Brendon Ayanbadejo became the most hated man in Boston last week after sending out tweets talking about New England’s “gimmick” offense. After he and his teammates shut down that Patriots’ offense, shutting them out in the second half on Sunday, the Ravens’ linebacker can put all of that behind him as he prepares for his second Super Bowl. Brendon Ayanbadejo joined WNST in Baltimore with Glenn Clark to discuss winning the AFC Championship, the emotions of him and his teammates, the play of Joe Flacco, going to the Super Bowl with the Ravens just like his brother did and beating the Patriots in a week where he became the villain thanks to some regrettable tweets.
On winning the AFC Championship:
“This is what we play for. This is the biggest stage in all of sports. I think back to when I started playing sports, when I was 5 years old. I won some city championships and some county championships and whatnot, but I’ve never won that big game to be crowned a world champion of anything. This is my chance to do that.”
What were your emotions like as you celebrated that win with your teammates?
“Everyone kind of knows the story. Being in this exact same game against this exact same team last year, and coming up short in a game where we easily could’ve won the game, but for whatever reason, it didn’t happen. It wasn’t supposed to happen, but before we left that locker room, we said we were going to get back to this point and we were going to have a different outcome. Just to realize all of that and to go through every single day grinding it out … and to be back here and win is pretty awesome.”
What do you think it meant to some of the guys that have been here a while but are now getting to their first Super Bowl?
“Guys were so excited and so happy. We earned it, but just being in my shoes, I still think we’ve got 60 minutes left and there’s work that’s unfinished. Everyone has a different approach. … I haven’t completely just let go. I think I’d probably just break down and cry if we win the Super Bowl.”
What do you think about Joe Flacco?
“The same thing I thought about him last year, the same thing I thought about him five years ago when I met him. When it’s time to play, he comes up and plays huge games. It’s pretty crazy the things people said about him throughout this season. It seems like they always want to point fingers, but right now we have the best quarterback in the NFL. So you just need to remember that when times aren’t going so good and things aren’t going so well. There’s so many factors in a quarterback being good that aren’t up to the quarterback — it’s about play-calling, the way people are running routes, his offensive line. There are so many variables in making a quarterback great.”
What’s it mean to you to go to the Super Bowl with the same franchise that your brother went there with?
“Oh man, it’s so special for me. My mom, her two sons have been in the Super Bowl three times. My mom’s batting .500 in the Super Bowl right now, we’re going to try to take her to 66.6 percent. … There’s great players that have never even been to a Super Bowl. To have two kids be there three times in pretty special.”
Does this win mean more to you after you sort of became the villain leading up to the game due to comments about the Patriots’ offense being a gimmick?
“Yeah it does. I was sitting at home watching the game and sent a tweet out, as everybody knows. There’s just something I didn’t like about their offense. … But I can’t tweet something where I’m not a fan, I’m actually in the business. I got ahead of myself. So that was my bad, my mistake. Then, the fans in Boston, as they always do, they’re so die-hard for their teams. … So all their fans just started flying to me. … They’re calling me the N-word and calling me a slave and all these unpatriotic things. So I just started throwing back. I wasn’t even talking to the Patriots. … It got the best of me. Why take the shine off my teammates when we’ve done so much great together and we’re going to continue to do great things?”