Mike Preston: ESPN Films' 30 for 30 'Baltimore Bullies' encapsulated 2000 Ravens, but here's what they missed
Published in Football
Maybe no moment in ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary “Baltimore Bullies,” which aired Sunday night, captured the 2000 Super Season more than coach Brian Billick holding up the Sports Illustrated cover declaring the Tennessee Titans the best team in the NFL.
“Maybe they are, but just not today,” Billick said to his players as they yelled, screamed and celebrated a 24-23 upset win over the host Titans in Week 11. The Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl, beating the New York Giants, 34-7, in Tampa, Florida, yet that game versus the Titans, as well as a 24-10 divisional playoff win over Tennessee, were the defining moments of one of the league’s most fascinating teams.
The documentary captured the flavor of that squad. The Ravens were bullies because they beat up on opponents, holding them to an NFL record of 165 points in 16 regular-season games, including four shutouts and seven other games in which they held opponents to a touchdown or less.
On the way to the title, the Ravens backed up every word with an undeniable swagger that the film encapsulated well.
As middle linebacker Ray Lewis said, “if they don’t score, they can’t win.”
But the documentary was also about some of the characters on the roster. Watching and listening to the late Tony Siragusa again was priceless. There were times when he was direct and charming, and others when he was brutal or vulgar. The locker room was his domain.
There will never be another Shannon Sharpe. He was the voice the Ravens needed on offense. The tight end talked trash while attempting to gain a psychological advantage.
In the first “Hard Knocks,” which featured on the 2001 Ravens, Sharpe was hilarious and stole the show. Linebacker Tim Johnson impersonating him was unforgettable, but his best line was right before the Ravens played the Titans in the divisional playoffs the year before.
There was a lot of chatter between the teams and the Ravens’ pregame quotes had become bulletin board material in Tennessee. In pregame introductions, the Ravens were heavily booed.
“Whatever they said we said, we said it,” Sharpe yelled on the sidelines.
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