The NFL schedule release later this month is one of the great offseason events for fans. Everyone is excited to start looking at when their team plays and making plans for games still many months away. But I always felt like the league has been missing something when it comes to the schedule format and that would be in regional rivalries becoming an annual theme. For instance, would you like to see the Ravens face the Washington Redskins once a year (instead of once every four)?
There are significant advantages to playing the Redskins once a year. The first is travel. The 30-minute ride to Landover Maryland would be an advantage to the Ravens (or the Redskins, depending on which team hosts the game that year). Playing one of their road games so close to home would effectively reduce the stressful wear and tear of traveling to seven times per season, as opposed to eight.
The other advantage would be for fans – a new rivalry. Some in the area consider the Ravens and Redskins rivals but they really are not. Playing a team once every four years is not a rivalry no matter how close the teams are geographically. But if they play every year, a nice little rivalry could develop.
Will the Ravens/Redskins rivalry ever match up to Ravens/Steelers (or Cowboys/Redskins)? No way. Even though I don’t like the Redskins personally, they could never reach the level of disdain that I have for the Steelers. I’m sure Redskins fans would say the same about the Ravens and Cowboys.
An annual Ravens vs. Redskins game would be a fun rivalry for the fans. Even though the Redskins got the regular season victory against the Ravens last season, Baltimore got the last laugh, winning the Super Bowl. In fact, the Redskins beat the Ravens in the regular season in 2000 as well – maybe losing to Washington in the regular season is the key to Baltimore Lombardi Trophies?
We have seen the advantages when the Baltimore Orioles face off against the Washington Nationals every season – it gets the area involved and everyone knows it is the talk of the week in both areas, with bragging rights on the line.
The O’s and Nats play the “Battle of the Beltways” every summer. Why shouldn’t the Ravens and Redskins do the same every autumn?