MEDIA WATCH DOG: Ravens Receive Unearned Praise

Bisciotti Harbaugh Press Conf
Image courtesy of The Washington Post

“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.

Au contraire.

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.

12 Raves on “MEDIA WATCH DOG: Ravens Receive Unearned Praise

  1. Tim on said:

    It seems worth noting that the inclusion of ALL the key decision makers when they could have only included one is somewhat above-and-beyond. Plus the participants, while careful with their words, do tend to be more forthcoming with answers during this event than they would in other press conferences or interviews when coach-speak and non-answers are the norm.

    Based on the description you listed, it seems they could have said last weeks’ PC with Harbs would have technically met this requirement, but it’s still worth noting that the team annually goes beyond the minimum.

  2. Phil on said:

    I completely miss the open training camp. I am still pissed as heck about them moving it. I sort of understand why they did it, but as a fan it was a smack upside the head.

  3. Ruth Rice on said:

    While it is a requirement they could be like Belicheck and not actually answer any questions. Considering the respect our organization has around the league by other coaches and players, I think they are still worthy of our praise.

  4. Tracy on said:

    As a forever Ravens fan, I suppport my team through good and bad…if we “over congratulate” our team that shows how proud and dedicated we are not just when they have a great season. You are a writer? Really? Well CONGRATS! You actually did your job, writing. Forever RavensNation!!

  5. pgavin on said:

    It is funny that so many in town were slobbering all over the Ravens for doing what is expected by the league. WNST likened it to the RAVENS being held accountable. I listened to the Propaganda fest, it is quite telling. But what it tells is this, the Ravens CONTROL THE MESSAGE and the local media lap it up. The “analysis” of what was said was basically IN the Ravens favor. These PRESSERS are NOT ground breaking and no(little) news is broken. Just remember Hitler had adoring crowds and big applause at his speeches, he gave the audience what they wanted to hear.

    There is proof that the local media is NOT accountable(and therefore playing into the Ravens plan to control the message). Last years “mutiny” was NOT covered/broke by ANYONE in the local press corps……… and they are there everyday. So either they are all LAZY or INCOMPETENT or were told NOT TO COVER IT. So they either are lousy reporters or complicit.

    It also gives everyone a chance to take a poke at Angelos, especially the hypocrites at WNST. It is station policy to slam them at every opportunity even when the Ravens hold a propaganda meeting. They need players to attend their money making but inane player shows. I don’t understand half of what these “college men” talk about. I guess that is what passes for broadcasting today.

  6. JimZipCode on said:

    The rule states “or”. The Ravens could meet the letter of the rule by just trotting out Harbaugh, alone. The Brownies had their big press conference, and the GM didn’t show.
    This praise is not “unearned”. The Ravens do it right.

  7. John P. on said:

    Decent article. Sometimes, the reasons they do things get lost in the PR, and I found this check enlightening.

    But can’t you be a bit more positive for a change? How about giving the NFL kudos for forcing the process? MLB clearly doesn’t. Like it or not, they still do it, and regardless of the reason, someone should get some credit.

    I also have an issue with insulting fans. Calling people “Baltimorons” is something I’d expect in Squealtown – not from the hometown blog. Particularly when the most passionate fans are the ones that frequent this site – you likely just insulted your own customers.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      John, point well taken about the Baltimoron term. I nearly edited out that term but Michael is one too, just like me. I saw it more as a term of endearment that is so only because we can refer to each other as such. If the “Squealtown” said it, then the guard goes up.

      I do see your point though.

  8. Jason on said:

    I don’t know what you listen or read in Baltimore, but from what I hear and read Raven fans are the most negative and bash the Ravens a whole lot more then they compliment. I can’t believe I just wasted my time reading your nonsense

  9. Mac on said:

    I did not know this was a league requirement and, yeah, I’m one of those fans that slobbered all over the “State of the Ravens” press conference.

    Perhaps they have received unearned praise from those, such as myself, who weren’t aware of this league mandated checklist item, but I’ll give the FO credit for their candor and honesty. They always acknowledge their failures and plot a path forward. They’ve given me no reason to doubt their sincerity; I suspect there will be a new receiver on the roster in 2014. ;-)

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