Baltimore celebrated with its Super Bowl champion Ravens on Tuesday, with thousands of fans in purple lining the streets and packing the team's stadium for a celebration.
Fans filled the square in front of City Hall and cheered when the team arrived and when players held the silver Lombardi trophy aloft. The Mayor's Office of Emergency Management estimated that 200,000 people took part in the celebration in Charm City, including at City Hall, along the parade route and at the stadium.
Coach John Harbaugh thanked the fans for their support, and safety Ed Reed sang the melody of Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise." Retiring middle linebacker Ray Lewis, the only current player to have started with the team when it came to the city from Cleveland in 1996, told fans the team had fulfilled a promise to go to New Orleans and win.
"The city of Baltimore - I love you for ever and ever and ever and ever," Lewis told fans in front of City Hall.
Lewis had a position of honor in a military vehicle that brought up the end of the procession. He touched his hand to his heart and gave fans a double thumbs-up as he started on the parade route. Fans followed behind, surrounding the back of the vehicle.
Lewis Neal, 59, who was born and raised in Baltimore, was decked out in a purple tie and vest to purple pants and shoes. He said he went to the parade after the team won its first Super Bowl championship in 2001. This time was smaller, he said, but still special.
"My heart goes out for them," said Lewis, who said he had tears in his eyes Sunday when the team beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.
"These boys earned it," she said of the victory, cheering as members of the team passed.
Some fans along the parade route said they also planned to go to the team's M&T Bank Stadium. But the stadium, which usually seats 71,000, reached capacity around 12:30 p.m., a police spokesman said, and late-arriving fans were turned away.
"There is no place on this earth that's better than Baltimore," he told the crowd.
Flacco, the Super Bowl's most valuable player, also addressed fans.
"Baltimore, we did it. Super Bowl champs, baby," he said.
PFT: The Ravens' title after their sloppy finish to the regular season might kill the idea of having to enter the playoffs hot. If anything, the reverse is true.
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