sunday: “Baltimore’s team of destiny is taking its anything-goes, chip-on-shoulder attitude to New Orleans.”

Fox Sports Jan 9: “Ravens could be team of destiny.”

ESPN.com Monday: “The Ravens are going to the Super Bowl with a sense of destiny.”

The Ravens were a 9-point underdog two weeks ago at Denver. They had lost nine straight to quarterback Peyton Manning. But Manning threw two interceptions and lost a fumble, and instead of being bold, the Broncos chose to draw in.

The Ravens were 7½-point underdogs by kickoff Sunday at New England. How many passes did New England receivers drop? Or did officials fail to call pass interference against, oh, I don’t know, destiny?

The Ravens upset the Broncos because they were poised and confident and made every big and amazing play they had to. They upset the Patriots because they beat them up and wore them down. In both victories the best quarterback on the field was Baltimore’s Joe Flacco.

The odds of winning playoff games on the road against the AFC’s top seeds in successive weeks are overwhelming. In 10 playoff games this season there have been two upsets – Baltimore’s.

But aren’t sports where we go to see the underdog win?

You can purchase 100 percent cotton TEAM OF DESTINY T-shirts on eBay.

You can listen to Baltimore running back Ray Rice say, “We are the team of destiny. I’ll say it again. We are a team of destiny.”

You can even purchase a book entitled “Raven’s Destiny.”

It’s fiction.

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