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Slowing the Hype Machine

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On Wednesday, I got into an unintentional Twitter spat with Sarah Ellison, who covers the Ravens for the team’s official website. Ellison tweeted it was “big news” that the Ravens had signed RGIII to be their potential backup signal caller for 2018.

I thought otherwise. 

To make a long story short, Ellison’s point was simple. Generally speaking, it was big news around the league. RGIII was out of football last year, and considering his initial talent level and the fact that he was the second overall pick just six years ago, it created a buzz on media outlets.

Fair enough.

I thought my point was a pretty simple one as well. Given she works for the team, many people will perceive her tweeting it’s “big news” that the Ravens signed Griffin as a move that she thinks will help the Ravens win games in 2018.

My point was reaffirmed after the team’s website tweeted (see below) a hype video for Griffin yesterday. Seriously? A hype video? For a backup quarterback that might not even make the team? It speaks to the point I was trying to make to Sarah.

I enjoy the team’s website and I read Late for Work everyday – it’s part of my morning routine. I enjoy their coverage throughout the season. Their mic’d up segments are great and John Eisenberg is one of my favorite writers.

But the Ravens organization as a whole recently has made attempts to put a positive spin or hype up inconsequential news. It can at times be both nauseating and frustrating. This is a team that has floundered in mediocrity for the last six years. So, their attempt to make every signing seem like it’s going to be the one that returns the team to a perennial contender comes across as desperate.

What other team would have released a hype video for RGIII? I’d be willing to bet the Browns didn’t even do that when they signed him. Who else would have held a press conference to introduce John Brown? Maybe that signing will be a steal but this is a guy that has 816 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns combined over the last two seasons. Having a press conference to announce that signing was bizarre.

The Ravens have an issue with fans being uninterested and disengaged over the last couple seasons and we can debate the reasons why. But press conferences to announce mid-tier signings won’t solve that problem.

If the Ravens had signed Sammy Watkins or Allen Robinson then by all means, alert the media. But releasing hype videos for a guy that probably won’t sniff the field and having a press conference for a player that’s had the same production as Breshad Perriman the past two years isn’t going to get most fans interested.  

I care more about the Ravens re-signing James Hurst than I do about adding RGIII because he might actually get on the field. The signing of Brown might end up being a solid one but the team doesn’t need to introduce him on camera to fans.

Stop trying to sell fans on every insignificant move, it won’t fill M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens have stumbled in recent seasons when it comes to their ability to communicate and connect with fans and all the empty seats on game day are a clear reflection of that. There is no doubt that they need to find a way to bridge that gap, however they need to try to find some different ways to go about it.

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