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Charm City gets ready for football season

Monday - 9/2/2013, 12:58pm  ET

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A barge carrying the NFL Kickoff stage moves past the National Aquarium. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

BALTIMORE -- As the sun rose over the Inner Harbor, Charm City got a taste of its status as the home of the defending NFL Super Bowl champions.

A red and white tug boat delivered a 60-by-90 floating barge bearing the NFL Kickoff concert stage.

Replete with scaffolding, lighting, and roof, the stage is being anchored in front of the Maryland Science Center for a Thursday, Sept. 5th celebration, featuring country artist Keith Urban, marking the start of the 2013 NFL season.

To honor the champion Baltimore Ravens, the NFL is setting up what it calls the NFL Kickoff Village at McKeldin Square and the Harborplace Amphitheater. The league says NFL legends will be on hand all day Wednesday and Thursday to sign autographs for fans.

Unfortunately, the Ravens will be conspicuously absent for the festivities. They're opening their season Thursday night in Denver against the Broncos.

But Ravens fans are cranked up and ready.

"I know that we have a good team…I love the Ravens…I know we're going to do good things this year, definitely," says Donald Jackson, of Baltimore.

"It's not easy to repeat," suggests Chris Kline, of Baltimore. "The biggest problem they're going to have is their offensive line."

Jackson believes that for the Ravens to get back into the Super Bowl this year, they must contend with the guys in black, white and gold.

"The Pittsburgh Steelers, always. Every year the Pittsburgh Steelers give us trouble. The last couple of years they really haven't been up to par, but I think they're coming back. That's the team we have to look out for," Jackson says.

Kline is worried about a spate of teams -- the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.

As for the first game of the season against the Broncos, Kline expects a nail biter.

"I look for a tough game. A close, tough game and I think it's going to come down to the fourth quarter," Kline says.

Jackson's not making any predictions. He's just eager to see the game.

"I'm definitely excited, I'm ready for the kick off," Jackson says.

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