Could the Ravens Become the new “America’s Team”?

americas-team-ravens (1)

One of the steepest challenges the Baltimore Ravens face as it relates to growing their fan base is geography. The walls surrounding them are daunting.

To the north are the Philadelphia Eagles; to the south, the Washington Redskins; to the west, the Pittsburgh Steelers; and to the east this ocean they call The Atlantic.

All three of those teams and of course that aquatic playground are far more established than the 17-year-old Ravens who for all intents and purposes are a relatively young expansion franchise.

Each of those clubs boxing in the Ravens have rich traditions spanning generations, the natural byproduct of which is a rather impressive audience of displaced fans that span the country.

Making the challenges of growing a fan base even more difficult for the Ravens is their identity. Whether accurate or not the Ravens reputation is that of a physical, sometimes brutal defensive juggernaut with thug-like qualities.

And this flies in the face of the modern day teams that fans embrace, most of which feature offense, star quarterbacks and desirable fantasy players. Therein lies the sexiness in football and we all know, sex sells!

But could this be changing for the Ravens?

There is a fan base in the Washington, DC area that has a developing affinity for owner Steve Bisciotti’s prized asset. Some, weary of the Redskins’ years of losing that parallels that of the Baltimore Orioles, look towards the Ravens as their own.

Perhaps even more intriguing is the fact that there are some Redskins fans who have taken to calling the Ravens their second favorite team and even look upon the Ravens and the emerging Orioles as regional teams.

Imagine that!

Would it be possible for a Baltimore area sports fan to wrap his or her mind around the notion of viewing the Redskins as a second favorite? Or might that chip on Baltimore’s collective shoulder, that jaded inferiority complex rear its ugly head and render such a concept dead on arrival?

Clearly that’s a debatable topic in and of itself but the point is that the Ravens are finally scaling those geographic walls and luring fans that once seemed unreachable.

And to this end, there are other things working in the Ravens favor.

Of course there is the extensive coverage and the media slobbering over the newly anointed Super Bowl Champions. That comes with the territory.

Popular TV talk shows are lining up to have members of the team as guests on their programs. The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Kelly & Michael have already had Joe Flacco, John Harbaugh, Jacoby Jones and Ray Rice as guests. Is Saturday Night Live far behind?

And with each visit, not only have these team member represented well, they shown endearing, star qualities.

The end result is a team with a skyrocketing Q rating!

And then there’s the retirement of Ray Lewis.

Naturally we love Ray here in Baltimore. We get Ray. We see the wonderful qualities he possesses; his unique leadership skills; impeccable work ethic and his one-of-a-kind ability to inspire.

But outside of Baltimore, Ray is a villain. His seen as a disingenuous; a media whore and a spotlight hog looking to take credit when it isn’t his.

He is one of the most polarizing sports figures of all time.

And now he’s gone.

That hurts us all here in The Land of Pleasant Living but outside the area, the guard goes down and fans nationwide today may have a more open mind to accepting the Ravens.

The Ravens have the charming, good-looking head coach that the developing population of female football fans desire.

They have the cuddly little Pro Bowl running back who now stars in milk ads; the boy-next-door QB in Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco; the hysterical, cartoon-like character of Jacoby Jones; and the funny Defensive Player of the Year in Terrell Suggs who is willing to spar with the elitist QB Tom Brady and ESPN’s annoying jester Skip Bayless; a head coach who cares and is about the team to the core; a model front office and a classy owner.

Add it up and it’s a John Mellencamp song.

Those once daunting walls are crumbling down.

And Steve Bisciotti’s net worth is doing just the opposite.

24 Raves on “Could the Ravens Become the new “America’s Team”?

  1. Dollie on said:

    Still waiting to hear from LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers…I think he owes Joe Flacco & the Ravens an apology. He needs to man up!

  2. Richard on said:

    To answer the question posed in the title of this posting: NO! Never! Please, God, don’t let it happen!
    Don’t like band wagoners, don’t want band wagoners, won’t accept band wagoners!

    • Chris on said:

      Just because someone wants to start rooting for the Ravens doesnt make them a ” band wagon ” jumper…If that was the case , no one could ever change their mind .

  3. Joe on said:

    I don’t see it. Many people still view guys like Pollard and Suggs as villains due to their trash talking. Ray Rice is generally a “good guy”, but he also trash talks a bit on the field. Joe Flacco is seen as desperately wanting everyone to believe he’s elite, and the tackle talk at the end of the game isn’t going to do this team any favors.

  4. Jeremy on said:

    Joe, seriously? You are naive. ALL teams talk trash! ALL. Ray Lewis is the key factor in people across the country disliking the Ravens. Yes they used to be bullies, but outside of Rays past, there is nothing that paints us in a negative light any more than anyone else. Joe is desperate! i thought he simply asked questions when asked AND AND THEN BACKED UP HIS TALK. And Joes comments? Seriously? Tongue in cheek. Again. Lighten up. Gain a little perspective. Take a deep breath. Is the sun out?

  5. Josh on said:

    I think you hit on something there with Ray retiring. He was freakin’ HATED outside of Baltimore and, with him being the face of the franchise for so long, that hatred extended to the majority of the team. Now that he is leaving, perhaps we can gain some national respect. Maybe Flacco can one day make a Pro Bowl over guys like David Garrard, Vince Young and Andy Dalton. Maybe JOHN Harbs can one day get a single vote for Coach of the Year. Hopefully we can finally shed the Rodney Dangerfield label.

