You would think that appearing in their second consecutive AFC Championship game would garner the Ravens a little national respect. It doesn’t appear that way.
What about three AFC Championship appearances within the past five seasons? Is that enough? Don’t even think about it.
As evidenced by CBS’s announced ratings for the Ravens’ thrilling double overtime victory against the Denver Broncos, many people around the country watched the game, but it seems they still turn a blind eye when it comes to the Ravens.
Simply put, the Ravens get no respect, and it began even before their opponent in the AFC Championship game had officially won the game. Before the clocks in Gillete Stadium reached 0:00 during the Patriots/Texans Divisional playoff, the Ravens were already spotted 9.5 points by Las Vegas sports books.
“I challenged my team this week to not listen to anything outside of our building, to buy into who we are as a team,” Ray Lewis said following Saturday’s instant classic.
One thing is for sure: the Ravens players and coaching staff could care less about what others think, as they displayed on Monday when several of them met with the media.
“It’s just whatever everyone else thinks,” said defensive end Haloti Ngata. “In here, on our team, we believe in ourselves. We’ll just have to go back out there and prove people wrong again.”
If the Ravens can prove a large chunk of the country wrong again, it’ll mean they’’ll be headed to their second Super Bowl appearance, something else Las Vegas Sportsbooks don’t believe will happen.
The Ravens find themselves currently as 15/2 odds to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans next month. Of the final four remaining teams, the Ravens have the worst odds, and their opponents on Sunday – the Patriots – have the best at 1/1.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith has overcome tremendous odds his entire life, and doesn’t get caught up in being called an underdog.
“I don’t really care about the underdog stuff,” he said. “It’s not like I am going to go out there, catch a first down and be like, ‘Oh, these guys didn’t think we were going to do it.’ It’s not about that at all. For us, we want to go out there and win. It’s a football game, and that’s what we’re about.”
Head coach John Harbaugh seems to be on the same page with his team.
“Don’t care, it’s not important,” Harbaugh said when asked about his team being viewed as heavy underdogs. “We’re not placing bets so it doesn’t really matter.”
Just as they did last week, it looks like Ravens fans will have to continue to fight the good fight for the team leading up to the game, arguing with pundits and columnists on Twitter and on the radio waves. Then on Sunday, hopefully the Ravens will once again do their part by beating a heavy favorite.