LOMBARDI’S WAY: BACK IN BLACK

Lombardi's Way LOMBARDI’S WAY: BACK IN BLACK

Posted in Lombardi's Way
Print this article
McNair is under center…takes the snap and fakes to Jamal Lewis. He sets up and throws downfield to Mark Clayton….TOUCHDOWN RAVENS!
 
The camera shows Clayton politely handing the ball to the official. On to the next camera which shows Steve McNair with his hands held up to his helmet inside out as he trots down the field to greet the man on the other end of his spiraling scoring strike.
 
Ever wonder where McNair got that hand gesture or what exactly it means?
 
The gesture is symbolic of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity nicknamed the Q club of which McNair is a member. He also bears a tattoo on his left arm of the Greek letter omega with a lightening bolt through it under which reads, “Omega Man.”
 
So no, he’s not imitating the flight of a raven, he’s simply acknowledging his Omega mates.
 
What has taken flight for McNair is his QB rating since Brian Billick has taken over the reigns of the offense. Save for the Cleveland game in which McNair lasted only 4 incomplete passes, he has posted a 99.9 QB rating under the guidance of Billick.
 
Meanwhile McNair and Kyle Boller have remained upright behind the Ravens offensive line. In the last five games the Ravens have been sacked only once and that on a slip by Boller against the Browns. Conversely the Ravens have sacked opponents 27 times over that same stretch. That makes for a lot of black and blue opposing quarterbacks.
 
And while we’re on the topic of color, the Ravens plan to wear their black jerseys this week against the Bills. When wearing the all black the Ravens are 2-1 and each time the game has been a nighttime nationally televised contest. The Ravens first broke out the jerseys in 2004 when they played the Cleveland Browns, a game which featured Ed Reed’s 106 yard interception return to seal the 27-13 victory for the Ravens.
 
The team broke out the black again to kick off the 2005 season on Sunday Night September 11 against the Colts, a game during which the Ravens were losing 24-0 with a 1:41 to go and the Colts with the ball on the Ravens 41. The Colts tried to kill the clock by taking a knee. Brian Billick decided to use his available timeouts in an apparent attempt to get the ball and prevent the shutout. After two successive kneel downs followed by Billick timeouts, Peyton Manning decided to throw a bomb to Marvin Harrison, an obvious attempt to show Billick that he didn’t appreciate his game management and sportsmanship. The pass fell incomplete and the Colts punted.
 
To Billick’s delight I suppose, the Ravens were able to score their only touchdown of the game with 13 seconds to go. On the ensuing kick, the Colts recovered the onsides kick and Manning took another knee to end the game.
 
Last season in a meaningless December 19 game on Monday Night Football between the 4-9 Ravens and the 3-10 Packers — a game that certainly persuaded NFL executives to adopt the flex scheduling, the Ravens wore their black jerseys and dominated Green Bay 48-3.
 
So why are the Ravens donning the black again? Apparently the players like them and maybe Kelly Gregg thinks he looks rather svelte. They do look great for night games but the change has left an unsettling feeling among the more superstitious of Ravens fans. Hey maybe Brian Billick should rest Steve McNair and let Boller run away from Aaron Schobel. Boller didn’t do so bad the last time he dressed in the all black Richard Simmons specials. Against Green Bay Boller was 19 of 27 for 253 yards and 3 TD’s without an interception leading to a QB rating of 136.8.
 
You think maybe the Packers didn’t recognize him?
 
And finally, this could be the last weekend that we see Bill Cowher on a Steelers sideline. Say what you want about “The Chin” but he is one outstanding football coach and the league will be weaker if he decides to put the headset down permanently. Personally, I’ll miss Cowher if he’s no longer with the Steelers. And while I might not like his antics and whining and facial expressions when he’s strikes the pose for the cameras, I respect him as a coach and for having his team ready to play tough football. A genuine rivalry assumes that both teams are competitive. Without “The Chin” the Steelers will drop a notch and at least for the short term, so too will the rivalry.
 
Here’s to Bill Cowher staying put in Pittsburgh.

Facebook Comments
Share This  
Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

Close

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

Get More Information