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The End of an Era here.

Photo: “I’m proud to say that the last game was a Super Bowl in Baltimore. That will never be taken back. I’ll always be in that community and always forever grateful to the fans, to my city, to my neighborhood, to my neighbors.” - Ed Reed  www.bmob.us/5bw

So many memories of #20 changing the course of games by simply making a single play.  So many comparisons to the greatest to ever play the game and to have him don the purple & black as well.  Also, even from his rookie season where I knew I would need to get his jersey someday (ended up getting this in 06).

Now, we wish him well on his new team.  Thank you, Ed Reed, for the memories…

Can you believe it’s only March?  Feels like months have passed between our Super Bowl victory and seeing a lot of our former players leaving.

There is still another month to go before the annual NFL draft, where we will find our new future star players.  I still would like us to pick Manti T’eo, but the LSU middle linebacker Kevin Minter has been tied to our selection a lot and sounds the most sturdy.

For safeties, there are a lot of avenues to travel.  There are a number of safeties that will be available close to our pick and beyond.  (Don’t you forget now that Ed Reed was also a late 1st round pick)  Also, the Ravens plan to meet with former Raiders safety & former 1st round pick Michael Huff.  He still has a lot of potential and talent, but he may just need a new team/new system to utilize his skills.

Photo: It's official! Elvis Dumervil has passed a physical & signed his contract. He is officially a Raven!</p><br /><br />
<p>Watch the LIVE press conference with Dumervil at 2pm ET today on www.BaltimoreRavens.com & stay tuned to www.bmob.us/livechat afterward for a LIVE FAN CHAT with Elvis!

Also, Elvis Dumervil is another big-time player that the Ravens have been interested in.  So far this offseason, the Ravens have been shoring up the defensive line and, as they are mostly targeting defensive ends, they can turn at least one player into an outside linebacker.  This would ease the transition from losing Kruger, as well as Jarret Johnson’s presence the season before.

[EDIT: The Ravens have signed Elvis Dumervil to a 5-year contract.  Oddly, this is the 2nd time the Ravens have signed a player named “Elvis” following a Super Bowl victory.]

Now let’s move on to a more upsetting subject: the NCAA tournament.

And I’m not referring to the Terps missing out on the big dance, (although they’re doing well in the NIT) but I’m referring to the nearly impossible task of picking all of the tournament games correctly.

Almost every bracket filled out in the country was removed of any perfect semblance when 14 seed Harvard stunned 3 seed New Mexico!

Games like that one make the tournament brackets that much more interesting.  In the back of your mind, you may be thinking, “Of all teams to be upset, how did anyone get this right?!”

Yes, when you fill out brackets, you always have to account for at least a couple upsets.  Very rarely do all #1 seeds make it to the Final Four, so you can’t base a bracket solely on the higher seed winning.  Also, just because a 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed, does not mean it’s impossible.  That is why this tournament is so much fun.

You can never know who will win yet you’re offered fantastic rewards if you can guess it all right!  That’s the 2nd part of this tournament that makes it so widely participated: you have as much chance guessing the winners as someone who makes picks with a lot of thought put into the decisions.  Your little daughter or son can probably pick a better bracket than you can, because s/he doesn’t think about the teams’ histories, regular season record, injured players, or insignificant intangibles.

(I know in 2002 I had never watched any college basketball games up to the tournament.  My father hands me a bracket asking me to fill it out.  I end up picking Maryland the whole way, which my father didn’t think was possible.)

Although, to my credit, I did fill out 3 brackets in the hopes of winning in Fox Sports’ bracket challenge, where a million dollar prize will be awarded to a perfect bracket.  Of course, I fell short.  My first bracket is the one with the most points, and I know I can’t do much else with it as I picked Georgetown to win the tournament.

(FYI, in my 2nd bracket I have Indiana winning the NCAA tournament, and I’m sticking by that.)

And with that, I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the NCAA tournament as it remains the 2nd most exciting playoff series in American sports and is widely unpredictable.