Is it ever acceptable, under any circumstance, to root for the Baltimore Ravens? Over the weekend, I gave this a great deal of thought. The answer is a surprisingly simple "yes."
If the Ravens are playing Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys... Well, of course. It's an established fact that whenever someone boos the Cowboys, an angel gets its wings. Even diehard atheists and agnostics will testify to this one. It's a no-brainer. Cheering for the Cowboys, is like applauding the Westboro Baptist Church. Let me put it in a local context - it's like cheering for the Steubenville Big Red rape crew.
This same general theory applies to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, but to a lesser extent. There is a sliding scale here. There is a justifiable, moral equivalence. I mean... it IS acceptable to hope for a Belichick win... IF, AND ONLY WHEN, they are playing Dallas.
If the Ravens are playing Cincy, it gets a little murkier. I'd say it's a toss-up. Like the aging members of Fleetwood Mac say, "you can go your own way."
What if they're playing the Browns? Then what? Well, I don't know about you, but I'd tend to side with the non-threatening Cuyahoga county crew.
The Ravens victory over the Broncos in the divisional round was easily one of the most exciting games I've ever seen. A total shoot-out with a last ditch hail mary (mother of god) with about 30 seconds left to force overtime. Followed by a crazy field position battle for 15 minutes. And then into a 2nd OT. And of course, everyone's favorite all-American, apple pie consuming quarterback throwing a brutal interception. And then a rookie kicker, nails a 49 yarder in the freezing, thin air of Investment Mile High. I had friends (Susan and Q) in attendance. They made the trek from Baltimore. I'm sure they'd confirm that you could've heard a pin drop. Sometimes silence truly is golden.
I found myself jumping out of my semi-reclined, office chair. Utter joy. But why was I celebrating the Denver loss? After all, my immediate family lives in Denver (although my brother has zero interest in NFL football). His wife has even less concern. I'm not entirely sure where my niece Shira stands on this one. Their family dog "Dassy" (pronounced Dah-see) is likely the most supportive.
I thought about it some more. I've never really been "anti-Denver." Always liked Shanahan, Elway, even Bolen (ownership). My brother's firm represented the original ownership (Edgar Kaiser family) in a lawsuit against the Bolen family about 10 years ago. I forget the details, but I'm pretty sure they came out on the losing end.
Like I said, I not "be hatin" on the Broncos, even though they bounced us in the wildcard round last year. And the self-professed NFL god-boy, Tim Tebow was at the helm. It still didn't seem to bother me that much. At least not as much as other playoff losses.
So just what is it that turned me into a Ravens fan? Behold the answer...
This has got to be the most frustrating 30 seconds in the history of commercial television.
Calling Papa Bear... Hut-Hut! I-70, orange barrel alert... Re-Rout! Re-Rout! Country music... sucks my dick. I'm a faggot. Suck it. Suck it.
And just what type of flashy automobile is Peyton Manning cruising around in? A Buick Verano??? I think his talents would have been far better suited for the legendary Oldsmobile Cutlass. For the love of God, who's the target audience here? Hip geriatrics in a nursing home? "Say-your-prayers, eat-your vitamins" Hulk Hogan fans from the mid 80's? The team who produced all those ABC after-school specials?
Although I'm non-committal in aligning myself with spiritual deities, I'll be praying for the Baltimore upset (+9.5) next week in Foxborough. Speaking of Foxborough, Massachusetts, I've never seen a city misspelled so often on Grateful Dead bootlegs. I swear to god, on every single cassette tape I've ever owned, it's spelled "Foxboro."
I wish Seattle had won on Sunday. It would've forced the NFC Championship game to be played in San Francisco. It's not that I dislike the Falcons and their Home Depot subsidiaries. I just prefer to see the big games played outdoors. Dome championship games are the equivalent of McRib. Just when you think they ain't part of the equation, they reemerge. Sucked.
I was surprised to see the opening line. Atlanta is a +3.5 home dog. Yes... I realize the 49ers are on a tear and Colin Kaepernick is the new and improved Tebow-inspiration substitute of 2013. He's got dual 10 Commandment arm tattoos.
Behold the new and improved cross of purity. If that doesn't spell devotion, I don't know what does. Still, they're traveling cross country to play in the dome. Hotlanta's home record speaks for itself. I suppose you could argue the emotional let-down after the last second field goal victory over the Seahawks. I just think eventually the rookie qb falters. All good things...
I also think the Ravens line is too high. Don't play the no-respect card with the thug Ravens. If I was a gambling man, I'd take the Ravens to win (straight-up). Why take them to cover? If you're big on Baltimore, take the action points or the generous money line. The Falcons-Niners game... I dunno. Regardless, here's to hoping for a Harbaugh Superbowl. Certainly makes for a better story line. Anyone hoping for a New England-Atlanta Superbowl has no soul (even though I picked it on my playoff bracket). Ohhh, the irony.
Either way, I'll be hosting. Stop on up. I'm making the traditional vat of vegan wedding soup loaded with meatballs and possibly chicken. Additional irony.