Matt Birk: “That’s why I decided to come back this year was because I felt like we were a Super Bowl team”January 23, 2013 – 10:30 am by Chris Fedor
This season, the Baltimore Ravens have been able to overcome a ton of adversity. Despite injuries to some key players and some emotions sweeping through the organization, Baltimore has overcome it all and thanks to finally getting over the hump against the New England Patriots, the Ravens are on to the Super Bowl. While many have speculated about the future of safety Ed Reed and while linebacker Ray Lewis is enjoying his victory lap before retirement, Matt Birk also has a decision to make about his future. Birk nearly retired at the end of last season. He had been dealing with injuries to his knees, his neck and his elbow in his first few seasons with Baltimore and he had surgery this offseason. However he came back for a 15th season in the NFL for one reason, to win a Super Bowl. Birk is now just one win away.
Matt Birk joined KFAN in Minneapolis with the Power Trip to talk about how it feels to be a part of a Super Bowl team, whether the result of the Super Bowl will affect his decision on his future, on the differences between the Harbaughs, what people may not know about Ray Lewis and on how much the reality of playing in his first Super Bowl has affected him.
How it feels to be a part of a Super Bowl team:
“We’ve beat them before. We have played New England a lot. Every year we play them. This is the third year that we have played them in the playoffs and so we know exactly what kind of game it’s going to be and so do they. Our defense was lights out. Obviously they shut them out in the second half at Foxboro which never happens, but offensively we only had one real drive in the first half and had a hard time getting any rhythm and staying on the field so at halftime we said ‘look we didn’t come here to be conservative, we’re just going to go for it.’ Coach said ‘we’re going for it in the second half, get ready.’ We came out, we were aggressive with the playcalling, put it in Joe’s hands and our quarterback was huge. He was precise, he was calm, he was everything you want your quarterback to be. We got some rhythm, scored some points and came out victorious.”
If the result of the game will affect his decision on the future:
“It won’t matter either way. Nobody is entitled to or deserves a Super Bowl and certainly if anybody does, it certainly isn’t me, but just to be on a team that has a legitimate chance every year to make run, that’s what you look for as a player. At least that is what I look for, especially at this stage of my career. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I decided to come back this year was I felt like we were a Super Bowl team. Felt like we have a Super Bowl coach and Super Bowl players and I just wanted to give it a run because the destination is your goal but really about the journey. I love playing on this team, with these guys and trying to chase the ultimate goal. That’s what it’s about. Whether we win or lose I don’t think it will affect me.”
On the differences in the Harbaughs:
“So how about this? You have Jim and John and there is a Jay Harbaugh. Jay is the son of Jim and nephew of John. You follow me? He works for the Ravens. Do you see the dilemma here? He’s working for his uncle and they’re playing his father’s team in the Super Bowl. (Host: So he’s torn?) I would say he’s not torn because I figure, he’s 22-years-old and in a few weeks I’m sure he’ll be a head coach in the NFL because why wouldn’t you hire this guy? (Laughing) With the Harbaugh pedigree, the dad was a coach and the two sons are coaching in the Super Bowl, wouldn’t you start going after any kind of next of kin? Why not? They’re getting guys from Canada now for crying out loud.”
What people may not know about Ray Lewis:
“Monday through Saturday Ray Lewis is pretty calm and pretty reserved compared to what you see on Sundays but also very focused and that’s not to say Sunday is not real because it is. He’s a pro. He’s just soft-spoken, goes about his business, he’s a great guy, obviously a great leader and he’s just one of those guys in the locker room who is just one of the guys. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you rank in the pecking order he can joke around and he can be joked with or even joked at, he’s not above all of that. He’s just one of the guys. Then on Sunday he turns it up, goes into Beast Mode a little bit and he’s a heck of a guy to play with. He’s a unique influence on this team. Probably nobody like him anywhere else.”
On how much the reality of playing in the first Super Bowl has affected him:
“I would say that I have probably had the opposite reaction. When it happened, I wasn’t really emotional, maybe just for a second and that it was kind of numbing. You work so hard for something and then you think, this is it, this is the be all and end all. You spend so much energy and focus and years trying to get to this point, get over the hump and get to the Super Bowl and then it happens and it’s almost like, I don’t know. I don’t know if it can ever meet your expectations. I don’t know if it can ever meet mine. I didn’t have any expectations but just the accomplishment itself, maybe I just can’t fully appreciate it yet. It was a great moment. I like winning because in the locker room I like sharing that moment with my teammates because those are the guys you work with, sweat with, bleed with and that’s the best part about it. But when that happened and we won, things got a little crazy. It’s a lot of everything. A lot of people in the organization, a lot of people in the media and everything, it just kind of got, it was just to much going on. Is that a terrible answer or what?”
Listen to Matt Birk on KFAN here (Audio begins 9:15 into the podcast)