About Fran "The Fan" Vojik

Fran "The Fan" Vojik

Fran Vojik has been a contributor to the Ravens24X7 site since 2005, first as a regular on the "Letters to T.L." page, then as the author of the Fran the Fan column. A huge Orioles and Ravens fan, he defines the term “homer.” A former season ticket holder of the Baltimore Colts, he now roots on the Ravens from his corner end zone seat in M&T Bank Stadium. His work makes him a regular traveler to various MLB and NFL cities and he’s watched both the Birds and Purple and Black in a variety of away stadiums. He brings a passionate and humorous perspective to the world of professional sports. Born in Highlandtown, and a graduate of Calvert Hall College and the University of Maryland, he lives on Furnace Creek in northern Anne Arundel County. He and his girlfriend, Sandy, have recently renovated his Man Cave, known as the “The Sports Palace," which contains many mementos from the Colts, Ravens, and Orioles. On days the Ravens play at home, Fran can usually be found tailgating at the Baltimore Fire Fighters Union Hall Local 734 , supporting the organization’s Widow’s and Orphan’s fund.

Who Were Those Masked Men?

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Christmas is two days away, but the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and the hated Pittsburgh Steelers received an early Christmas present from the Baltimore Ravens.  The Ravens, or whoever was masquerading as a football team that calls M&T Bank Stadium home, evidently decided to celebrate the holiday three days ahead of time. But given the level of play the most appropriate holiday was Halloween, not Christmas. It was the Rocky Horror Show of football games. The New England Patriots embarrassed the Baltimore Ravens right off the field with a...

It’s the Steelers Again

Rice run on Steelers
The season will continue– or effectively end – on Thanksgiving Losers of 4 of their last 5 games, the Ravens achieved a surprisingly easy victory over the New York Jets that was, in retrospect, an absolute must win against a conference rival they have dominated for the past 16 years. Why surprising? Because this 2013 season has shown fans that we have no idea what Ravens team is going to show up on any given Sunday. Just because they’re expected to win, it doesn’t mean they will (Exhibit A and...

Back to Square D

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  Ravens playoff chances once again ride on the defense An old adage (I don’t know who the author is) goes that “War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.” You could say that, to a certain extent, yesterday’s Ravens game followed that formula. It was 30 minutes of exhilaration as the Ravens took their first comfortable half time lead since the Texans’ game, followed by another 30 minutes of offensive boredom and ineptitude that allowed the Bengals to creep back into striking distance, punctuated by...

Ravens Taking On Water, But the Ship Can Be Righted

shiprighted
Here the Baltimore Ravens sit at their Week 8 bye with an underwhelming 3-4 record, two games behind the Cincinnati Bengals.  Terrell Suggs has declared a State of Emergency.  John Harbaugh opined that the team would “do whatever it takes……to find a way to get better”.  The blogosphere and the talk shows are full of finger pointing, rationalizations, and name-calling.  It’s a measure of the passion for Ravens football in this area that the teeth gnashing has reached screeching proportions. Well, winning a Super Bowl will do that to your...

Ozzie Does it Again!

Ozzie The Wizard 600
The Ravens solve a major problem on the offensive line, but problems still remain Ozzie Newsome engineered a major upgrade to the Ravens’ struggling offensive line with a rare, in-season trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars to obtain starting left tackle Eugene Monroe.  And he did it without a major impact to this season’s cap number!  The Ravens get the Jaguars best offensive lineman, a healthy four-year starter just coming into his prime for the bargain price of $500,000.  That’s six figures, not seven.  I don’t know how Ozzie pulled this...

A ‘Food Critic’ Takes a Lap Around M&T Bank Stadium

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Tour de Food A fan’s review of the new food concessions and other amenities at the upgraded M&T Bank I paid my first visit to the newly renovated M&T Bank Stadium Thursday night for the Carolina Panthers game. I was intrigued by news from the media and the Ravens web site that highlighted the stadium makeover and new food venues. Another attractor was Tony Lombardi’s informative stadium critique published on this site earlier this month. I decided to forego my normal tailgating routine, get to the stadium early and hungry,...

Some props for Harbs

Harbaugh with The Lombardi
In a recent Baltimore Sun article Columnist Mike Preston outlined 10 key issues facing the Baltimore Ravens as they open training camp.  It was a well-written photo piece, thankfully devoid of the personal animus Preston sometimes brings to his writing.  The first slide, called “The John Harbaugh Factor,” immediately caught my eye. Preston wrote that, in spite of the fine job Harbaugh has done over the past five years as head coach, it was perceived in some circles that it was Ray Lewis who really ran things in locker room. ...

Younger to be sure, certainly faster, hopefully better

rolandomcclain
The Ravens have certainly been busy since the Super Bowl, with the entrance of One Winning Drive assuming the look of a revolving door.  The organization lost several veteran players, mostly on defense, including Raven icons and sure Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.  15-year veteran center Matt Birk retired and there are holes in the linebacking, safety, and offensive line positions. Critics – both inside and outside the organization – have repeatedly said that the team had to get younger.  Here’s a list of ex-Ravens who have,...

A family feud goes public

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It was reported in the Sun over the weekend that Joe Unitas, the son of the Baltimore icon John (by his second marriage), will produce a film on his late father entitled “Unitas We Stand” and that current Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has agreed to portray Unitas playing football in the final scenes depicting the Colts’ 1958 championship game victory. On first blush, you have to be somewhat amused by the choice.  Flacco looks nothing like Unitas.  He’s a good 4-5” taller, probably 40 pounds heavier, the hair color is wrong, and...

