First and foremost, congratulations to the mighty men of the Baltimore Ravens for not only winning the AFC North in 2011, but sweeping it with a perfect 6-0 record. That’s no easy task. The AFC North must be considered the NFL’s best division because it is the only one with three teams still playing as the postseason begins this weekend.
Throughout this long season I have been critical of the Ravens both on and off the field. I have made it no secret that I believe the team on the field is capable of winning of Super Bowl and that off the field they no longer care about building their fan base. In my opinion, the fans have bought into everything that the organization does, for better or for worse. They have accepted more losses of their benefits in replace of wins on the field. I’ve said since August that this philosophy is okay, but only if the Ravens hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February. Just don’t expect them share that experience with you.
There’s no longer any need to go on about my opinions of the Ravens taking training camp away from their fans. I’ve babbled on about that slap in the face for far too long and I’ll let it rest until the summer.
After Baltimore’s 24-16 win, the team squashed another tradition that brought their fans close to the team. Typically after big wins, fans rush out to the Ravens complex at Owings Mills with banners and signs and cheer the team bus at it arrives from BWI and the players as they individually leave the Castle to return to their homes. It’s a fun fan moment that I’ve experienced a few times and a way for fans to show their appreciation and get up close and personal with the team. But this week the Ravens snuck past their fans and told them to stay at home after they came back from Cincinnati with the AFC North crown.
“To make this very clear. The
#Ravens are not going to the stadium or the facility or anywhere tonight. No place to meet them,” The Baltimore Ravens official Twitter snidely commented on Sunday. This followed a tweet that informed fans that the Ravens will see them “at M&T Bank Stadium!”
This is the new Ravens. If you want to get up close — or hell if you want to see them at all — you better fork over $100 bucks and come out the stadium on game day. You’re not going to get anything free from this team and the coaching staff finds it inconvenient to be in front of an audience outside of 60 minutes on Sunday. This arrogant personality is overlooked by the Baltimore public and I’ve come to the conclusion that I personally will only accept it if in return I get a win on Sunday February 5th. Anything less than that and you’ll find me bitching about the pompous attitude of this organization everyday here on BSR. You’ve got a lot to look forward to.
If you’ve accepted this attitude and personality shift from the Ravens, please help me understand why. Please tell me why it’s okay to get less from the organization or if the wins help ease the pain. Explain to me how professional sports are more than just entertainment for the millions of fans that pump billions of dollars into these organizations and why they shouldn’t come first.
I’m proud of the on-field success, but the behind the scenes day-to-day operations make it difficult for me to be excited unless a Super Bowl title is in this organization’s future.
Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter @zamwi.