LETTERS 2 TL: C-O-L-T-S!

Lombardi's Way LETTERS 2 TL: C-O-L-T-S!

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TIME TO BRING YOUR HARD HATS!
 
Ravens fans be prepared. The mother of all football games is upon us and some of you wanted this game so bad you were rabid with excitement for this moment and now the time has come. It is now time to put your chips on the table and go "ALL IN". This Saturday’s game is the most important game of the season. Not only can "old school" Baltimore football fans yell and scream this Saturday with fervor, the young fans need to be just as loud to come away from this game with a victory against the Colts. All the pain of watching Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, Lydell Mitchell and Don Shula’s records stolen from us and now being sold on a DVD (by NFL.COM) as Indianapolis records can now rise to the top of the heap and we can now unleash that pain against the Colts this Saturday.
 
Might I digress, EVERYONE needs to come prepared and be the loudest you can be so we can help the NFL’s NUMBER 1 defense put the SMASHMOUTH on the Colts’ offense and shut down Peyton Place.
 
Sorry Dan Marino I cannot get over the teams history being stolen from Baltimore. Yes they took our team and they tried to take our identity but we as Ravens fans came back in 1996 and the time is now to show all the talking heads we mean business. I don’t want the horseshoe back nor do I want the blue and white (my blood is purple) but the men that played in Baltimore played with honor and dignity and deserve their rightful place in the town where they helped shape a town and a league.
 
It is time to hunt and may the Festivus begin!!!!!
 
Al Brown
 
Al,
 
It is time for every Ravens fan to stand up and ask of themselves what they ask of the Ravens — to give it all you’ve got and when you have, give a little more on Saturday!
 
BE THE BEST 12th MAN!
 
TL
 
THESE AREN’T THE SAME RAVENS
 
Tony,
 
I’m sure much will be written this week about the Colts Offense vs. the Ravens Defense, but here’s how I see it. I think we are going to bury them because I don’t think the Colts will score many points. Here’s my rationale (tell me if I’m wrong):
 
As I remember it, in both the games of 2004 and 2005 we basically held the Colts offense to a standstill in the first half. Those Colts teams were better offensively than the current version of the Colts, and Ravens defenses that were not as good as this year. We let down in the second half in both games, but that was a combination of Stover missing field goals (in one game) and the defense just giving up in the face of a Ravens offense that was incompetent (both games).
 
That’s not going to happen this time.
 
First, because it’s in Baltimore AND a playoff game. Secondly, this year’s offense is just not the same incompetent Edsel that it was then. Third, this defense has seen McNair et al. come back from deficits so they will not let down.
 
Manning will start to do his little league whining routine when his receivers can’t catch some balls, then Suggs and Pryce will start running him out of the pocket, and then he’ll start to throw some picks. That will be that.
 
What do you think?
 
Bill, Northeast, MD
 
Bill,

I picked up on Manning’s whining as well. Nothing that went wrong seemed to be Peyton’s fault. I found his "ah shucks" routine walking off the field in the face of adversity to be pretty amusing. His brother has that same Opie look about him as well.

I noticed that the Colts had a hard time gaining separation from the Chiefs defenders even when Manning had all day to throw. The Chiefs seldom put pressure on Manning and if they had half an offense or a QB that didn’t look like a deer in headlights, the Chiefs could have and should have won. If the same situation presents itself to the Ravens, they will have Manning on his back and looking up at a Baltimore sky.

I don’t see Jamal setting the world on fire. But I do see the short passing game setting up the run. If you noticed, the Colts committed a ton of resources to stopping Larry Johnson….sometimes 9 in the box. McNair will make them pay if they do that.

Manning relies on checks at the line of scrimmage. He won’t have that luxury at The Vault. It will be too loud. The Colts have lost 4 straight on the road while averaging only 18 points in those games against defenses that on average ranked 18. I expect the Colts to come out in a no huddle offense on the first series with scripted plays. A three and out there could be huge!

