For many reasons South Florida is one of the preferred vacation destinations in the country. Mix in your favorite football team playing at said destination and suddenly you have a great excuse to pay a visit.
Such was the case for an estimated 22,000 Baltimore residents this past weekend when fans followed the Ravens to Sun Life Stadium to watch them take on the Miami Dolphins.
Dade County area fans are used to these visits – they get it, welcome it, even appreciate it.
South Beach was decorated in purple – Fort Lauderdale overwhelmed by it. The stars simply aligned for this early fall vacation for those who call The Land of Pleasant Living home. Defending Super Bowl Champs; easy flight to and from; off peak season; and clearly the best roadie on the schedule in 2013.
It represented a perfect storm for Ravens Nation.
And the flocking didn’t escape the attention of those in the media who cover the Dolphins. Check this out from Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly:
Considering Miami [is] a destination city NFL fans usually pick the Dolphins game as an ideal road trip to attend. And that doesn’t factor in the transplant South Floridians, who usually keep their allegiances to the team they grew up cheering for, whether is the Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Cowboys, etc.
But Sunday’s game was BY FAR the best Sun-Life Stadium takeover I’ve personally witnessed in my seven seasons covering the Dolphins.
Marinate in that for a moment Ravens fans.
You root for a team that has been in the league for only 18 seasons – a team that is bordered closely by fan bases of the Eagles, Steelers and Redskins. We live in an area that has many Maryland residents who continue to cheer for teams not named the Ravens.
Many of them feel some attachment to the teams they adopted when the Colts skipped out of town in the dead of night or simply because they were born without representation in the NFL. And despite the Ravens presence and all of their organizational class, success and involvement in the community, those bonds somehow remain.
The odds were stacked against you Ravens fans, yet you represented like no other.
Add it all up and consider what Omar Kelly succinctly stated above, you should be proud and apparently you aren’t alone.
“I couldn’t believe it. How many fans did we have here? I’m so proud of the Baltimore Ravens fans. Thank you. Thank you,” John Harbaugh exclaimed after the game.
“They were amazing. They were loud the whole game. I couldn’t be more proud to be the coach of the Ravens after that experience.”
And it was quite an unforgettable experience.