The Ravens had just won the AFC championship and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was yelling at reporters to get out of the locker room.
"Ya'll didn't pick us!" he said, half-joking.
The Ravens never lost faith that they were a Super-Bowl caliber team – not even during a three-game losing skid in December that put them on the brink of missing the playoffs altogether.
"It was very natural for us to believe it. It was impossible to get you guys to believe it," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday, gesturing to the media.
"I think that's understandable. You've got to be on the inside of a team to get a feel for where a team is at and how they're thinking. We were improving all the way through all of those bouts of adversity that we were facing. Our team was staying together."
After a thrilling "Hey Diddle, Diddle" victory in San Diego, the Ravens would have sealed a playoff berth if they had won just one game between Week 13 against Pittsburgh, Week 14 versus Washington and Week 15 against the Broncos.
They fell in each one, including on last-minute drives against the Steelers and Washington, then in a 34-17 blowout versus Denver. Safety Ed Reed called that loss "embarrassing."
It was a turning point in the Ravens' season.
The Ravens needed to win one of two games remaining on their regular-season schedule and it wasn't an easy road against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and in Cincinnati. Baltimore responded with a resounding 33-14 win against the Giants that started their current playoff run.
"We've got great leadership, we've got great young guys who are good people and they were working hard," Harbaugh said. "They were fighting like crazy on Sunday, so I saw it as a coach. I could see that we were moving in the right direction."