Tens of thousands of Baltimore Ravens
fans donned in purple and black cheered, sang and danced during a celebration of their team's Super Bowl victory.
After a ceremony in front of City Hall that featured brief remarks from head coach John Harbaugh, the parade streamed past the Inner Harbor on the way to M&T Stadium. Players rode on a float and in flat-bed trucks and Humvees.
Police estimated more than 200,000 fans took part in the celebration throughout the parade rout and city hall.
Retiring linebacker Ray Lewis
received a position of honor at the end of the procession.
"Baltimore! There is nothing in the world, there is no place on this earth, that is better than Baltimore," Lewis said. "This city, this city, we believed in each other from Day One, from 1996 to now. We believed in each other, Baltimore. If I had to describe our team in one phrase or one paragraph, you all know what it is: ‘No weapon, no weapon, no weapon formed against us shall prosper.'
"This team was destined to go on and win the Super Bowl. I said this was my last ride, and every moment, every time ever time I stepped in this stadium, what I received was pure love. The only way on my last ride to pay Baltimore back for everything you did for me and all the support you gave to me, was to bring back the Lombardi Trophy to Baltimore one more time. I love you, Baltimore. Baltimore! Forever my city. I love you."
Quarterback Joe Flacco, who was selected as the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII, professed his devotion to the fan base as well.
"Baltimore, we did it," Flacco later said. "Super Bowl champs, baby. Hey, this is for you guys. Hey, we've been through a lot this year -- a lot of highs, a couple lows. And you guys stood there through it all. Just like you always do.
"You're a special group and we love you. Hey man, it doesn't get any better than this. We appreciate you coming out. This is awesome."
By 12:30 p.m. ET, Baltimore police said the stadium was at capacity and was no longer open to arriving fans. They further suggested for fans that hadn't arrived to stay home and watch the event on television.
Baltimore officials said the event caused massive delays on bus lines and the city's light rail system.They also said many fans broke through the barricades that restricted automobile traffic.
"I don't know how many more times we can do this, bring championships home, before Baltimore loses that chip on its shoulder," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti told the stadium crowd. "I hope that doesn't happen."
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Baltimore Ravens