Ravens fans living dream at Super Bowl 47

NEW ORLEANS - It was more than four hours before kickoff, and fans were already shuffling around the stadium and to their seats in preparation for Super Bowl 47. The common feeling was that Ravens and 49ers fans wanted to absorb as much of the once-in-a-lifetime event as possible.

Outside, inside, no matter where you went, you heard drums, the fizz from drinks being popped open and Seven Nation Army.

The 49ers arrived early, and so did Ravens Nation.


PHOTO GALLERY | Fans arrive at Mercedes-Benz Superdome


Thomas Benjamin and his son Jason have been Ravens fans since before the days of Joe Flacco. They aren't from Baltimore. They're from Gulfport, Mississippi, where just seeing the game on television is a real treat due to regional blackouts on game day. They're also like most Americans in that they believed they would never be able to afford to attend the Super Bowl.

All that changed when Thomas' wife won a radio contest that included Super Bowl 47 tickets, airfare, hotel and even a package to see The Grammys. The only money Thomas has spent has been on food and apparel.

"It just seems so surreal, you know. I probably would never be able to afford this, let alone to be able to experience it in my backyard.  …I'm sure there's families that spend tens of thousands of dollars for an event like this. …I feel very blessed," Thomas said.

Many fans are just like Thomas and his son. They're living what is a dream for most football fans.

For Jason, it means even more. He's an aspiring high school football player that idolizes Ray Lewis. He says he watches Ravens games over and over, watching every move Lewis makes, hoping to some day be as good as one of the best linebackers to every play the game.

"We walked out and we saw the field, and it was just crazy. I've never even seen an NFL field. I've never even seen the outside of a big dome before. I just finally hit home. It's something I never expected to happen," Jason said.

 So what are Ravens fans expecting to see as their team steps on the field for Super Bowl 47?

Outside of the obvious, fans like Thomas and Jason, fans from Glen Burnie, Dundlak, White Marsh and everywhere else in Ravens Nation want to see smashmouth football.

"That's a defense, man, when they hit the field, you can tell they are ready," Thomas said. "They are so much about smashmouth football. "

Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. EST. Follow @abc2news for updates.

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