FLASHBACK FRIDAY: No Respect in 2006

McNair Ravens 2006

While the Ravens were on their way to their best record in franchise history during the 2006 season, they received little fanfare, little respect for a team that would ultimately finish the regular season 13-3. Here’s a look back at a column published on December 12, 2006, one that captured the feeling that the Ravens were the league’s ugly red-headed stepchild, with all due respect to ugly red-headed stepchildren.


Chances are if you are reading this you are a Ravens fan. And thanks to the genetics of a Ravens fan your DNA suggests that you suffer from an inferiority complex when it comes to the NFL. You can’t help it really — it’s just how you are built.

Turn on ESPN or NFL Network after a big Ravens win with high hopes that the Ravens will be deluged with praise from the national pundits and what do you get — a Bengals’ love fest. Listen to Chris Berman (assuming you can any more) and his weekly Swami almost always picks against the Ravens by some twisted score of 12-11 or somewhere thereabout.

From being told to build a museum to the lack of nationally televised games; from the difficulty of schedule to a Christmas Eve game on the road in Pittsburgh; from referees accusing the Ravens of having malice in their hearts to Brian Billick subtly suggesting that the league has an ax to grind with our city, you think the NFL’s league office will turn the screw on Baltimore whenever it can.

Make no mistake about it, the fix is in!

The Ravens are the Rodney Dangerfields of the NFL. We get no respect!

While the league and its talking heads fawn all over the Chargers, a team the Ravens beat no less, the Ravens are tucked away like an ugly stepchild. As the league showcases Cell Block H (aka the Cincinnati Bengals) the fans of Baltimore feel like it’s their team that is incarcerated.

And you know what? You’re right. Your feelings are justified. Baltimore does get the dry shaft. We do get ignored. We are like Flick with his tongue stuck to the pole while the others are huddled inside a toasty classroom watching highlight films that don’t include us.

There’s a reason for it — SEX SELLS and the Ravens aren’t sexy.

The Ravens are built on defense and defense while it wins championships isn’t exciting for highlight programs. Last night our quarterback made the highlight reels — for a tackle, for being a defender! Yep, Steve McNair was featured on ESPN’s Jacked Up segment.

But generally fans want to see scoring — big plays. Gamblers want to see the plays that won them cash or sealed their fate; fantasy football players line up to watch SportsCenter and NFL Replay like Roseanne Barr queues up at Jonah & The Whale’s all you can eat buffet.

That’s how it is and the Ravens aren’t quite the match for that NFL world.

All NFL fans want their team to play great defense yet offense is more exciting. We like Mary Ann for a lifetime but Ginger for a night on the town. We don’t run to the TV to look for the girl next door — we want to see Angelina Jolie or Jeri Ryan. When is the last time a lawyer looked like Jeri Ryan and if I’m mistaken and she’s the norm for female attorneys then I have to tell you, I’m ready to sue somebody for something.

Hey let’s sue the NFL for character defamation or psychological abuse.

We’re tired of the neglect here in Baltimore!

Look around you. What NFL jerseys do kids buy? Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Ladainian Tomlinson and (gulp) Ben Roethlisberger are at or near the top of jersey sales. Nobody wants us!

Face it folks — the Ravens just aren’t sexy.

Offense is sexy and sex sells.

Look at all the recent changes, modifications or closer enforcements of NFL rules. Just about every one is designed to help the offense. It’s the NFL’s version of Nip/Tuck and all the enhancements boost offensive teams.

So Baltimore if you want your team to get more attention — attention deserving of a 10-3 team, then you better hope they get sexier and sexier means more offense.

That’s just the way it is and it’s doubtful that it will ever change.

You can thank Vegas, fantasy footballers and Ginger for that.

14 Raves on “FLASHBACK FRIDAY: No Respect in 2006

  1. Greg in Boston on said:

    Good read. I remember that team/year vividly. In my opinion, that defense was the best Ravens defense second only to the 2000 Ravens, and I’d go as far as saying it was one of the best “regular season” D’s the NFL had seen in awhile. Nobody, outisde of the serious football pundits, knows or remembers that though (inferiority complex kicking in!!!, lol). Something like 13.1 points per game, and half the D went to the pro bowl. I’d love to see you guys write something on that stats from that year. Too bad McNair hit the wall just in time for the playoffs against Indy.

