Super Bowl XXXV pitted the 12-4 AFC champion Baltimore Ravens against the 12-4 NFC champion New York Giants. The Ravens were led by head coach Brian Billick, quarterback Trent Dilfer, and linebackers Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, and Jamie Sharper, in what was a seemingly evenly matched contest. Meanwhile, the Giants went into the fray under the leadership of head coach Jim Fassel, field general Kerry Collins, running back Tiki Barber, and 1999 Heisman Trophy recipient Ron Dayne. During the 2000 regular season, the Ravens held the second best defense in allowing yards in the NFL, with the fewest points allowed (165) and the fewest rushing yards allowed (970), and were … at the time … the only team in NFL history to hold the opposition to under 1,000 yards rushing for the season. All this despite being 5-3 midway through the season. The Giants' trip to the Super Bowl was also doubtful following their 7-4 start, but a five-game winning streak secured their trip to the postseason.
Super Bowl XXXV was held on January 28, 2001 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Defense was the name of the game in the early going, as the first five possessions in the 1st quarter ended in punts. The Ravens, however, were able to get on the board first, thanks in part to Dilfer's 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley. Tacking on three more points to make it 10-0 Ravens at halftime, Baltimore exploded in the second half, scoring 24 more points while allowing only 152 yards of offense by New York (the third lowest total ever in a Super Bowl). The Ravens also had four sacks, and forced five turnovers. All but one of Giants' 16 possessions ended with punts or interceptions. New York's lone touchdown, a 97-yard kickoff return in the 3rd quarter, was answered by Baltimore on an 84-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff. With the Ravens' 34-7 win, Charm City had its first Super Bowl victory in 30 years. Lewis, who had three solo tackles, two assists, and blocked four passes was crowned the game's MVP — the first linebacker since Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V to be honored.