By Ron Griffitts
On January 28, 2001, at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., the NFC champion New York Giants (12-4) coached by Jim Fassell with offensive coordinator Sean Peyton and defensive coordinator Jim Fox faced the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens (12-4) coached by Brian Billick with offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh and defensive coordinator (and later Bengals’ coach) Marvin Lewis.
After owning the team for 35 years in Cleveland as the Cleveland Browns, principal owner Art Modell moved them to Baltimore in 1996 where they were in their fifth year as the Ravens.
The Giants were led by quarterback Kerry Collins who threw for 3610 yards and 22 touchdowns, Tiki Barber who rushed for 1,006 yards, 8 TDs and caught passes for 719 yards, 1 TD for 1,724 yards from scrimmage and 9 TDs.
Ron Dayne rushed for 770 yards, 5 TDs and Armani Toomer caught passes for 1,024 yards, 7 TDs while Ike Hilliard had 787 yards, 8 TDs and field goal kicker Brad Daluiso converted on 17 of 23 field goal attempts.
On defense, Giants linebacker Jesse Armstead led the team in tackles with 102, safety Shaun Williams had 94 tackles and 3 interceptions, linebacker Michael Barroso had 93 tackles, nose tackle Keith Hamilton had 10 sacks and now TV personality but then linebacker Michael Strahan had 9.5 sacks while Emmanuel McDaniel led the team with 6 interceptions.
The Ravens were directed by quarterbacks Tony Banks (1,578 yards, 8 TD’s), Trent Dilfer (1,502 yards, 12 TDs) and led in rushing by Jamal Lewis (1364 yards, 6 TDs), 296 receiving yards for 1,660 yards from scrimmage and 6 TDs.
Priest Holmes rushed for 588 yards, 2 TDs, and the leading receivers were Shannon Sharpe (810 yards, 5 TDs) and Qodray Ismail (655 yards, 5 TDs). The field goal kicker was Matt Stover who made 35 out 39 field goal attempts.
The Raven defense was led by linebacker Ray Lewis with 137 combined tackles, defensive end Rob Burkett with 10.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, Pete Boulare (7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles), Rod Woodson (77 combined tackles, 3 fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions), Duane Starks (6 interceptions), and cornerback Chris McAlister (4 interceptions).
The first half of the Super Bowl was a defensive battle as the Ravens scored first on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Trent Dilfer to Brandan Stokely for a 7-0 first quarter lead.
Matt Stover added a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter and the score was 10-0 at the half in favor of the Ravens.
With 3:58 left in the third quarter, Duane Starks intercepted a Kerry Collins pass intended for Armani Toomer and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown and the Ravens lead 17-0 after the extra point was made.
On the kickoff after the score, Ron Dixon returned the kickoff 97 yards for a Giants touchdown and with the extra point the score was 17-7 until on the next kickoff. Jermaine Lewis answered with an 84-yard return for a touchdown for the Ravens and the score was 24-7 in favor of Baltimore.
In the course of 27 seconds from 3:58 to 3:31, three touchdowns and extra points had been scored.
The fourth quarter was all Ravens as Jamal Lewis scored on a three-yard run and Matt Stover kicked a 34-yard field goal to make the final score 34-7 in favor of the Ravens.
The Ravens defense was dominant, holding Kerry Collins to 15 of 39 for 112 yards with no touchdowns but four interceptions. Kiki Barber was held to 49 yards rushing and the Giants did not score an offensive touchdown.
Michael Strahan had six combined tackles and 1.5 sacks in Super Bowl XXXV and went on play 15 years in his Hall of Fame career.
Ray Lewis was named game MVP. The Giants returned to the Super Bowl in 2008 and the Ravens in 2013.
Several of the assistant coaches went on to become head coaches, including Sean Peyton who guided the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl title in 2009, Marvin Lewis who spent 16 years as the Bengals head coach, John Fox who also spent 16 years as an NFL head coach, winning an NFC title with Carolina and an AFC title with the Raiders. Rex Ryan coached the Jets and Bills for eight seasons.
The Ravens linebackers coach Jack Del Rio, who spent 11 years as a linebacker in the NFL, went on to be a head coach for 12 years with Jacksonville and Oakland.
Statistics for this article came from pro-football-reference.com.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.