    • Jacob on said:

      Greg, I think Pro Football Focus recently (within the last few months) ranked several defenses and had the Ravens 2006 defense near the 2000 defense. I can’t find the link now, though….That team was great. It held Peyton Manning without a field goal in the playoffs. Steve McNair was just average too in 2006, but that team went 13-3.

      Finally getting a competant QB in 2006 always made me wonder “what if.” We all know the rumors that the Ravens almost drafted Matt Hasselbeck (Hasselbeck corroborated this) and that Matt Cavanaugh wanted Tom Brady (don’t know if that is anything more than rumor). Anyway, if the Ravens had a semi-decent QB from 2000 to 2006, I think they would have won another SB. That defense was so good for so long. The 2006 season cemented proved that.

      Great read. Have a good weekend, all.

      • Greg in Boston on said:

        Cool. I did not know about that little bit of love from Pro Football Focus! Good to hear. Yea.. it definitely makes you say “what if”. But at the same time, our defense fed off the underdog, chip on the shoulder attitude. A lot of that had everything to with not having one of those attention-grabbing things called an offense!

  2. DarthSizzle55 on said:

    I like Defense. Why is Offense considered more sexy? I love pass break ups and interceptions and fumbles. Ed Reed pick sixes Ray Lewis hits and Int’s. T-Sizzle smiting the opposing quaterback and then dancing to me defense is so much more interesting. Oh, and power running I love games with power running. Ray Rice, Pierce Jamal back in the day. High scoring games are boring most of the time. I like it when teams have to fight for a score. My last Jersey Purchase was Tucker. I also have a NFL inferiority complex.

  3. James on said:

    The only bad thing about that defense was Rolle. McAllister was a beast, while Rollewas constantly being beat.

    I remember working at Wal-Mart at this time in the automotive section and the store would clear out around 2, so we would sit in the waiting section and watch the game. Whenever a team completed a long pass someone would make the comment, “I bet Rolle was covering him”.

    • mill on said:

      I still think Rolle got a bad rep. Reed gambled an awful lot that season and he left Rolle out to dry. I dont remember Rolle struggling that bad until Reed moved to his side.

  4. Hollywoodheiz on said:

    Went to see that team totally throttle the Saints in New Orleans that season. They were riding on that Katrina emotion and were undefeated. They had already beat the Eagles and the Falcons at home and those crazy fans were calling for a three bird gumbo. They were stunned when the game was over and all they could talk about was their devastation from Katrina. They kept asking us if we toured their devastation. Finally after hearing it from about five people I came up with the line ” I’ve seen all of the devastation that I need to see right in there” as I pointed to the Super Dome.
    Damn Adam Venitari and his five field goals. We should have scored just before half in that playoff game.
    RIP Steve McNair

  5. Reading Comments on said:

    The Ravens D held Manning to ONLY FIELD GOALS. 5 of them. To our whopping two!
    I remember a play late in that game were Mcnair threw a long pass to Mark Clayton, and he had it, but let it get wrestled away from him buy the defender.
    4 Turnovers killed them.
    The D allowed 12.6 PPG in 2006.

  6. Reading Comments on said:

    Must have been watching different season. I do not remember the Ravens being disrespected. I remember them being heavily favored by seasons end. I also remember the post game show with and Sharpe, and company. All seemed somber about their loss to Indy.
    I also remember the Bills giving them a run for their money the last game of the season and thinking these guys are going to beat Indy?
    Bottom line, they laid an egg in the postseason. That’s what I remember.

      • Reading Comments on said:

        The Ravens came off an awful 2005 season, and were barely winning games early in the season before the by with the exception of the first two games against Tampa, and Oakland who would win 6 games combined by seasons end.
        There was no reason to give the Ravens some special attention until late in the season.
        And they did get a lot of recognition by seasons end. The Ravens, and Chargers were both top pics to go to the SB and win it all.
        You are a fan the flames of the fire writer and nothing more!
        Ha, I have to type in Another Jobstur to post. What a perfect quote!

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