Sunday was a homecoming for two Baltimore football legends. Both showed up to M&T Bank stadium wearing outfits that were in stark contrast to the ones they donned last year.
One in a suit…one in a Houston Texans uniform.
Ray Lewis returned to Baltimore to be inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor and the second he ran through the tunnel, under those red eyes and through the smoke and flames, the stadium erupted right on cue. Fans didn’t seem to mind that he was wearing dress shoes instead of cleats or that he didn’t perform his patented “Squirrel Dance.”
Ed Reed ran out of a different tunnel at M&T for the first time in his career. No smoke, no fire, and despite the overpowering “boo’s” that always welcome the visiting team you could still hear a resounding chant of “Reeeeeed” emerging from the crowd. Cheers for Reed continued throughout the game and it was clear that Baltimore still had a lot of love for their former star. I think they all know that one day, he will have is own ceremony right there on the 50 yard line in Baltimore no matter where he is playing now.
I didn’t get a chance to blog any images from the Browns game so I suppose its better late than never!
Not much of a story line with this game and the memorable moments were few and far between, but here are a few of my favorites none the less…
The smoke in the tunnel…the beer in the stands…the sweat on the field…smells like football.
Its my favorite time of year…the start of football season.
It really kicks off tonight, with the first regular season game against the Denver Broncos, but here is what the Ravens and I have been up to so far this year…enjoy
I don’t get nervous before shooting games. At least I didn’t until Sunday…
With Ray Lewis announcing his pending retirement last week, the stress of figuring out how I was going to cover his last game at M&T Bank stadium was overwhelming.
“Ray’s Last Dance” was the prominent headline throughout the week and the anticipation of Ray coming out of the tunnel and doing “the squirrel” for the last time almost outweighed the game itself.
I have shot Ray countless times coming out of the tunnel from many different perspectives…The last thing I wanted to do was to shoot an image that could be mistaken for just another game. Knowing I had many images of Ray from a forward or side perspective I immediately knew I wanted to shoot him from behind. I had done this once before, but never from INSIDE the tunnel.
The image was already burned into my brain…Ray IN the tunnel walking out to the field through the smoke. It spoke loudly to me about the finality of this event.
I shot in the tunnel and also placed a remote camera on the top of the “Ravens eyes”, an idea that I have had for the longest time, but never put into action. Glad I saved it until now.
Looking back you always think how you could have done things differently. I would have changed a few things, but the most important part is that I was able to capture the essence of this day for Ray and for the Ravens.
I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity over the last 6 years to document many moments in Ravens history and to work up close and personal with a player whose combination of faith, passion and ability will never be duplicated.
Ray may be leaving, but his legacy will always remain in Baltimore.