You know what I am tired of? People telling people how to be fans. There is so much technology, message boards like this, NFL.com, ESPN, Tweets, that rarely 5 minutes can go by without someone having something to say.
Which IS everyone’s right!
But I’d like to talk about two things: The way Raven’s fans are perceived to be malcontents; and the way Joe Flacco is “unfairly” criticized.
First of all, I am not sure how many people who are fans who call into talk shows and post on message boards, actually leave the comfort of their respective areas and travel to other cities. Why do I point this out? Because I have been to a few different NFL towns, even hale from one, Buffalo. You will NEVER find a shortage of people who are dissatisfied with their team. It comes with the territory, regardless of how much success.
Go back to the 80’s – the Niners’ faithful were irate if they didn’t win a Super Bowl. Period, nothing less was acceptable. In the 90’s the Bills made 4 straight Super Bowls, and trust me, every time I visited my relatives, there was optimism, but there was also no end to the complaining as well.
Problem is, you have diehards, in every town, and this is what gets noticed by the team’s other communities; not the upset fans, but go to the city or scan their message boards. Dungy was nearly crucified in his tenure in Tampa Bay for not winning the big one. It even followed him to Indy where Peyton is largely given the bulk of the credit. New Englanders are mad the beloved Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in several years. Try Philly, they had a huge run to NFC championships, nothing. It wasn’t all cheer in the city of brotherly love.
So this brings me to the Ravens…
People will always complain, it is part of the game. The year they won the Super Bowl, people bemoaned the Ravens for giving up 7 points on a special teams return. It carried over into the next season because the vaunted Raven defense didn’t win back to back Super Bowls. Neither did the "86 Bears"; and every expert thought that was a team that should have won more than one Super Bowl. And naturally Chicago griped.
On to Joe Flacco…
First, half of this complaining and criticizing is media related. If 105.7 the “Commercial”, I mean the “Fan” didn’t keep bringing it up every ten minutes, it wouldn’t be an issue. But like an unnamed donut eating columnist who attempts to write on the Ravens, controversy is ratings, listeners, ears, and eyes for advertisers. It takes on a life of its own.
As quarterbacks go, Joe Flacco is a good one. Look at his stats, you need look no further. But criticism comes with the job, as does the glory when you win; just as scrutiny when you lose, or in many people’s eyes, fail to beat the Steelers when Ben Roethlisberger is starting.
Joe Montana was hounded by many, that he was too old. Put in Steve Young. Well, Montana showed them when he went to the Chiefs that he wasn’t done. Philly still rags on McNabb, but he brought them legit title shots. Eli Manning is often crushed in New York City and yet he was a Super Bowl MVP. Peyton was vilified for his pick 6 in the Super Bowl, all Indy wrote about was “choke, choke, choke.” I need not mention his accomplishments either.
To quarterback is to be in the crosshairs. I feel no pity for any quarterback that feels he is being unfairly scrutinized. He need only look at his bank account to realize he is well compensated for the trouble.
Getting back to Steve Young, all his records mean nothing, why? The 49ers beat the Cowboys because of #21, Deion Sanders. Once half the field was shut down, viola, the 49ers beat the Cowboys and won the Super Bowl. How many did they win after Sanders left?
Do I think fans go overboard sometimes? Of course, myself included. I was famous for savaging John Harbaugh. I am still not a fan of his and my friends roast me for my dislike of him, but it is a new season, and he said some things this year that makes me WANT to give him another chance.
So there you have it – my long-winded rant on NFL fans’ reality and perception.
I will say that for all of my observations there are a myriad of other factors that led to many wins or losses. This was but a summation. Everyone is to a degree an armchair quarterback, imaginary GM, or disgruntled sportswriter in their own way.
But suffice it to say, us Ravens fans are no different than the other 31 NFL cities.