Tri-State Ravens fans join thousands in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII
Mark Crilly, left, and his brother-in-law Donnie Stotelmyer are headed for New Orleans to watch the Baltimorre Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. (By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer / February 2, 2013)
Crilly was selected in the Ravens lottery for the right to buy Super Bowl tickets — at a face value of $850 each.
“Our families encouraged us” to go, said Stotelmyer, who along with Crilly graduated from South Hagerstown High School in 1975 and is a member of Ravens Roost No. 7.
The AFC champion Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers, champions of the NFC, Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
Crilly, 56, of Halfway, almost missed the lottery because his son, Jordan, almost deleted the email notification.
“He told me he almost deleted it because he thought it was spam. And I said I wouldn’t have been real happy,” Crilly said.
Maybe that bit of luck will turn around Crilly’s and Stotelmyer’s road game streak.
The Ravens are 0-3 when the season-ticket holders attend road games. The Ravens are not only playing in New Orleans, but they are considered the visiting team.
“Friends tell me that I’m a black cat,” Stotelmyer said. “They’ll pay me to stay here.”
But the pair, and some other local fans traveling to New Orleans for the Super Bowl, are confident in the Ravens’ chances.
“We’re bringing the Lombardi trophy home to Maryland,” said Stotelmyer, 56, of Halfway.
“Even if they lose, we’ll have the time of a lifetime,” Crilly said.
Tickets bought online
Steven Keasey, who also has tickets to the game, thinks the Ravens’ chances are pretty good if they don’t turn over the football.
“I honestly think they’re the better team,” said Keasey, of Hagerstown.
When Keasey didn’t get selected in the season-ticket holder lottery, he and his wife, Kim, bought tickets through PrimeSport.com. He didn’t want to say how much the package cost, but it was “thousands of dollars” for seats at the 35-yard line at the terrace level.
“The only thing I hear is, ‘Be prepared to wait in line,’ for probably everything we’re going to do,” Keasey said. “We’re so excited.”
Keasey went to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor last week for the Ravens’ sendoff rally.
“The whole team showed up and got on the stage. There were thousands of people there,” he said.
“We were screaming and yelling. I’m 60 years old and I’m out there acting like a kid,” said Keasey, who attended the rally with other members of the Hub City Ravens Roost.
One of the ‘maniacs’
Like Stotelmyer, Crilly and Keasey, Dawn Hammond has never been to a Super Bowl.
She said she didn’t become a true football fan until about four or five years ago, and started going to Ravens home games.
“Early on, I was a Joe Montana fan, way back in the day,” Hammond said of the former 49ers quarterback who won four Super Bowls and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hammond said while working in Columbia, Md., near Baltimore, she has become more of a football fan and a Ravens fan. She said it’s fun to go to Baltimore on a Sunday and join the “other maniacs down there supporting your team.”
Hammond said she went to eight regular-season Ravens games this season — seven in Baltimore and a road game at FedEx Field, where the Ravens played the Washington Redskins.
While she doesn’t have season tickets, Hammond said she’s able to get tickets through friends and co-workers.
She went to her first playoff game Jan. 6 when the Ravens hosted the Indianapolis Colts, which was linebacker Ray Lewis’ last home game. Lewis announced he is retiring after the season.
Hammond missed the next playoff game, in Denver, but was in Foxboro, Mass., on Jan. 20 to see the Ravens beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
She’s attending the Super Bowl with a friend, Laura Cole of Waynesboro, Pa., who is a Redskins fan, but who will be rooting for the Ravens, Hammond said.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Hammond said.
“The only regret I have is I wish there would be a better halftime performance than Beyonce. ... Why can’t they have somebody cool like Aerosmith again?” she asked.
Hoping to get tickets
Eric Aikens and his wife, Carol, were in New Orleans on Thursday with friends Gary Nisewarner and Bonnie Sanbower hoping to get Super Bowl tickets. The foursome is from Martinsburg, W.Va.
“We’re going to go tailgate for now, but we probably will get tickets,” said Eric Aikens, 43.
“I’ve been a diehard fan for about four years now. My wife kind of helped me be a Ravens fan,” Aikens said. “She was a fan from the beginning of the Ravens.”
Aikens and his wife attended the Ravens-Colts playoff game.
“It was great, man. That was the best game of my life,” Aikens said, noting the significance of it being Lewis’ last home game.
Aikens said he knows Super Bowl tickets will be expensive.
“If we can get in the door, we will. If not, we’ll just go to Bourbon Street and watch on TV,” he said.
There will be plenty of Super Bowl-related activities, including the NFL Experience — an interactive theme park offering games, entertainment and autograph sessions — and a CMT Crossroads concert featuring Rascal Flatts and Journey.
Aikens said they had tickets for the CMT concert.
More than just football
Crilly and Stotelmyer have several activities planned for their trip.
“We want to do all the Super Bowl stuff, but we want to see New Orleans, too,” Crilly said.
That includes eating oysters and Cajun cuisine, visiting Bourbon Street in the city’s French Quarter, taking a Mississippi River boat cruise, touring a cemetery and taking a swamp tour by airboat.
“We may never have another opportunity to do it again together,” Stotelmyer said.
But the main event is the game.
“We bleed purple,” Stotelmyer said.
Last week, the pair was dressed in Ravens jerseys and Mardi Gras beads, and Crilly was wearing a pair of purple camouflage pants.
Crilly said he can’t imagine what it will be like when the final seconds tick off the game clock.
“I’ll probably have tears in my eyes,” he said.