  6. Ravcolt on said:

    The Baltimore Colts became the first America’s Team in 1958 following the sudden death championship against the New York Giants. It was still a time when the majority of fans were still collegiate and most had no local pro teams to root for (there were only 12 in the entire league). The swashbuckling yet subdued hero John Unitas had captured a nation. A year later on a fictional TV show, Gilbert Bates was choosing up teams for a touch football game with Beaver Cleaver announcing, “I’m Johnny Unitas!” And later, Wally Cleaver told his Mom he was practicing his autograph signing by writing the name ‘Johnny Unitas’ on a football. When asked why he was not writing his own name, Wally answered, “Heck Mom, no one’s heard of me.” Perhaps when we hear the non-pundits talk about Joe Cool or Coach Harbs we will know Baltimore’s newest champion has made the grade again.

  7. Fran the Fan on said:

    I think the only areas in which the Ravens are viewed with significant disfavor are Western Pennsylvania (with good reason) and Northeast Ohio, whose natives don’t need any reason to hate and live in the past. I work in DC and my (admittedly limited) experience is that the Ravens are viewed pretty favorably with a dash of envy thrown in, and a lot of it has to do with ownership.

    They are much angrier with Peter Angelos and his efforts to keep MLB out of DC than with anything the Ravens have done.

    Finally, I don’t think we can overlook the effect Ray Lewis had on the perception of the Ravens nationally. Beloved locally and detested nationally, it can only benefit the Ravens Q factor now that he’s rode off into the sunset.

  8. Victor D on said:

    Seriously, I have wondered this for a long time. The Ravens have something for everyone: Do you like stoic, workmanlike guys? We have Flacco, Ngata, and Pitta. Like wacky and funny? Jacoby Jones and Terrell Suggs. Mean? Bernard Pollard. Smart? Ed Reed. Or maybe you just like a feel-good story? Torrey Smith and Michael Oher. They’ve just had this thug persona for so many years, people find it hard to look past.

  9. Elizabeth Guthrie on said:

    Whether anyone ever calls us “America’s Team” is not as important as getting the respect we have so rightfully earned. I love seeing so much about the Ravens on TV, etc. We played an impressive playoff series and earned the right to be the World Champions. I grew up with the old Baltimore Colts. My dad had season tickets. We went to all those games. I love all of this positive attention! Go Ravens!

  10. Gail Kiser on said:

    The Ravens belong to Baltimore, end of story. They hated us before, so what now that we are the Champs they love us. As far as Ray Lewis goes, i for one, was proud to have him as a Raven. People need to leave the past in the past. He was not a killer. People are to quick to judge.

  11. Dan on said:

    The Redskins are the nut low. They have the worst owner in pro sports. They constantly suck. They have a racist team name. F* the Redskins forever.

  12. Lloyd S. on said:

    I’d say if people elsewhere want to root for the Men in Purple, that’s just great. However, don’t overdo the hype and tryiang to appropriate “America’s Team” just is not a good idea. I loathe the Cowboys, partly because they’re from Texas and I dislike all sorts of things about Texas. It’s pretty much the opposite of Maryland, and not in a good way. But the main reason I really despise the Cowboys is because they presume to be “America’s Team.” I find that label so disrespectful to the fan bases of the other 31 teams. They’re not my team and I’m every bit as American as any effing Cowboys fan. The feelings that Baltimore and its Ravens are something special. Chasing after some mirage of nationwide love would probably only dilute that.

  13. James Heiberg on said:

    I grew up a Cowboys’ fan and absolutely hated the “America’s Team” moniker as it made them a target for every other team in the league. Opposing fans correctly viewed the nickname as arrogant which made the Cowboys probably more hated than loved around the rest of the country.

    I’m perfectly happy to see the Ravens win quietly.

  14. Jerry B on said:

    According to Internet reports, the Ravens garnered many new fans nationally who were totally turned off by the hystrionics of Jim Harbaugh and his team during the Super Bowl. Whether or not that starts a trend remains to be seen. As an aside, my cousin is a native Washingtonian who grew up revering the Redskins. However, when it became next to impossible for him to get season tickets, he became an original Raven PSL owner and treks to M & T Bank Stadium for every game!

  15. Lloyd S. on said:

    God’s Team? Really? It’s not better than “America’s Team,” it’s just that much more arrogant and presumptuous. I know there are a lot of strongly Christian men throughout the team and organization, and I agree that their faith probably helped them deal with the rigors of the season. But there is absolutely no reason to think that God favors the Ravens anymore than She favors the 31 other teams with lots of strongly Christian Men. Does that mean that teams with more atheists, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists are doomed to failure year in and year out? Is that what’s been wrong with the Browns and Jags all these years? And if God wears purple on Sundays, why in the World hasn’t He brought us the Lombardi sooner and more often. While She’s at it, maybe you could get Her to explain those Six trophies in the Squeaers’ case? Was that the Devil at work? It’s been 12 years, for crying out loud. Maybe God’s just a really fickle fan. Seriously, the Ravens attempting to promote themselves as “God’s Team” would be about the only thing that could make me a Redskins fan.

    • sylviar on said:

      how did u come 2 the conclusion that the ravens r trying 2 promote themselves as God’s team. that’s only 1 fan’s comment. pls don’t take things out of context. there r 2 many people as it is that take fan comments 4 ravens comments. we have endured enough hatred based on lies, false accusations, and misconceptions as it is. not that it matters 2 me if u hate the ravens, i’m still a fan and always will be. i just prefer that if u want 2 hate them, hate them 4 something legit, not bs. i don’t want them 2 be america’s team or anything else but the ravens. their true fans will stick behind them regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. enjoy your retirement ray. you deserve and have earned it. still hoping 2 see u in the coaching ranks when your son graduates. i’m so proud of this team i can’t wait 4 next season.

      • marvelous1 on said:

        I agree with how you are looking at Ray Lewis’s retirement I was thinking the same thing ,wouldn’t that be something If Ray was to come back to Baltimore as a defensive coordinator after his son gets drafted as a Raven after he graduates college .

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