Tuesday, March 17, 2009

When it comes to the Ravens' Ring of Honor quality should reign over quantity


Ever get tired of all the Ring of Honor discussions and what former or retired Raven should be in that Ring? I know I do but yet here I am pecking away at the keyboard drudging up the topic again.

Yesterday I happened to be listening to The Bruce Cunningham Show (thank God for Mark Zinno) on 105.7 The Fan and the topic was brought up and this time the former Ravens in question were Chris McAlister and Brian Billick.

The aforementioned Cunningham initially suggested without hesitation that both should go in the Ring while Zinno leaned towards neither candidate being worthy. Cunningham later retreated on McAlister faster than you can say Ronnie Prude. As for me, I’m with Zinno – neither belongs in the Ring!

Before you get your panties all in bunch, let’s retreat for a moment and touch on what the Ring should signify…

It should be an award of distinction for unique and exemplary accomplishments. It should represent greatness in achievement that approaches excellence. It should acknowledge uncommon feats.

Now the first thing you need to do while gauging future inductees is cast aside the notion that the measuring stick for the Ravens Ring of Honor is Earnest Byner. That’s a joke – an egregious error on the part of Art Modell who immediately cheapened the distinction for all Ring inductees after Byner. So let’s just kick his induction to the curb and call it a momentary lapse of reasoning.

The members of the Baltimore Colts in the Ravens Ring…they don’t belong there either. Great guys, great accomplishments – not Ravens. Maybe they should have designed wall plaques for the honored former Colts and hung them around Unitas Plaza. They were Colts, not Ravens and they don’t belong in the Ravens’ Ring – period, end of story!

Michael McCrary…terrific work effort, an overachiever and a Baltimore blue-collar guy and I love him on my team but was he great? Do two Pro Bowl seasons qualify you as uncommon?

I get and support Art Modell’s inclusion in the Ring. I believe he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame so of course he belongs in the Ring.

Four-time Pro Bowler Peter Boulware was a terrific player and an exemplary man off the field and in the community. But I don’t even think he deserves to be in the Ring.
Jon Ogden – no brainer. He should have been the standard upon which all future nominees would be measured.

Chris McAlister…c’mon! A great talent no doubt, but a classic underachiever and hardly a model citizen. How did McAlister distinguish himself? Will we think of him as being in the same neighborhood of excellence 20 years from now?

Brian Billick…interesting debate here but I say thumbs down as a Ring inductee. Billick did an outstanding job in 2000 by keeping his team focused on short term goals the entire season. Accomplishing those goals led to a World Championship. But what did he do before or since that is so distinguished? Does riding the coattails of an amazing defense qualify as excellence? What about wasting several years of standout defensive play with substandard offensive play?

Am I glad Billick came along?

Absolutely!

He brought attitude and resolve to a franchise that sorely needed it at the time but does that make him great?

No it doesn’t. How does a coach who is fired with four years remaining on a five year contract deserve to be in the Ring of Honor? Are honorable coaches fired?

As for future candidates, there’s Jamal Lewis. I say pass…too much drama, a relative train-wreck off the field and he’s done nothing but trash the organization since he’s been gone.

You know when you stop and think about it, there should be Arthur B. and J.O. for now and that’s it!

Ray and Stover, when their numbers are called – automatic inductees.

The same can be said for Ed Reed.

After that, time will tell.

Until then, let’s remember what the words “honor” and “distinction” really mean not just today but forever.

Will the accomplishments of the inductees stand the test of time and resonate in Baltimore’s sports eternity?

9 comments :

Anonymous said...

AGREED

Anonymous said...

Ozzie Newsome??

Jerry B said...

Amazing how much we think alike, TL! Agree on everything you said relative to the "Ring of Honor", which I'm told also requires either Pro Bowl or All Pro selection as prerequisites. That might exclude Stover who, along with Ray and J.O should be a "slam dunk"! As for the "also rans" well, they're....."also rans"! And, that includes Brian Billick, who I still maintain squandered more talent than most coaches get in a lifetime, Super Bowl notwithstanding!

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 3/17/09
I agree with TL %100! C-Mac and Jamal were both Train Wrecks off the field. I see C-Mac with the JETS or Stillers, where he will continue to DISS Baltimore, the team that took HIM to a Superbowl.
... Inclusion into the ring of honor should be "Obvious to even the most casual observer"....Art and J.O. are the standard bearers.
... Hey .. not bad after SEVERAL ST PATRICK'S DAY BEERS!

Will the Thrill said...

TL you poke Cunningham whenever you can. I agree but maybe you should lay off the Ron Burgundy throttle every now and then.

As for your thoughts on the ring, I must say that I initially disagreed but you have convinced me that Ogden and Art are the only two who belong in that ring. Of course the others can't be removed but let's hope that the team is much more selective going forward.

Anonymous said...

Billick should be inducted into the Ring, maybe 5 years from now, to ease the sting of his firing. We must always remember that he transformed the franchise from the sad sack loser mentality of the Marchibroda years to the take no prisoners, punch you in the mouth mentality that remains its signature. No, it wasn't Marvin Lewis who did that. (Marvin was an awful D-coordinator before Billick arrived and since he left for Cincy while Raven's defenses have sustained ever since.) Billick was also a fan's coach, easily accessible to all media outlets and very active in the community, even to this day.

Billick's biggest mistake, of course, was Boller, and as happens with most franchises who choose poorly with a 1st round QB, you invest a few years before finally giving up on the player, and the coach at the time usually gets fired. This should not diminish all that he has done for the franchise. He brought us our one Super Bowl, and more importantly, he as much as anyone transformed the Ravens into the community's number one sports attraction. He definitely deserves to be in the Ring!

Walt R. said...

Is Bob Irsay in Indianapolis's ring of honor (assuming they have one)? Maybe we should ask the fans in Cleveland if Art Model belongs in a "ring of honor"? As far as the rest of the inductees, you're right, only Jonathan Ogden truly belongs in, although, I don't have a problem with "Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts" being there. In fact, if Art Modell had named the stadium "Unitas Stadium" when he had the chance to do so, I would be more inclined to include him in a ring of honor. Let's not forget, he didn't move the Browns to Baltimore because of his love for crabcakes.

Coop said...

Tony,

I nominate you to be in charge of the ring. The only adjustment I would suggest: put Ray in now!

Love your site

Anonymous said...

There should only be Hall of Fame Players in the Ring of Honor. No owners, coaches, or "very good" players. However, they ruined all of that with the selection of E.Byner; so the ring was tarnished right from the beginning. It's too late now.