The Ravens are 8-0 at home this season for the first time in team history. The players and coaches have publicly stated that the great fans the team has have been the main reason for the success at home this year. However, the Ravens and their GameDay production crew have elevated the level of quality of the Ravens’ home game fan experience.
First and foremost, every Raven fan who gets to go to home games knows how exhilarating it is to be inside M&T when player introductions are done. Watching Ray Lewis perform his dance when the defense is introduced always gets the adrenaline pumping, but it also fun when other players like Ray Rice or Terrell Suggs come out.
However, where I really think the Ravens set themselves apart from other NFL stadiums is their video board content. All of this started to hit me while sitting in the stands on Thanksgiving with my brother.
The first thing that is very well done about the scoreboard content is that anytime a player reaches a team or personal milestone, the scoreboard relays that information to the fans. The camera will do a close up and the player will wave and smile (or wink in Terrell Suggs’ case) to the fans. It’s a very nice touch that lets the fans show a little appreciation for their favorite players.
Another nice little touch is, during a television timeout, when the video board displays highlights from a previous game played between the two opponents. During this year’s 49ers game, the board displayed highlights from the 44-6 whooping the Ravens gave the 49ers back in 2003. It was great to see classic highlights like Ray Lewis’ 29 yard INT return for a TD.
The best form of video board content though is when the camera does close ups of players on the field. These really make the GameDay experience more personal, making you feel as if you are personally interacting with the players.
One song I always look forward to being played is “Lose my Mind” (a classic Adam Jones walk up song). For some reason, the defense always loves to do some sort of dancing when it comes on. On this cold Thanksgiving night, Terrence Cody decided to play a little “air guitar” when the music came on. I’m not sure how much guitar is played in the song or if Cody is much of a guitar connoisseur, but it was a hilarious sight that my brother and I enjoyed.
The two best players to zoom in on during games are clearly Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis. Each has a very distinct personality that can give the crowd great energy in different ways. Suggs always knows when the camera is on him and will always do something to get the crowd energized, whether its ferociously trying to get people to stand up or as simple as giving the crowd a wink. Lewis on the other hand is most effectively displayed on the video board on 3rd down. The cameras just zoom in on his eyes, which is the scariest yet most awesome visual that comes on the screen.
That night, every Baltimore fan chanted to the tune of “7 Nation Army” as they exited the stadium and headed for their cars. I can only hope that the visuals both on the scoreboard and on the field this Sunday against the Texans will have us Baltimore fans roaring to that same tune all game long.