At last, a feat to crow about

Ravens fans revel in long-awaited win

Super Bowl Xxxv

Ravesn Vs. Giants

January 29, 2001|By Jean Marbella | Jean Marbella,SUN STAFF

So that's why they call it super.

With wall-rocking screams, pealing church bells, honking car horns and other beyond-verbal expressions of joy, the Raven Nation giddily celebrated its Super Bowl victory last night.

"I've been waiting for this for such a long time," said Dennis Metzler, 45, of Glen Burnie, who watched the game at the All-American Bar in Glen Burnie. "I can't even describe the feeling."

Taverns and houses emptied just after 10 p.m., as Super Bowl-watching parties ended and Super Bowl victory parties began.

"This is great," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris, watching the mostly peaceful city celebrations from the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor.

"We're downtown and we're happening, baby!" Delvon McDowell, a 25-year-old city resident, screamed into his cell phone as he stood atop a car at Lombard and Light street and called friends to come on down.

City folk mixed with suburbanites, young with old, black with white -- in fact, there was only one color last night and it was purple. The purple-bedecked waved flags, banners and even the shirts off their backs. Strangers high-fived one another, and random acts of nudity broke out. Cars cruised, passengers hanging out of windows and popping through sunroofs.

Within a half-hour of the game's final whistle, Pratt Street had become a slow-moving victory parade, where even ambulance drivers were waving Raven flags.

"There's nothing like being in your hometown," exulted Marc Levin, 29, a Baltimore expatriate living in Boston, who returned for the party and danced gleefully on an Inner Harbor curb.

About 1,000 hooting and hollering fans stormed the streets in Fells Point, all suffering delirious maximus.

Several men climbed light poles and trees. Police officers with nightsticks chased down and bloodied at least three pole-climbers, then handcuffed and led them away.

In the Inner Harbor, officers made a handful of arrests -- including a 30-year-old Prince George's County man. His crime: taking off every stitch of clothing. The arrest drew grateful applause from nearby crowds.

Everyone became part of the party last night.

"I might be homeless," Robert Richardson, holding a plastic raven, told passers-by, "but I'm a Raven fan forevermore." In Federal Hill, Charles Street from Cross to Ostend streets was blocked off from traffic and became an outdoor beer garden.

"If you don't like purple and you don't like black," said a sign borne by Nicole Rykowski, 23, "get on 95 and don't come back."

Police decided to do just that: As traffic jammed downtown, they began closing streets and diverting everyone to Interstate 95.

"They won't even know what hit them and they'll be on the highway," said Maj. Stephen McMahon. "The traffic got to be too much downtown."

Most fans managed to have fun without displeasing the police or disrobing. In fact, it was a night of such wholesomeness that people brought their bundled-up little kids to join in the fun.

"My god, look at this," said Ian Griffin, who just moved here from Great Britain to work on the Hubble Space Telescope and brought his 6- and 7-year-old daughters to the harbor. "This is brilliant."

The sweet victory came after a day -- no, weeks and years -- of anticipation.

"Raven Joe," aka Joe Elliott, was up at 5 a.m. yesterday and walking the dog, his burgeoning anticipation preventing any more sleep. By 9:30, the United Parcel Service packer from Abingdon was outside the locked door of The Barn, a Ravens fan hangout in Perry Hall, where Ravens behemoth Tony Siragusa, when he isn't otherwise occupied, is host of a radio show.

"I was so pent-up, all I've been drinking all day is ice water, and I'm wired," Elliott said.

He persuaded The Barn owner to let him in, more than eight hours to game time, and he reserved some tables near the front bar for friends who would arrive at a saner hour. Good thing -- by noon, all the seats were gone.

Lots of things were in short supply as Ravens fans ate, drank and otherwise consumed all things purple.

Roberta Cox, a Barn bartender, came up empty in her particular quest -- grape Jell-O. "It's all gone. You can't buy any grape Jell-O for miles around here," she said.

Some fans paused amid the football fervor for a literary tip of the hat to the original raven, the poem that Edgar Allan Poe wrote more than 150 years ago.

The Poe statue at the University of Baltimore in midtown was given a "Go Ravens" sign and bunch of purple balloons. Prophetically, the statue is inscribed, "Dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before."

Indeed. Local football fans, Colts-haunted and NFL-scorned for so many years, could barely stop pinching themselves yesterday.

Glen Burnie's All American Bar is the nest-away-from-home for one Ravens Roost fan club, No. 18. The Roosts actually began as the Colts Corral during those halcyon days of long ago. They hung together through the dark interregnum of the football-bereft years, and re-emerged five years ago to support the then-new Baltimore Ravens.

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