For some time I’ve been wondering: Are fans in Baltimore happy with their team? After all, they call themselves fans and they call the Ravens their team, so of course they are happy, aren’t they?
I’m not so sure. When I go to games I like to sit in the upper deck behind the end zone, which is where I believe I get the best view of the field. As a result I encounter some questionable behavior. It’s not the cursing that bothers me so much, rather the lightning-fast criticism of a player or team of whose jersey you’re wearing that confuses me more than anything.
Before I go any further let me state that fans have the right to criticize players, coaches, and management. That’s part of being a fan. There are times when they might want to give up because they’re so frustrated, but they keep coming back. Part of that is probably caused by a deep love for the team, and part of it is probably because that person has bet money on the game.
When a professional sport as exciting as football is only affords a city eight regular season games to go to, the energy is understandably condensed, and at a high level. When energy is that high, we all react in different ways. I just don’t get why people invest so much time, money, and emotion into viewing the NFL while simultaneously allowing themselves to be susceptible to heartbreak. It’s like they know the risks of being so involved, but they get involved anyway.
Again, I get the passion. I used to let the result of Ravens games determine my week. If they won, I’d be happy and treat people well. If they lost, I’d be down in the dumps and unapproachable. After awhile I realized that’s no way to live.
It’s inevitable that the Ravens front office, Joe Flacco, John Harbaugh, Lardarius Webb, etc. will make mistakes this year. Is that cause for criticism? Sure.
At the same time, do you think they mess up on purpose? Don’t you think they’re doing everything they can to be the best they can? Don’t you think that before we see the interception, Flacco knows it was a bad throw and has already begun to reprimand himself? When Justin Tucker hits the ball wrong on a field goal attempt, don’t you think he knows it right away?
I’m not trying to give players and coaches a free pass. They don’t deserve one. At the same time, haven’t they earned your trust and respect by now? Have the Ravens not spoiled you enough?
For example, what more does Flacco have to do to earn your respect? Throw for 4,000 yards? Organize late-March workouts with his receivers? Give me a break. You know which two quarterbacks have done things like that before? Matt Schaub and Mark Sanchez. You know what their combined career record is? 84-76 (playoffs included), or a 52.5 winning percentage.
Flacco’s career record stands at 71-38 (65.1 winning percentage). If he hasn’t earned your respect by now, he never will.
That brings me back to my original question: Are you happy with the Ravens? Do you approve of the players they have on their roster, pursuant to how they’ve sought out free agents or to how they’ve managed the salary cap? Have they done enough since the 2013 season ended, or do you think they could’ve done better since then? I don’t know what the right answer is. I don’t know if there is a right answer.
My opinion is that the Ravens are an elite franchise with a top-tier quarterback and head coach on his way to the Hall of Fame. I think they made a mistake letting Corey Graham and Arthur Jones go, as I believe those were “glue guys” to the defense. I can’t for the life of me figure out why people rag on Ray Lewis for going out on his own terms, and the only time I still have trouble letting a Baltimore loss go is when it’s to the team from Western Pennsylvania.
How do you feel about the Ravens?