FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Within the NFL, even as much as Ray Lewis, the historic Baltimore Ravens' defense is known for the play of safety Ed Reed. Across 11 seasons there's been 61 interceptions, 110 pass deflections, nine Pro Bowls and an AP defensive player of the year honor.
He's considered one of the great ball hawks of all time, a brilliant return man and the smart, savvy leader that forces game plans to be built around him. There may not be a defensive player more revered in NFL film rooms over the last decade.
And yet, until the Ravens vanquished New England on Sunday, 28-13, on the strength of a second half that featured two Tom Brady interceptions and zero Patriots points, the great Ed Reed had never made the Super Bowl.
That 2000 Ravens Super Bowl championship team, from which the franchise's tradition of vicious defensive play was born, featured Lewis but not Reed, who didn't arrive from the University of Miami until 2002.
So here was Reed, 34, on Sunday playing a position that doesn't take kindly to age, finally reaching the Promised Land.
"I have no words, man," the sure-bet Hall of Famer said.