There's a lot of talk going around about how the Ravens want to "win one for Ray" Lewis. About how he is the "heart and soul" of the Baltimore franchise. Certainly in pregame warmups he is an enthusiastic cheerleader. Coach Harbaugh let him on the field for the final snap of his last home game, as a tribute to his skills and legacy.
I don't dismiss or knock Lewis's skills and legacy. The man was an absolute terror on defense. Tenacious, ferocious, smart, strong, and fast. A great defender. And I get the impression that he never took a down off. If he was on the field, he was going full-speed.
But let me ask you something.
Let's imagine that you are, I don't know, a software engineer. You have a big-deal project coming up -- a public application that is guaranteed a pretty wide audience. Your name will be in the credits. On the project is Doug, a well-known, respected application developer in his early 60s, who contributed heavily to a big project early in his career.
Your project manager tries to motivate you by saying: "Let's make this project kick some ass for Doug. Let's let Doug retire with a big win on his resume."
Does this motivate you? Will you write better software because it's Doug's farewell project?
Hell, no, you won't. You might think: Well it would be nice for Doug's last project to go well. But I have a career in front of me. I want this big project to go well for ME.
Ray's teammates want to win the Super Bowl because getting to the Super Bowl (and/or winning it) is worth...
... cash money ($88k for the winner, about half that for the loser)
... increased chance for sponsorships and promotions (ask John Madden)
... increased chance to make good money in free agency (ask Neil O'Donnell, who parlayed a loss in Super Bowl XXX into a 25% raise, which he, in turn, responded to with an 0-6 start with the Jets)
... increased shot at entering the Hall of Fame (ask Richard Dent, who might not have made it into the Hall without his SB XX MVP performance)
So, yes, Lewis's teammates think it would be nice if Ray got a win. But Anquan Boldin's out there trying to win it for Anquan.