Thrill Of Victory, Poignant Goodbye

'00 To '09

December 27, 2009

Thousands of people skipped work and some even kept their kids home from school. In a chilling January rain, they lined downtown streets and sank into the mud of Memorial Plaza - all for a glimpse of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, a silver obelisk with the power to warm Baltimore's collective soul.

All of those kids and many of their parents were too young to remember the city's last Super Bowl win, 30 years earlier. With the Colts long gone, the city needed another hit of victory, craved it - a jolt of civic pride, an affirmation, a legacy.

That Super Bowl euphoria in the winter of 2001 helped dull the pain as a wrecking ball started to swing on 33rd Street. Despite impassioned last-minute pleas, lawsuits and accusations that officials would be desecrating a monument to war veterans, demolition crews did their work on Memorial Stadium. It fell slowly, brick by brick, bleacher by bleacher, forcing old Baltimore to consign the landmark to memory, along with all the home runs and touchdowns there.

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