NEW ORLEANS - Ravens fullback Vonta Leach sat a press table and looked out to an empty audience. He took a deep breath and laughed as he soaked in the atmosphere and emotions. He wasn't the star of Super Bowl 47, and he's satisfied with that.
"I just want to do everything I can to help this team, whether it's catch a ball out the backfield, whether it's pass blocking, whether it's run blocking. You know, hey, I sacrifice my body just for everybody," Leach said after the game.
Leach had three receptions for 10 yards and one carry for a yard. His biggest contribution is difficult to measure. It was his pass protection of quarterback Joe Flacco, specifically in the first half, as Flacco carved up the 49ers defense and the team jumped out to a 21-6 lead.
As Leach peered across a microphone in his face and out at teammates like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin that were getting much more attention, he reflected on leadership. He touted leadership as the Ravens' strength. It's something he expects will be strong into next season, even with the loss of Ray Lewis.
"Not one player can replace Ray Lewis and what he means. …What he means to this team, this organization, what he means to Baltimore," Leach said.
But the team, Leach said it's abundant with leaders . It's something Ray Lewis and coach John Harbaugh also said earlier in the playoffs.
"Players step up, and players step in," Leach said. That's how we have always been, and that's how we'll continue to be."
As far as the leadership role of Flacco, a man Lewis tapped as the team's "general" after the wild card win over Indianapolis, Leach said the Super Bowl MVP has more than proved himself.
"Joe proved… all year long. …When it's crunch time, he showed people how he was a leader."
The Ravens defeated the 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl 47. Joe Flacco was the game's MVP and had 22 completions on 33 attempts for 287 yards. About 200 of those came in the first half.