Anyone who has followed this site or my blog for any amount of time knows that I love the Ravens. There are many journalists who wouldn’t admit that out of fear that it might jeopardize their journalistic integrity. I happen to believe you can be objective and a fan at the same time – and admit it.
Closet fandom doesn’t sit well with me.
Recently I took pause to reflect upon the season as both a journalist and a fan. Sometimes it’s difficult to separate the two.
Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta once said to me that I write like a coach might write. He said when “we” do well you find a weakness in the game as part of an effort to get better. A coach might prefer to break you down when things are going well so that no one rests on their laurels. Need a little shower on your parade? I’ve got it!
Conversely if the Ravens performed poorly, I’ll find the silver lining and build on in order to learn from the loss, move on and hopefully get better.
I respect Eric as a family man, friend and an NFL personnel guy so it’s only natural that I’m flattered that he cares enough to read this blog and share those opinions.
That said, I think I have failed as a coach’s writer this season and it took a rant from one of our site visitors today to make me realize that.
The Ravens are 12-4 and the second seed in the postseason dance. For the first time they swept all of their home games; swept the AFC North while winning the division and they are 6-0 against all teams still alive in the NFL. Yet for some reason my intestines are tortured practically every game I watch and expletives will fly from my mouth like saliva from an upset Bill Cowher’s.
And I’m wondering why?
Sure the Ravens could get better. John Harbaugh could help foster a better team killer instinct; Cam Cameron could utilize the skill sets of his offensive squad and work between the hash marks more efficiently; yes Joe Flacco can look clueless and listless at times and he can master the finer nuances of solid quarterback play; Jerry Rosburg’s special teams units leave much to be desired.
The list could go on.
But the bottom line is the “W” and there are 12 of them on the board for the Ravens. It doesn’t matter how they got there – they are there and 20 other teams are not. They are there and they get a week off and they get to play at home. They are there and just 2 wins removed from their second Super Bowl appearance. Only 3 other teams in the NFL can say that.
Think about that and then ask yourself given all of those positives, why is it that the Ravens have been so heavily criticized by their own fans? It’s nuts! And trust me, I’m not blaming anyone. I’ve done it too!
But I’m not doing it any more.
Look back to last season. No one and I mean NO ONE expected the Green Bay Packers to get on a roll and win the Super Bowl as a 10-6 wild card. But they did. This year, look around. Do you see any team without warts?
· Green Bay has the 32nd ranked defense and New England the 31st
· Houston and Pittsburgh are both nicked up and resemble infirmaries
· Denver is 8-8 and riding a 3 game losing streak
· Cincinnati is 0-7 against the playoff teams
· San Francisco has very little playoff experience and a challenged offense
· New Orleans has the 24th ranked defense and they were smoked earlier this season by the 2-14 St. Louis Rams
· The Lions surrendered 45 points to a backup quarterback during Week 17
· The Falcons are like the Wicked Witch to water when they play outdoors
· The New York Giants are ranked 29th against the pass in a conference that features Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees during the playoffs.
So the next time you think about bitching like I have about a team like the Ravens who millions of NFL fans across the country would love to call theirs, think about where they are and where they could be and then chill and be thankful that they are YOUR BALTIMORE RAVENS.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to give myself an overdue and well-deserved ass beating.