Yesterday the Ravens, via Ravens.com, made the following announcement regarding fans in the stands this coming season.
Our plan for the 2021 season includes a full capacity while maintaining necessary and expected protocols that allow for the safest possible environment for all guests. As you know, we hosted a limited number of fans for games last year, which allowed us to implement many new safety procedures that will be permanent going forward. These include contactless entry via mobile ticketing and touchless kiosks, cashless purchasing throughout the stadium and enhanced sanitization measures.
We are seeing many successful and safe outdoor events taking place throughout the country, starting with Super Bowl LV in February, which safely hosted 25,000 fans. All Major League Baseball teams are hosting fans on a limited basis and, as restrictions are relaxed, will be looking to increase their capacities throughout the summer. Pimlico’s Triple-Crown Preakness event will host fans in a few weeks, and local outdoor amphitheaters, such as Merriweather Post Pavilion, will begin hosting events in July. These trends are encouraging and give us confidence in our preparation.
This is great news for season ticket holders and it represents a big step in the right direction towards a word that I’ve grown to loathe – NORMALCY.
Yet with the new season, rediscovered optimism and the “procedures” the Ravens have implemented at M&T Bank Stadium to ensure safety, I wonder what the crowds will look like. The eager among you will want to race to Camden Yards and re-engage with friends at tailgates that seem a decade removed. To feel the buzz of a live Ravens game again.
But I still wonder what it will look like.
Will The Bank be rocking as it once did or will there be some trepidation from the fan base?
There could be some other factors in play that might temper crowds. Perhaps the one year removed from live games may have trained some season ticket holders to take in the action differently. While the thrill of a live game cannot be replicated, there are advantages to watching from home:
• Better view
• No traffic issues
• No parking fees
• No bathroom lines
• No unsavory fans to contend with
• No concession lines
• Much less expensive
Time will tell, but I just get the sense from talking with many fans that The Bank has already experienced its heyday – that the days of no empty seats for every single game will be nothing but a memory.
I hope that I’m proven wrong. I hope that my thoughts are just those of a typical middle-aged man. We’ll find out soon enough.
One week from today the NFL will reveal its full 2021 schedule. The announcement is always an exciting one for fans as they focus in on what prime time games the Ravens will have along with away games that might represent attractive road trips.
This season the Ravens have away games in the following cities (less the annual AFC North roadies):
• Las Vegas
Houston Has a Problem?
It’s no secret that edge defender Justin Houston visited Baltimore prior to the NFL Draft. The Ravens typically don’t host such visits unless there’s a sincere interest to sign a player, provided of course the price is right. And apparently, for the moment, the price is NOT right.
When Houston left Baltimore without a deal, there were two prevailing thoughts: 1) The parties would wait until May 3 to avoid any compensatory pick ramifications; and 2) Indianapolis could still factor into Houston’s decision, having expressed an interest in re-signing the 10-year vet and author of 97 1/2 career sacks.
But the Colts’ first two 2021 draft picks were edge defenders: Kwity Paye (21st overall, Michigan) and Dayo Odeyingbo (52nd overall, Vanderbilt). These selections probably make it unlikely for a Houston reunion in Indy. And as such, Houston may have lost some negotiating leverage.
I’m told the Ravens remain interested but if Houston doesn’t come off his number, GM Eric DeCosta could divert his attention towards other edge rushers such as Ryan Kerrigan, Melvin Ingram or even Olivier Vernon.
RSR’s Dev Panchwagh and I reviewed three of the four here in a Russell Street Recap.
Recently the topic of the Ravens new long snapper was brought up and how the Wolfpack has been forever change by the departure of Morgan Cox who is now a member of the dreaded Tennessee Titans. The 35-year-old Cox is a native of Collierville, TN, a suburb of Memphis. The new long snapper in town, is a player the Ravens protected throughout the 2020 season, Nick Moore.
The discussion did make me take pause and consider the future of Sam Koch. Koch for my money, is one of the more underrated Ravens. He’s been a flawless holder and passer, with a 115.5 passer rating, going 7 for 7 for 82 yards. The soon-to-be 39-year-old Nebraska native has punted for a total of 30.6 miles (53,863 yards). He’s been an expert navigator of field position.
And while he hasn’t really shown any noticeable decline, Father Time is undefeated. So Koch’s ride into the sunset is inevitable and the thought of that made me ponder something…is Sam Koch a Ring of Honor candidate?
Put me down for an unequivocal, “Yes!”