 
There’s a great vibe in Owings Mills and it has to do with the businesslike approach that the Ravens are taking to each game. They are a very dangerous team right now…a team on a mission lead by two significant leaders who embrace that mission completely and whole-heartedly….McNair and Lewis.

I will say that I think the Colts game will be a difficult task but if they smack this team in the mouth, the rest better watch out. Let’s hope the Chargers buy into all that hype. The Patriots could knock them off….and we could host a championship…

Bill, McNair has made all the difference in the world. He might not be prolific but he has the faith of the defense and he has become the Yin to Ray Lewis’ Yang…and that has created harmony and an all for one approach.

The world will see that this team has yet to play its best game. But it’s coming. I pity the team it comes against….

Ravens 27, Colts 16

 
TL
 
HEE-HAW!
 
TL,
 
Brian Billick makes enough money like he really needs his own show. Greedy bastards that goes for all of you DONKEYS!
 
John Bryson
 
Hey John,
 
You are an insightful guy. Have you tried out for WNST’s evening host position? What a natural you are.
 
Good luck.
 
TL
 
RAVENS TRIGONOMETRY
 
Tony,
 
Great site. Every day it’s a must stop.
 
I’ve particularly enjoyed the "Behind the Numbers" section comparing the Fassel Ravens vs. the Billick Ravens Offense. The improvement has been dramatic, but even the numbers listed on your site don’t do the Ravens offense justice. The widely held belief is that this is a great defense (and it is) with a mediocre at best offense. With two nationally televised games against the Broncos and Bengals being our worst outputs, this of course validates the points of all those not paying attention.
 
I’ve looked at the numbers from week 6 and week 17 and seen vast improvement. The column on this site bears that out. But I wondered "what if we’d had those same numbers for the first 6 weeks… where would the Ravens rank". So.. if my math is right.. here’s what I’ve found:
 
Total Offense:
  • Week 6 271.1 per game
  • Week 17 317.0 per game
  • 271.1 x 6 = 1630.2 yards in the first 6 games
  • 317 x 16 = 5072 Yards in the overall 16 games
  • 5072 – 1630.2 = 3441.8 (this is the number of yards in the last 10 weeks) for an average of 344.2 the last 10 weeks
  • A full season average of 344.2 gets the Ravens at the number 8 ranked offense.. just ahead of the Bengals.
OK.. so without doing all the math but using the same logic.. here is what the Ravens averaged over the past 10 weeks and where that average would have ranked the Ravens had held that average over the entire 16 games:
  • Points per game: 24.4 (7th)
  • Rushing Yards Per Game: 107.1 (21st)
  • Passing Yards Per Game: 247.1 (5th)
  • Time of possession is even more lopsided with 33:45 per game.
Would anyone consider the Ravens a top 5 passing team? I doubt it. But the numbers bear it out over the last 10 weeks. Only pass happy New Orleans, Indy and St. Louis averaged more… and Philly where Reid throws every down.
 
Perry Wheelock
 
Perry,
 
Your numbers certainly tell an interesting story and they certainly suggest that the Ravens are an offense that can’t be overlooked. Where the team struggles is in the red zone and their efficiency there needs to improve, particularly if the defense has a subpar game.
 
But looking at the big picture, the Ravens don’t need to be an offensive dynamo. They simply need to be efficient, protect the football, manage field position and continue to control the football. While this sounds redundantly formulaic, it’s a formula that is a winning one for The Baltimore Ravens. I expect great things.
 
Happy Festivus,
 
TL
 
RAVENS BLACK ATTACK
 
TL,
 
I for one really like the all black uniforms. I think they are classy and cool looking and should be worn more often. A little change of pace. [They] would be good road uniforms, adds a little intimidation.
 
Wow, some of those bowl games were a total surprise, who in the heck ever heard of Boise State before this year. Notre Dame hasn’t won a bowl game in 12 years and the way they played, I can understand why.
 
Hope my Buckeyes give a more entertaining show than that and I’m sure they will.
 
Go Ravens all the way!!!!
 
