This year it's tough to be a football "homer" in Baltimore...or is it?
The Baltimore Ravens have overcome enormous adversity these past 12 months with the hiring of rookie's head coach, quarterback, and running back, along with a new, albeit very experienced, offensive coordinator.
To top it off, here they are headed into week 13 with 16 players assigned to the IR (Injured Reserve) list. And yet, with a 7-4 record the national sports media, for the most part, seems to go out of their way to disrespect or to not acknowledge a fan's beloved Ravens. But then again, maybe that's a good thing?
Rookie Head Coach John Harbaugh has a feisty mix of veteran and young players this year and seems to have them bought into his tough, hard-nosed and disciplined football system.
In recent years, this very talented squad of players could not get done what was needed in order to be considered an elite NFL football team.
Their national attention on Sunday/Monday nights were filled with undisciplined behavior that resulted in not only losses to their opponents, but being labeled as the " lackluster-ed bad boys" of the AFC North...and by "bad", I don't mean good!
In 2008 however, it seems as though the new coaching staff has the team pointed in the right direction. In fact, the Baltimore Ravens' performance thus far has taken everyone in Baltimore by surprise...at least, everyone outside of the Ravens organization.
So, why is it that no one in the national sports media seems to acknowledge the Ravens success...especially under such adverse conditions?
As a Ravens fan, didn't you just hate it when...
- ...on 9/29, Monday Night Football, Ravens @ Steelers, Hall of Famer QB Steve Young and current ESPN analyst "hammered" the Ravens on national TV during the post game analysis?...and said the Ravens offense is "criminal because it is robbing the defense"...and "It was painful to watch the Ravens again not able to close the deal.''
- ...it seems as though it's everyone's opinion (outside of Baltimore) that the Ravens cannot compete with the elite teams of the NFL, while once again refusing to acknowledge that the Ravens nearly had and should have (if not for a couple of questionable game/momentum changing penalties) taken down two of them early in the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans.
- ...in week twelve, the Baltimore Ravens demoralized the Philadelphia Eagles with a 36-7 victory, even causing their franchise QB to be benched after the first half, and yet all the sports media seems to talk about is the "dismal" play of the Eagles versus how well the Ravens played? After a 48-20 Eagles pounding of the Cardinals in week 13 (Thanksgiving), maybe some will feel the Ravens just plain "out-played" the Eagles in week 12?
But I digress...maybe it is a good thing for the Ravens to (once again) "fly under the radar"???
In 2006 with a 9-2 record headed into week 13, and a 13-3 record headed into the post season, the Ravens flew under nobody's radar, but only to blunder to the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs.
With the 2001 & 2003 seasons, two of the four times that the Ravens have made it to the post season in franchise history, no one will argue (or maybe they will?) that the Ravens did not fly under the radar due to the momentum of their Superbowl run earlier in the decade.
So, when was the last time the Ravens made it to the post season while flying under the radar? That's right...you got it...it was in 2000, when they held up the Lombardi Trophy at Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.) after a 34-7 victory over the NY Giants to become Super Bowl XXXV champs.
Of course, this is no prediction that the 2008 Baltimore Ravens win (or even make it to) Super Bowl XLIII, but maybe it'll help to curb the ill feelings of "no respect" that seems to be occurring with Raven fans as a result from the lack of attention in the national sports media?
Oh by the way, did I mention?...Super Bowl XLIII is being played in Tampa this year and barring any mishaps or calamities, the NY Giants are the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl?
...then again, maybe it's not so tough to be Baltimore Raven "Homer" this year?