Mike Flynn reveled in the reaction Baltimore fans had to the Ravens winning. (Courtesy of Maine Athletics)

SUPER BOWL COUNTDOWN | 42: Mike Flynn embraced Baltimore's emotions for Super Bowl XXXV

Counting down the weekdays to Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 in Houston, we look back at the 50 greatest Super Bowl competitors from the ASN family of schools as calculated one year ago. Today: 42.

When retired Baltimore Ravens guard Mike Flynn thinks about his Super Bowl experience, he doesn’t focus on the game. Or even the week leading up to the game.

No, what resonates most with Flynn is the week before the week of the game, when the city of Baltimore was drinking in its team’s success.

“The one thing that was awesome was there were two weeks before the Super Bowl … and to see how much it meant to the city, the impact that the team had was surprising to me,” said Flynn, a Maine graduate. He played offensive guard and tackle and earned All-Yankee Conference first-team honors as a senior. “Where I lived, every night when I would come home, there would be stuff in front of my door. Kids would hang stuff on the wall.”

Flynn, whom the Ravens signed as an undrafted free agent in 1997, was part of the Baltimore team that trounced the New York Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV. He started at right guard for an offensive line that allowed only three sacks, giving quarterback Trent Dilfer ample time in the pocket.

A New England native, Flynn found himself surprised at the depth of emotion he found in Baltimore when the Ravens won the AFC Championship. “It opened doors for me about what it means to fans,” he said. “There was a whole generation of dads and uncles who would have loved to see football back in Baltimore, so people would come up to me and say, ‘I wish my Dad could see this.’”

There was a gap of 13 years between the Baltimore Colts leaving for Indianapolis and the Ravens filling the void in 1996. It was only four years between the Ravens inception and the Super Bowl win in 2000.

“I thought it was fun,” Flynn said, “When you get to that level, it’s a great professional accomplishment. … It was kind of a way to give back, that’s how important it was.”

He wears his championship ring with pride. There is one other moment he cherishes just as much, he said in a story by the Bangor (Maine) Daily News in 2008. During training camp in 1998, Flynn was in his room when there was a knock on the door. “The guy came for my roommate,” said Flynn, explaining the visit was to tell the player he had been cut from the team. “I said, ‘What about me?’ and he said, ‘No, you’re OK.’”

Jill R. Dorson is a freelance writer based in San Diego.

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