Kelley Brown
 
Kelley,
 
I like the black uniforms for home night games. I don’t think you will see them during road games. Most home teams wear dark colors and visitors generally wear white, unless the home team is trying to make the visitor sweat it out during the warm months of the season.
 
Intimidating? I don’t think that NFL players are intimidated by the color of the opponent’s uniform. When J.P. Losman dropped back to pass, he wasn’t thinking black, he was thinking where is Adalius Thomas?
 
The Boise State game was an instant classic. I can’t believe you didn’t know about them and their horrifically ugly blue turf field. Apparently they have to cover that field after each game because birds mistaking it for water, would crash into it.
 
I think your Buckeyes will cruise tonight. But then again, I thought Michigan would handle USC.
 
Best of luck,
 
TL
 
HE’S LEAVING HOME…BYE, BYE?
 
Tony,
 
How about a chart for your readers showing how former Ravens now playing on other teams have done this season? I believe that when players (especially defensive players) leave us and go elsewhere they typically don’t have nearly as much success as when they wore the purple and black. To me, this is a real incentive for AD and his agent to work out a fair deal with Ozzie and finish his career here.
 
Hard to believe the 2007 scouting combine starts less than 3 weeks after the Super Bowl. We will then have all the Mel Kiper wannabees leading up to the NFL draft at the end of April. Free agency starts March 2. Then it’s on to mini camps, training camps, and the start of the 2007 season. Whoever said the NFL is a 12 month a year business must have had this in mind. You have to love it!
 
Steve From Lutherville
 
Steve,
 
We do love it….NFL 365, 24×7. Great name for a website!
 
As for AD, I think that he’s at that point in his career when he has to make a big splash. This next contract will be the next big contract opportunity for him. Should all go well, his stats, notoriety and hopefully a new ring will give him plenty of leverage. And I expect him to use it.
 
If he does win that Super Bowl, he’ll have tasted the sweetness of that cup. And at 30 years of age (his birthday is Aug. 18, 1977) he will want to secure his family’s future. Who could blame him? Hopefully he’ll get what he wants here. But don’t expect the Ravens to deviate from Ozzie’s “right player, right price” mantra. And that could send AD on his way.
 
Good idea about the chart. We’ll take a look at that!
 
Cheers,
 
TL
 
RAVENS TICKET POLICIES
 
This email was sent to me by a Ravens fan looking to get a few things off his chest about the way in which the Ravens handled requests for playoff tickets from current PSL owners. This email was directed to the Ravens and I subsequently redirected to the Ravens ticket operations department. Here’s that email along with the response from the Ravens.
 
As a die-hard Ravens fan, even before they existed, I submit this e-mail that I wrote to the Ravens upon hearing that the recent lottery for post season tickets eliminated me and my corporation completely as live participants of any of those games. I sent this e-mail early on the morning on 12/22/06 and received a call later that day from a Ravens ticket vendor who kindly offered his sympathies for this injustice, and then quickly changed his solemn tone and, in a celebratory manner, proudly offered the "Gridiron Grill!" special seating package for me, my employees, and my family.

Please read this e-mail to determine if the Ravens, after benefiting from my loyalty for so many years, have given any consideration to a segment of the root level fan base while in the act of distributing (or not) their rare and ONLY tangible offering back to them.

It is rumored, however, that Ticket Masters currently is selling an abundance post-season seats at a premium (of course). Is any of this fair, and most importantly, legal? Hello, My name is Christopher and I have been a PSL owner since the team first arrived in Baltimore from Cleveland. I have paid my accounts in full and on time during that entire period. I have requested the maximum allowable post season tickets on both of these accounts every year the Ravens were eligible for post-season.

