Forget the oddsmakers, the players or even the team’s owners. Perhaps no one had more riding on the Baltimore Ravens making it to this year’s Super Bowl than Laura “Daisy” Sudano and Jim Pellegrini.
Sudano, 44, and Pellegrini, 42, both Baltimore natives, have had a lot riding on the Ravens having a winning season for the past 12 years.
That was when the now-engaged couple had their first date, at a party for Super Bowl XXXV, in 2001, when the Ravens beat the New York Giants. After staying together, Sudano and Pellegrini always got the inevitable question from family and friends: When are you going to get married?
“I was the one with cold feet, and I always said, ‘Not until we win the lottery or the Ravens make it back to the Super Bowl,’” Sudano told ABCNews.com.
The lottery, Sudano said, because she and Pellegrini both come from big families and would need the money for a wedding. The Ravens, she noted, because they are diehard fans and Sudano is “very superstitious.”
The couple got engaged in 2010 and were thrown for a ringer the next year when the Ravens lost to the New England Patriots in a nail-biting playoff game.
“Our hearts sank. We looked at each other and said, ‘Well, it’s not our year,’” Sudano said.
This year, as the world now knows, proved to be the couple’s year: The Ravens will face the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.
Sudano and Pellegrini plan to be there too, thanks to the generosity of a local community besotted by its hometown football love story.
After seeing them on the local news, a car dealership surprised the couple with two tickets to Sunday’s game. Then, a local radio station invited Pellegrini and Sudano to tie the knot live on-air from their New Orleans location so their friends and family back in Baltimore could listen to their wedding from afar.
On Monday, as Sudano and her sister were attending the Ravens’ send-off rally downtown, she got a call from a local shop owner offering help with the one thing Sudano had yet to find: her perfect wedding dress in purple, the Ravens team color.
“We went and it was absolutely beautiful and fit perfectly,” Sudano said of the donated dress. “Then the shop owner called her friend at the Tuxedo House, and he gave Jim a tuxedo where the cummerbund, the bow tie and the handkerchief are the Ravens logo.”
With their car loaded full of Ravens wedding attire, Sudano and Pellegrini are departing this afternoon on the drive to New Orleans. They plan to tie the knot on Saturday, attend the game on Sunday and then stay a day or two to “unwind.”
“How many men can say their honeymoon is a Super Bowl?” Sudano said of her soon-to-be husband.
Sudano predicts a 24-17 Ravens victory but says, win or lose, the team’s winning season is a win for them all.
“The Ravens are already winners in our eyes because they’re already making it to the Super Bowl and, because of that, we’re finally getting married,” she said.