Craig Heist, wtop.com
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Since the Ravens came to Baltimore in 1996, they have made total of eight trips to the playoffs, winning the Super Bowl in 2001, capping off a great 2000 season with head coach Brian Billick at the helm and with one of the best defenses in NFL history.
In contrast, the Redskins have made just three playoff appearances over that time and their last home playoff game was a 27-13 victory over the Detroit Lions back on January 8, 2000.
So with a team 45 minutes to the north of D.C. having a good deal of success of late, including four straight trips to the playoffs with a home game coming up Sunday against the Houston Texans, would Redskins fans root for the Purple and Black during their playoff run? Or, would they even want to?
Well, many of the Ravens got a good chuckle out of talking about it on Wednesday.
"It's an amazing east coast area," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "You got the Redskins, you got the Ravens, you got the Eagles, you got the Jets and the Giants and you got the Steelers and it's all right there. You know, a lot of those teams are NFC team and we are kind of in the middle of all that."
"So, we welcome all those teams' fans. We want to be their AFC team, that's all we're asking. We want to be their AFC team and embrace that and lets have fun with it."
As a guy who has covered the Baltimore/Washington corridor for the better part of 25 years, I can tell you I have heard it all. I have heard people in D.C. say "this isn't Baltimore" and "why do you give Baltimore the time of day?" Then there are those Baltimore fans who get on me for "abandoning my home town" for D.C.
The great thing about working in this area is there are a lot of teams to cover, college and pro, some good and some not so good. A few are good and some are up and coming.
Baltimore fans have traditionally hated Washington, especially the Redskins. Washington fans have, for the most part, been rather apathetic towards Baltimore. That may change now with the Orioles streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons and the improvement of the Nationals. But this is the NFL and Ray Lewis has a pretty good feeling about the "rivalry," if you will, between the two cities.
"You know how that blood is between us and them," Lewis said laughing. "Baltimore D.C., D.C. Baltimore, but I think at the end of the day when your team is out, and when they finally do settle in, they will probably cheer for the Ravens before they cheer for an outsider so we will probably have some extra fans cheering for us."
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco jokingly said he is always trying to get people to jump on the Ravens bandwagon, especially at this time of the year.
"Every time I am out and I meet someone who says they are a fan of another team, I'm trying to recruit them on the Baltimore side, man. I always say to them, ‘have you met any Steelers, have you met any Redskins, I don't think so. You should probably be our fan now.'"
"As many Redskins fans as we could steal that would be huge for us because they have a great following from what I understand. They're on the franchises that have been around for a while and people love the Redskins so if we could steal some of their fans, I think we'd be doing a pretty good job."
It's all supposed to be in good fun, but I can tell you more Redskins fans would be more inclined to root for the Ravens than Ravens fans bringing themselves to root for the Redskins. Unless of course, they were playing the Steelers -- and even that might be stretch.
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