I accepted all terms and delivered all payments for those tickets, as well, and in some cases these payments exceeded my balance due for the following season’s tickets. Most importantly, I financially supported a team in 1993, which at that time did not exist, by depositing funds in an escrow account with 3,500 others in an effort to help entice an owner or even the NFL in their consideration of expanding the league into Baltimore. After a disappointing result to the expansion drive, I continued to support our governor and the stadium authority’s efforts in bringing a team to Baltimore by leaving the escrowed funds in place along with 446 others. I did these things because I strongly desired a professional team to represent Baltimore and I hoped that if we were successful, I would be given at least SOME consideration from the ticket office in the event this imaginary team became successful.

This brings me to the purpose of this e-mail and may explain why I am so confused about recent events. My two PSL accounts each received e-mails yesterday from the Baltimore Ravens ticket office indicating that "…unfortunately we are unable to fulfill your request for post-season tickets". I was struck by the realization that my select employees and family members can no longer count on attending ANY playoff games with the Baltimore Ravens at the end of this year. I find it hard to believe that the combination of the extra order forms, which offered the potential of purchasing up to 20 additional Club level (preference) down to end zone (last option) tickets for each game, yielded no extra tickets. To put this in perspective, a fair lottery would provide my two accounts 10x or 1000% greater chance of winning over an applicant that requests just 2 tickets. Since one of my accounts are located on the Club level, which are *weighted heavier during a ticket lottery (*specifically stated in Ravens ticket literature), there stands almost no chance that a fair lottery would produce zero (0) tickets for the applicant. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened!

One must wonder what rules truly govern this supposedly fair and equal process. I now must call up and question my history and support for this team as it is becoming painfully obvious that my heart is being pried away from my beloved team by a shiny money clip that is attached to the clammy hands of an unseen force. Should I choose to dry swallow and continue supporting this team throughout the playoffs, a dark cloud begins to form if the Ravens continue to win because a similar event, also touted as "equitable", will arrive in the form of a Super Bowl lottery. As a once proud fan, how am I really expected to act about all of this nonsense? I can only hope that a big mistake has happened and that it may be rectified before it is too late for me. As the Ravens locked up the playoffs I made commitments to friends, family, and employees because even if my first option was not available, I knew that a downgrade would still be a nice gift on Christmas to the people that I love. Can you please help me and make some sense of all of this? God bless you and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Adam Preller

OFFICIAL RAVENS RESPONSE…

Tony:

Thanks for passing along an example of some of the e-mails you are getting related to playoff ticket distribution. It is very consistent with many of the e-mails and calls we have received from people who were unable to purchase additional playoff tickets.

Usually this frustration typically relates to assumptions being made on inaccurate information. What everyone needs to understand is that we simply have more demand than tickets. Not matter what our process there will be people who do not get tickets, plain and simple, and in their frustration they believe we must have made some kind of mistake. They will then make some justification why they should get tickets over someone else (i.e. longevity, spending level, they are "better fans" than others, etc). And often this comes from people who already have tickets via their PSL ownership and are looking for more. All is great because it shows the passion our fans have for us.

The vast majority of our tickets are season tickets, leaving a small amount for individual game purchase. We allocate the majority of remaining tickets for the PSL owner lottery, some for our hospitality packages and very small amounts for our wait list and general public sale – just as we do for the regular season. We want to spread the opportunity for tickets around while still giving out PSL owners the best chance because they have made a strong commitment to our ability to succeed. We don’t ever want to forget that.

Confusion also seems to stem from our relationships with TicketMaster and TicketsNow. TicketMaster sells available games tickets on our behalf at face value plus contracted convenience charges. They sold our public sale tickets and do not provide any secondary ticketing services. TicketsNow is strictly a Ravens sponsor and a company that sells tickets on behalf of ticket brokers. They get no tickets from us but I think that people believe that we provide tickets to them. That is not true – they get tickets from brokers who get them from fans who have chosen to sell them.

I hope I have helped you to better understand why some fans are frustrated. It is cliché but it’s a good problem to have and I usually ask frustrated fans to enjoy the ride however they can – whether at the game or watching on TV with others. This is too much fun to let frustrations and negative emotions ruin something that we’ll all remember for years to come.

Sincerely,

Baker Koppelman
Senior Director, Ticket Sales & Operations

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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

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