Confessions of a Ravens Worry Wart

Me Worry
Ravens fans barely had a chance to bask in the glow of a second Super Bowl win before the team was seemingly dismantled, right before our eyes. After Joe Flacco signed his cap-friendly contract, I had visions of the Ravens extending Anquan Boldin, resigning Dannell Ellerbe, Ed Reed, and Bryant McKinnie, and cutting Vonta Leach, Brendan Ayanbadejo, Jameel McClain and Mount Cody, all the while bidding a fond farewell and best wishes to Cary Williams, Paul Kruger, Ray Lewis and Matt Birk. Only the last four transactions happened. Not only...

Now the real work begins

Ozzie The Wizard 600
The NFL offseason is underway and the Ravens brass is already three weeks behind most teams in the planning for 2013 and beyond. Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome have already said they will not revisit the mass contract extensions and restructuring of veterans that happened after Super Bowl XXXV.  Fans will remember after the 2001 season that the Owings Mills complex looked like a slaughter house, as so many veterans had to be cut to get under the salary cap that the Ravens were left with only 34 players remaining...

Flacco Leaving the Ravens is Pure Science Fiction

Flacco Super Bowl Lifted Up
A Writer’s Fantasy S.I.’s Peter King ignites an internet furor over Joe Flacco’s future with the Ravens In his Sports Illustrated.com column Monday morning, senior NFL writer Peter King ignited a fire storm of speculation concerning whether the Ravens will or will not pay, will or will not or franchise, Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.  It quickly made cannon fodder for many NFL analysts, web sites, and cable shows. After listening to the Ravens State of the Team press conference, King decided that Ozzie Newsome, while declaring the Ravens were...

Time to Add Another Trophy to Harbaugh’s Mantle?

Harbaugh with The Lombardi
Cleaning out the Closet It’s been a week since that fantastic Super Bowl win and the glow still lingers.  While we continue to wait for Jim Harbaugh to publicly congratulate his brother on winning Super Bowl 47 here are a fan’s insights on the season, the playoffs, and the Super Bowl. I think there are 3 events that enabled the Ravens fabulous run to the Super Bowl: 1)     the firing of Cam Cameron, 2)     The foot injury to Jah Reed, and 3)     The game-tying TD pass to Jacoby Jones in...

Super Bowl Media Day Meanderings

Ed Reed Media Day
In honor of Super Bowl Media Day, here are some takes on recent football stories as well as the latest Ray controversy. News Item:  Patriots coach Bill Belichick blows off the AFC Championship post-game interview with CBS’ Steve Tasker.  It goes unnoticed until the Hoodie is pointedly called out by Shannon Sharpe on the CBS post game show. A Fan’s Take:  Long version – its bull when Belicheat apologists insist that fans should expect nothing more from the notoriously taciturn Hoodie. Short version – sore loser. Second Take:  Considering that...

Football’s First Family

harbaughfamily
Jack, John, and Jim are football’s new first family How proud must Jack Harbaugh be?  To have his two sons coaching against one another in the world’s premier football event must give him and his wife Jackie an immense sense of pride. What they have accomplished is nothing short of extraordinary.  For the first time ever, two brothers will lead their teams against one another in Super Bowl XLVII on February 3rd. I’m betting it won’t be the last time, either. The Harbaugh story is very familiar to all Ravens...

Fran the Fan: Deja Nu

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We’ve been there before, but it’s not going to be a repeat of last year. After a late season slump that saw the Baltimore Ravens lose four of their last five games, fire their offensive coordinator, get blasted, at home, by another Peyton Manning-led team, reconfigure the offensive line, and get some walking warriors back on the field, the Purple & Black have finally put it all back together in a late season push that has them on the brink of Super Bowl XLVII. What can a fan say that...

One Last Dance

Last Dance
Nobody does it better Today’s game will be 150% on the emotion meter. It would have been awesome enough to see former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano return to the Purple Vault as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, fresh off a scary, but successful battle against leukemia, but even that remarkable event has been superseded by the imminent retirement of Mr. Raven, Ray Lewis.  Both will make this an unforgettable event. Regardless of how one feels about seeing the old horseshoes back in town (there are still tons of...

Here Come the Nay-Sayers

Tyrod Taylor v Bengals
The Ravens did well to rest their starters – as long as it doesn’t backfire on Sunday As Tony Lombardi so aptly noted in his game column (The Good, the Bad, and the Megan Fox), the Ravens closed out the 2012 regular season by playing their 5th preseason game of the year, closing out the 2012 regular season with a 23-17 defeat in Cincinnati. I had no problems with John Harbaugh resting the walking wounded.  When I saw the text of the Ravens inactives on my cell phone I realized Harbs...

Who Do You Want for a Ravens opponent in January?

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The outcome of 4 AFC Games this weekend can have a significant impact on the January playoff schedule. The Jekyll and Hyde Baltimore Ravens did it again.  Forecast as a 2-3 point home underdog and picked by most national analysts to lose the game, the Ravens put together 60 minutes of solid football to easily beat the New York Giants 33-14 last Sunday and send the defending Super Bowl champs to the brink of an early off season.   The victory allowed the Ravens to clinch the AFC North for the...

Consecutive losses may have been blessing in disguise

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers
It’s finally happened.  After five years of increasingly predictable and unimaginative offensive football, the Baltimore Ravens stepped up and gave their fans an early Christmas present by removing Cam Cameron from the Offensive Coordinator’s position.  Now maybe the angry phone calls to Baltimore sports talk shows and irate columns by internet bloggers (like mine) will ease up.  I’m officially declaring an armistice. The blogosphere is full of comments over what happened and why.  There are indications that an argument ensued on the sidelines between Cameron and John Harbaugh that continued...
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