BALTIMORE — Because the Ravens have fun the 20th anniversary of their Tremendous Bowl XXXV triumph on Thursday, Trent Dilfer stays dissatisfied that he grew to become the primary quarterback not given the prospect to defend his title.
On Jan. 28, 2001, Dilfer made a triumphant return to Tampa, Florida, the place he left as a struggling first-round choose for the Buccaneers and got here again to assist the Ravens to a 34-7 win over the New York Giants. Two weeks later, Dilfer was knowledgeable that Baltimore meant to signal one other beginning quarterback in free company.
“You understand, I have been by way of lots in my life and I attempt to not be bitter about something,” stated Dilfer, who’s now a highschool head coach at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. “I might say that is one I am nonetheless harboring slightly little bit of bitterness due to the why. It was so poorly evaluated on their behalf. They knew I used to be damage.”
Dilfer, 48, plans to take part within the Ravens’ digital reunion and speaks fondly of the camaraderie of that 2000 workforce. In going 11-1 because the beginning quarterback — together with 11 straight wins — he was thought of the right complement to Baltimore’s historic protection by producing few turnovers and well timed huge performs, which included a 38-yard landing move to Brandon Stokley within the Tremendous Bowl.
However Dilfer accomplished solely 47.9% of his passes within the postseason and heard the criticism that he was the worst quarterback to play in a Tremendous Bowl. He estimated that he performed at 65% to 70% as a result of he was coming off a shoulder damage from the earlier season and was coping with osteitis pubis, an irritation across the pubic bone and hip flexor muscle.
“There’s legendary tales of how dangerous I used to be in follow, they usually’re all true,” Dilfer stated. “I had a few of the worst practices within the historical past of soccer for a quarterback. If my highschool quarterback practiced like I did generally that yr, I would not play him. However I used to be damage. There was a cause for it. It wasn’t that I wasn’t attempting. I did not suck. I sucked bodily.”
Dilfer, who had joined the Ravens on a one-year, $1 million deal, was a free agent after profitable the Tremendous Bowl and hoped he may return to Baltimore more healthy than the earlier yr. As he waited within the airport together with his spouse to fly to the ESPYS, Dilfer obtained a name from offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh.
“He may barely speak. He may barely get it out of his mouth,” Dilfer stated. “You are their third alternative in free company. And I simply went, ‘What?’ I used to be shell-shocked.”
The Ravens finally signed Elvis Grbac to exchange Dilfer after Brad Johnson, their best choice, signed with Tampa Bay. Baltimore was enamored by the massive arm of Grbac, who had simply gone to the Professional Bowl after throwing for 4,000 yards for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dilfer stated neither normal supervisor Ozzie Newsome nor coach Brian Billick ever referred to as him to tell him of the workforce’s choice to not re-sign him. Newsome and Billick did not reply to messages looking for remark.
“That is one of many few issues that Brian Billick did that I did not agree with,” Corridor of Fame offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden stated. “Simply give the man an opportunity to come back again and win his job. But it surely did not occur that means.”
Ravens defensive sort out Sam Adams stated Dilfer earned the suitable to compete for an additional championship.
“I felt betrayed by them letting Trent go,” Adams stated. “I used to be damage by that. He was an excellent chief, he was a scrapper, and he was the consummate Baltimore Raven. If it wasn’t for Trent Dilfer — I do not care what we did on protection — if it wasn’t for him coming in doing what he did, we might have by no means received a Tremendous Bowl.”
Dilfer stated he approached Newsome on the 10-year reunion of the Tremendous Bowl workforce about not bringing him again.
“It did not go very far,” Dilfer stated. “It would not matter at that time, but it surely was a troublesome one. Nonetheless is hard as a result of I do assume that 2001 workforce was higher in all probability from a expertise standpoint, and I might have beloved to have been in a position to captain that ship.”
Grbac performed just one season with the Ravens, shedding to the Pittsburgh Steelers within the divisional spherical. He retired after refusing to just accept a $5 million pay lower.
“I will take a shot at Elvis as a result of it would not hassle me in any respect,” Dilfer stated. “The core worth of that workforce was toughness. And Brian did not notice that. It wasn’t their teaching. It wasn’t their expertise analysis. It wasn’t all of the issues that they assume it was. The core worth of that workforce was psychological and bodily toughness, and that is who I’m and that is the alternative of who Elvis is. They set their id again gentle years by getting it flawed.”
Dilfer stays the one quarterback to vary groups the season after profitable the Tremendous Bowl. He performed six extra seasons, bouncing from the Seattle Seahawks to the Cleveland Browns to the San Francisco 49ers, going 13-16 as a starter from 2001 to 2007 and by no means returning to the postseason.
Dilfer, who labored with ESPN as an analyst after his taking part in profession, has stored his Tremendous Bowl ring primarily in an underwear drawer over time. He nonetheless hasn’t watched the Tremendous Bowl win over the Giants from begin to end.
“It is a interval of my life that I am so grateful for and generally I really feel responsible I do not give it some thought extra, however I simply actually do not,” Dilfer stated. “I do not determine with that. I determine with husband, father, coach. Now the one factor, I am not silly, is all that allowed for what’s occurred in my life since. You may by no means undervalue sufficient how being part of greatness helps speed up your potential to do different nice issues in life.”