When San Francisco 49ers kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr. was finally tackled to seal the Baltimore Ravens 34-31 Super Bowl victory Sunday, the players streamed onto the field, celebrating and screaming for joy.
But for some of the Ravens fans in the stands, the reaction was more subdued.
“It’s weird because it was such a stressful game,” said Bill Gallagher of Middletown. “It was more like almost being relieved to win it. I’m really happy we did it. It’s great for the city; it’s great for Maryland.”
Gallagher, 50, traveled to the game in New Orleans with his wife, Cheryl, and friends, Ric and Dee Buchanan and Matt Shearer. He said he was seated in the upper deck of the SuperDome at about the 35-yard line.
He said the majority of the fans in town were Baltimore supporters, although there were 49ers fans around, too.
“There were a ton of Ravens fans in New Orleans,” Gallagher said. “You go out in the bars, restaurants and people were wearing their garb. ... It was fun.
“I’m just relieved. It was more like relief when they won — there’s so many crazy emotions involved with the Super Bowl. Until you’re actually there, you don’t know. It’s such a spectacle. It’s such an event.”
Ric Buchanan, 46, of Middletown said he and Shearer drove the 15 hours back from New Orleans on Monday. They joked that the drive would have felt about 30 hours long had the Ravens not prevailed.
“The whole experience, it was surreal,” he said. “It was almost like a dream. I’d never been to New Orleans — not only was New Orleans fun, but New Orleans was a perfect host. Everyone down there was thanking us for coming down. It was overwhelming; the hospitality was overwhelming.”
Buchanan said one of the highlights of the weekend was an organized walk of Ravens fans into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“We were in the crowd of about 5,000,” he said. “They shut down the street and we walked to the stadium. ... It’s going to take some time to decompress. The game itself, it was just crazy being there.”
And while the second-half power outage was a concern, Buchanan said there was no panic among people in the stands.
“It wasn’t really that dark,” he said. “It was darker and quieter, but no one felt like they were in the dark. It took a while for them to make an announcement, and they repeated it several times that they were working on it.”
Fellow attendee Adam Shaool, 30, of Frederick said he paid about $2,500 for his ticket on the secondary market, and was in the upper level of the stadium.
Shaool said he drove down with three friends, also noting how great New Orleans was as a host city.
He said he met several NFL players and former players wandering the area, such as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and former Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, who won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2000.
Shaool said the fans didn’t panic when the lights went out.
“We all kinda thought it was something from Beyonce and halftime,” he said.
“The Ravens fans got quiet — you could tell it was a momentum killer. 49ers fans were cooler and calmer. We could tell it wasn’t good for us. But nobody freaked out. Nobody thought it was terrorists. We just knew it was going to take a while. ... There was no hysteria.”