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Baltimore Revels in Super Bowl Win

January 29, 2001

BALTIMORE (AP) _ A city that believed its football tradition was stolen 17 years ago discovered a new one Sunday.

Baltimore basked in a purple glow as the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 in the Super Bowl.

``The Ravens have pulled the city together and made them feel better about themselves,″ Bill Paul said at Mother’s Federal Hill Grille.

Like many, Paul, 68, wore his team pride for all to see: his purple-painted face and purple-dyed hair peeped out from under his purple cowboy hat.

Steve Sherman, a 29-year-old lawyer, said the Ravens, which have been criticized for trash-talking, fit the city’s gritty personality.

``This is a city of underdogs and rebels,″ said Sherman from the purple patio outside the bar. The Ravens, he said, were ``necessarily arrogant.″

Whoops and shouts could be heard across Baltimore as early as halftime, when the Ravens led 10-0. With less than two minutes remaining, drivers began honking their horns and crowds erupted into cheers.

For fans who remembered the night the Colts sneaked out of town in 1984, the Ravens victory all but erased the memory.

``Not all the way,″ said Gary Sweat, 49, who watched the game at the ESPNZone sports bar in Baltimore with his wife, Kathy. ``That’ll take another 20 years, but it does make it a lot better.″

Daniel Strada, 51, of Rockville, drinking drafts at the Hard Rock Cafe, said he, too, remembers the Colts.

``I’ve been following Baltimore teams since Don Shula was a winner here with the Colts,″ he said. But he added that his favorite Baltimore football memories were of the Ravens’ playoff run this season.

But as much as the game satisfied the old Colts fans, it was the one what won over the next generation.

Jamie Ruckle, 22, and her sister Laurie, 24, of Catonsville, painted their faces purple before downing longneck beers at the Downtown Sports Exchange.

``We remember our parents crying over the Colts,″ Laurie Ruckle said.

``But now it’s all about the Ravens,″ Jamie Ruckle chimed in. ``The whole city is so pumped up and so ready to go.″

In addition to the hometown crowd, the game drew fans from other cities, who wanted to watch Baltimore celebrate.

Kim Thurston, who moved to Baltimore three years ago from Indianapolis _ where the Colts now play _ said the Ravens and their fans won her over.

``The spirit out here vs. anywhere I’ve ever been is just incredible.″ she said. ``Everybody who lives around me is such a Ravens fan, you just get caught up in it.″

In the suburbs north of the city, Craig Hamilton said he gave up his big-screen TV at home to join the crowd at Bill Bateman’s Bistro in Reisterstown.

``This is the greatest thing that’s happened to this town in years,″ he said. ``It’s bringing the town together and we want to be part of it.″

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