John Harbaugh and the rest of the Baltimore Ravens are used to being booed loudly by fans – on the road.
Inside the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium, hearing the contingency of purple-clad fans voice their displeasures with a harmonious “booooo” is new territory for those who have been a part of the team over the past two seasons.
Fans are on edge, and justifiably so. Since Thanksgiving, their team has remained a single win away from clinching the AFC North and guaranteeing a home playoff game – and unless they win this week against the New York Giants, fans will have to wait until after Christmas to get AFC North champs gear that they’ve had their eye on for a month.
The Raven’s streaks of consistency have vanished as their winning streaks at home and in games following a loss are long gone. The franchise quarterback has regressed, even after the removal of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the person many blamed most for holding Flacco back.
During last Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, Flacco fumbled a quarterback sneak, led the Ravens to four three-and-outs and had a pass intercepted and returned for a 98-yard touchdown by Chris Harris – all in the first half.
Simply put, fans weren’t happy and they let the Ravens hear it. Flacco, Harbaugh and the rest of the team were booed off the field at halftime.
Video: Harbaugh talks about the booing
“Where I come from, that’s a pretty normal occurrence,” Harbaugh said while laughing and speaking of his former time as a coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. “That to me is painful, there’s no question about it. It stings but rightfully so.”
“We deserved it,” Harbaugh said during a time where usually tip toes around answers to questions from the media.
Even though he may be used to booing from his time in Philadelphia, Harbaugh would rather see the fan base happy because it would mean his team is also playing well.
“We’ve got to go earn those cheers,” he said. “That’s up to us.”
Given the success of the Ravens at home over the past two seasons – or the Harbaugh era for that matter – one could argue they deserved a free pass. But during a time where fans see teams excelling and making a playoff push, their team is doing anything but.
Fans voice their frustrations with boos and leaving the stadium early after paying hundreds of dollars to see their favorite team perform. The team is showing their frustrations too – especially Flacco, who laid face first on the turf for nearly 15 seconds after chasing Harris 98 yards trying to prevent his touchdown.
If there is any positive light to Flacco and Harbaugh’s frustrations though, it at least shows that they care. They’ll have another chance to “earn some cheers” this week against the New York Giants.
Caring is one thing – doing something to fix the problems is another.