In the week and a half since the Baltimore Ravens clinched their second Super Bowl trip in franchise history, we’ve been beaten over the head with words like “Harbowl,” “Team of Destiny” and “Ray Lewis” virtually nonstop. And that’s just what we’re dealing with on a national level.
Here locally, it’s been far worse. Not only are we getting a steady dose of all things Harbaugh and Lewis, but D.C. fans are being prodded into drinking the purple Kool-Aid and riding alongside our neighbors to the north on their cruise to the Crescent City.
To which I politely reply, “Hell no.”
Allow me to elaborate. I’ve lived in this area for more than two-thirds of my life. I split my teenage years between Howard County and Prince George’s County, so I’m very familiar with both the Baltimore and Washington areas. The two are distinctly different. Yes, Baltimore and Washington share a parkway and an airport (and even then, the airport is nestled ever so tightly into Baltimore’s bosom while Washington has two closer options), but that’s about the extent of it.
Over the years, Baltimore has largely demonstrated a disinterest in D.C. sports. While those up north do get into the Capitals for the most part, they’re totally indifferent toward the Nationals for many of the same reasons Redskins fans are indifferent toward the Ravens. Baltimore generally doesn’t care about the Wizards (to be fair, a lot of D.C. doesn’t care about the Wiz either … but I digress), and a large segment of Ravens fans possess a misplaced hatred for the Redskins.
Think about it: If it were the Redskins in Super Bowl XLVII, how much do you think Baltimore would care? Would there be extensive Baltimore media coverage? Would there be cheesy puff pieces like this one imploring Baltimore fans to lend their voices to the Redskins’ cause?
In fact, many Baltimore fans vehemently resent the Redskins in part because that’s the team they were forced to see during the time between the Colts’ departure and the arrival of the Ravens. And that has nothing to do with the quality of play — the ‘Skins won two Super Bowls and were perennial contenders for much of the time between 1984-1996.
It’s got everything to do with the fact that it wasn’t their team.
So again I ask: Why support a team/city that didn’t support yours — even when there was no alternative?
If anything, D.C. fans should feel far more civic pride in San Francisco’s team: four former All-Met athletes (Vernon Davis, Ahmad Brooks, NaVorro Bowman and Cam Johnson) grace the 49ers’ roster, with one of them (Brooks) having the distinction of being the son of a former Redskin. Plus, the Niners look a lot like the kind of team the current ‘Skins are close to becoming — a consistently competitive squad blessed with a versatile young passer at the helm of an explosive offense, complemented by a swarming and aggressive defense. If the Redskins can’t clutch a fourth Lombardi Trophy, then D.C. fans might as well see someone do it using their same formula.
Just to be clear, I don’t hate the Ravens or Baltimore. As I said before, I grew up a short drive from there and still enjoy a nice Saturday walk along the Inner Harbor. I simply don’t buy the notion that D.C. needs to have some sort of affinity for the Ravens just because there happens to be another NFL team only 40 miles up the road — especially when that feeling would be far from mutual.
So, Redskins Nation, your options are every bit as wide open now as they are in any other season when your team isn’t playing. You don’t owe the Ravens anything. Just watch the game casually, enjoy the commercials and give your blood pressure a much-needed reprieve after a long season of Hailing the Redskins.
After all, the NFL is cyclical. It won’t be long before the pendulum swings toward the southern portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.