“State of the Ravens” is a league requirement
Around Baltimore, fans regularly over-congratulate the Ravens for “doing things right.” Maybe that’s because they compare them to the Orioles, who back out of contracts at the last second citing health concerns on an erroneous physical — so yes, by comparison the Ravens appear to be an upstanding organization.
And for the most part they are.
Last season I had a fellow fan tell me how great it was that Steve Bisciotti purchased Super Bowl rings for not only the players and coaches, but for members of the staff. “Can you believe it,” this person asked me. Uh, yeah I can. That’s actually pretty typical. In fact, it would have been a much bigger story had he forgone purchasing rings for everyone.
It was great move though having Ryan Mink, a “reporter” for BaltimoreRavens.com, write about how awesome it is having a championship ring and thanking his big boss for laying down the cash for it. That right there ladies and gentleman is brilliant PR on display and if my column here on RSR has taught you anything, it’s that the Ravens are great at making themselves look good. You’ve probably already forgotten about that old training camp experience at McDaniel, haven’t you?
Unfortunately for us all, the Ravens season has come to a close, but that doesn’t mean the pats on the back from the fan base have stopped.
On Wednesday, the organization held it’s annual “State of the Ravens” news conference, a bit earlier this year than the date they’ve grown accustomed to. Before, during and after, sports talk radio switchboards lit up like the Christmas lights of your neighbor who refuses to acknowledge that the holidays are over with eager purple fanatics singing the praises of the organization for answering the tough questions after a disappointing season. Twitter was abuzz with Ravens fans admiring the team for coming together at the end of the season and expressing their dedication to winning.
“You’d never see Angelos do this,” an uniformed Baltimoron shouted through his keyboard into a forum in a dark corner of the internet. Well, that’s because it’s not required.
According to the Pro Football Writers of America’s agreement with the league, all 32 teams are required to hold season-ending news conferences:
13. SEASON-ENDING NEWS CONFERENCE/OPEN LOCKER ROOM – Every team is required to 1) open its locker room for player interviews the day after the season ends and 2) hold a news conference during the week following the end of its season with its head coach, and/or owner, and/or club president, and/or general manager. The purpose is to respond to fan interest in the conclusion of the team’s season.
As it turns out, this great postseason tradition of ownership accountability and team transparency is nothing more than a requirement from the NFL media. The “State of the Ravens” is just one of many checks on the lengthy to do list of a pro football franchise. It really has nothing to do with serving the fans. For all we know, it could be viewed as a giant inconvenience within the Castle walls of Owings Mills.
Bisciotti and the Ravens do a number of things right and deserve recognition for doing so, but let’s keep this press conference off that list. Answering questions about Dennis Pitta’s future or Ray Rice’s disappointing season is merely an obligation, not a privilege ownership bestows upon its fans.
The top priority for any team, even one that remains in such great graces with its fan base, is winning. Thankfully, the Ravens are a year removed from a championship and have proven time and time again an ability to put quality teams on the field.
Maybe that’s where all the undeserved congratulating from the fans originates.