Oh, hey Raven fan.
Just surfing the net on a football Sunday? Yea, I guess it must be kinda bittersweet. I mean, football is BACK and everyone’s excited and it’s Week 1 and.. your team isn’t on TV cuz they already played Thursday night.
And yet, seeing as the defending Super Bowl champs from Baltimore had their asses handed to them by little Wes Welker running around in orange, that beatdown at the hands of the Broncos is still the big story of opening weekend. Peyton Manning threw the most touchdowns thrown by anyone in a single NFL game since 1969!!
After all the morning pregame shows torture you with replays of Manning’s
Magnificent Massacare, you gotta sit around on the First Football Sunday of the year, half-heartedly checking your fantasy team updates but still really thinking about how Welker clearly dropped that one pass, but Boy Wonder John Harbaugh didn’t see the replay or get told by a staffer who did to throw the challenge flag. Next play: long-ass touchdown pass to Denver TE Julius Thompson or Julius Thomas or whatever that guys name is. Yea, Peyton made some guy you’d never heard of look like Shannon Sharpe, as you had to watch Joe Flacco throw to Peyton’s old (old!) TE Dallas Clark while you actually wished you had Sharpe at whatever age/shape he’s in now.
The Broncos defense was without a suspended Von Miller (one of the best defenders on Denver and in the league) and an injured Champ Bailey (past his prime, but you’d rather the veteran all-world CB be in street clothes) and their next-best defender Elvis Dumervill is now on your team. They handed you a free 7 points on a muffed punt and gave back another 7 points when their guy Danny Trevathan dropped the ball short of the goal line to “celebrate” the TD he almost scored and you still lost by 22 points. (Hey defensive guys running interceptions back for touchdowns: what’s the big rush with dropping the ball? You don’t get to hold the ball or score too often. Relax. Enjoy it. It’s a touchdown, go ahead and carry the ball into the endzone.)
Meanwhile, this public asskicking was administered in Denver, so you didn’t even get to have the big NFL Kickoff Weekend extravaganza in your own stadium. And yet you still had to endure some Kenny Chesney or Keith Urban concert bullshit down at the Inner Harbor. Before Dr. Manning could start his surgery on your ailing team, there was a 34-minute lightning delay. Football was finally back… and then pushed back. And back. Because of lightning. Meanwhile the weather was beautiful that night in Baltimore. The delay felt just like the one from the Ravens Super Bowl victory and was the exact same length. Let’s see if they have a third consecutive game with a 34-minute delay next week.
Maybe they could use the extra time to figure out how to get the running game going. Ray Rice had only 12 carries. Sure, he caught 8 balls so he got his 20 touches. But those 8 catches only yielded 34 yards. Baltimore has Vonta Leach, not only one of the last fullbacks, but one of the last GREAT fullbacks. They have Bernard Pierce to run as well. Instead Joe Flacco threw the ball 62 times. I realize part of that was a function of falling behind. But this game was 17-14 Baltimore at halftime. Run the ball. Keep Peyton on the sideline. We get that “It’s Joe’s Team Now,” but that Overthrow Deep and Hope For a Flag trick only works a couple times a game. You can’t win on a fling and a prayer.
Anyway, so you’re trying to watch football today, but every time your RedZone channel brings you to another live touchdown, the announcer talks about how hot Peyton Manning was the other night when he was torching the Ravens. You want to turn off RedZone, but the Steelers are probably on TV today, and you hate the goddamn Steelers. In fact, it’s borderline irrational. I enjoy a good rivalry, and there should be some “bad blood” and all that. But it should be Sports Hate. I live in the Baltimore area, my wife is a Steelers fan and I root for Washington. Ravens fans really hate us. Not sports hate. Hate hate. There’s a place at our mall that sells Steelers-logo toilet paper and Ben Roethlisberger voodoo dolls. (I’ll bet you Flacco’s bloated salary that there aren’t any dolls of him for sale anywhere near Pittsburgh.)
The local sports-talk radio callers, offseaon or midseason, always end up coming back to how much they hate the Steelers, or this halfhearted praise of how the Ravens need to be more like the Steelers. It’s bizarre. And the city of Baltimore has always had an inferiority complex with DC, so Ravens fans love to gloat about how miserable the Washington franchise has been for the entire existence of the Ravens in Baltimore. Part of the Charm, I guess.
These people take their purple very seriously. They went from complaining that Flacco could never win them a Super Bowl, to being pissed that he then got overpaid for doing so.
Losing to Manning must have had some extra sting, as Baltimore has hated him since he used to rock the horseshoe helmet as a Colt. Cuz, y’know, the Colts left Baltimore in the middle of the night all those years ago so fuck Robert Irsay for stealing the team… I mean, who could root for a team that was stolen from another city? And now Manning plays for John Elway, famous for starting his hall-of-fame NFL career by refusing to play in Baltimore.
Anyway, chin-up Raven fan. I’m sorry this first Sunday of the season kinda sucks for you. It’s okay to cry. (No, not about the refs.) Go ahead and let it out. Have a good cry and let the tears stroll down your face like Ray Lewis when he hears the National Anthem for the 14,682nd time.