Friday, April 22, 2011

Some Ravens fans need to curb the drama over 2011 schedule



If you are from Baltimore and you can’t admit that your civic pride is laced with at least a smidgen of an inferiority complex, you are in denial! Just admit it! Really, it’s ok.

The late William Donald Schaefer who will go down as the greatest ambassador ever for Charm City, did his very best to squelch that complex (and God bless him for that) but look around you fellow Baltimoreans. It still exists.

Turn on the Weather Channel and every single freaking radar map known to mankind will show Philadelphia to the north and DC to the south. Not a single Baltimore weather stat or mention.

Channel jump to SportsCenter on ESPN and you need to wait out the entire 1 hour program before you see an Orioles highlight unless of course they have lost to the Yankees or Red Sox.

Big concert acts regularly skip over B’more for “thriving metropolises” like Hershey, PA. (Side bar: Thank you U2!)

Our football heritage has been summarily dismissed too!

The Colts ripped out our hearts and the NFL’s best colors and left town forever in Mayflower vans under the cover of darkness. No one is there to come to our aid like they did for the crybabies in Cleveland.

Exhaustive efforts to obtain an NFL expansion franchise were snubbed by the grotesquely obtuse Paul Tagliabue who suggested instead that Baltimore “build a museum.”

Even Gino’s, an iconic fast food joint from the Land of Pleasant Living made its comeback in King of Prussia, PA for crying out loud!

So it’s no surprise that when many Ravens’ fans look at the team’s schedule for the first time, it’s through jaded and jilted eyes. Peering in closely such supporters of the purple and black will ponder out loud, “So, let’s see how the NFL screwed us this year.”

Here are a few of the gems I’ve heard…

* “I can’t believe we have to play Sh*tsburgh right out of the gates!”

* “We suck on prime time and this year we have 5 nationally televised games.”

* “Why are we playing Arizona at home and not Seattle?”

* “My family will be all ticked off over these Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve home games!”

* “Once again, no Monday Night home game!”

* “Why did the Ravens get an unfavorable bye in Week 4 when the Steelers get a more desirable one in Week 11?”

Seriously?

Let’s lose the Cleveland-esque drama and stop whining!

I love this Ravens schedule! For those who like to take in road games the schedule affords a few nice nuggets in Nashville, Jacksonville, Seattle and San Diego. The home schedule seems balanced and the most challenging teams on the schedule (based on last season’s records) are visitors to M&T Bank Stadium.

The Steelers game helps set the tone. The Ravens are 3-0 in home openers with Joe Flacco behind center and during those games Flacco sports a 96.7 passer rating. Take away the home opener during his rookie season v. Cincinnati when they dummied down the offense and Flacco puts up a 109.6 passer rating in his own crib on opening day.

Week 2 the Ravens are on the road against the Titans, a team that has a new coaching staff and will likely not have their house in order that early in the season. In

Week 3 the Ravens head to the gateway of the west in St. Louis where they will take on a team that many believe will improve as the season progresses. In other words better to play them sooner than later.

In Week 4 the Ravens host the Jets and is there little doubt that Rex Ryan and Bart Scott will open up their pie holes and give the hometown crowd a few more reasons to lose their collective mind and become a completely disruptive force during this Sunday Night game?

The month of October includes only one travel day for the Ravens (Jacksonville) and between November 20 and December 16 the Ravens longest trip is to Cleveland.
Oh and to all of you complaining about the Thanksgiving Game at night, are you kidding me?

C’mon man!

It may be another dozen years or more before the Ravens have this kind of opportunity to host on Thanksgiving. And it isn’t as though the game will disrupt the family gathering. Seriously, how many Thanksgiving parties are still going by 8PM? This is a red letter day, one that may never be duplicated! So get out your tryptophan kryptonite and get down to M&T!

I’ll admit that in the past the Ravens have had the misfortune of some unfavorable scheduling – but this isn’t one of those times.

So to all of you conspiracy theorists and/or those who embrace the role of NFL victim, I’ll share some words of wisdom bestowed upon me once by my loving daughter:

“Build a bridge and get over it!”

Enjoy this schedule – it’s an absolute winner!

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