FanPost

The Ravens Jersey Power Rankings

I only own two Ravens jerseys; a white Ray Lewis jersey and a purple Jamal Lewis jersey that I got right as the playoffs were starting before the first Super Bowl win, his first season. Jamal is my all time favorite Raven, I wear his jersey for every big game. I’ve been putting off buying a new jersey for over a decade for a few reasons. I was happy with the two I had and didn’t see any reason to have more because I can’t wear a football jersey other than on Sundays. It’s not socially acceptable to wear football jerseys to work, you can’t work out in them because they’ll get scuffed up, and they’re too clumsy to just have on around the house and you’d spill on them inevitably if you did and they get ruined in the wash.

The other reasons: (1) football jerseys are expensive, (2) it’s hard to choose whose I want because everyone is awesome, and (3), the hardest to think about, the scary possibility that the player’s career either goes downhill, or goes to another franchise soon after you’ve made your investment. This is why I would never buy a rookie’s jersey (Jamal Lewis’ was a Christmas and or Hanukkah present, and I was 8 years old and naïve; twenties Joe would never have invested in the Jamal Lewis jersey, of course in all fairness that means twenties Joe would have been severely disappointed in himself after a few years and bought the jersey sometime around 04, just in time to see Jamal traded).

Anyways there are now no players currently on the Ravens' roster whose jersey I own. This tells me it’s finally time to go back to the store. Were Ed Reed still around this would have been an easy decision; I’d buy his in black and just resign myself to the fact that I’d have to bite the bullet again in a couple years when he retired. Alas he’s not, and I’m lost. So to help myself figure this out, and perhaps to help out a few others who find themselves in a similar position, I’m creating and writing down my very own Ravens’ Jersey Power Rankings.

I started with two of the dilemmas listed above (the fact that I’m not allowed to wear a football jersey to work and the price is irrelevant) and added a few more to finish with five criteria for players’ jerseys. Everything is on a scale of low to high, 1-10 unless noted:

1. Player awesomeness; how good is the player. This also takes into account personality and flat out cool factor. Suggs might get a bump for being outrageous while last year Kruger could have gotten a bump for surviving two life threatening incidents. For the record I like everyone on the Ravens, low numbers here are not intended as an insult, just a necessary means of creating a continuum from Ray Lewis to Kyle Boller (this conceit applies to other categories as well).

2. Projected length of relevancy; possibility that the player either ends up regressing and becoming horrible at football or playing for another team within two years (1 is a very high chance, 10 is a very low chance).

3. Ravens pedigree; what have they done so far? How high is a player's place in Ravens History.

4. Homegrown talent; I think it counts whether a player has been a lifer or is on their second or third team. There’s some grey area too. The Ravens got Jacoby Jones in his third season, but he really blossomed in Baltimore so we'll say he gets a 6.

5. Novelty; how often you walk in wearing the player's jersey and someone says "Oh hey! I’ve never seen someone with a ________." On a scale of Todd Heap to Troy Smith. Novelty will be scored 1-5 because it should be a little less important.

Here we go.

Receiving votes (Or receiving vote? I’m the only one voting I guess…anyways):

Jacoby Jones

Jacoby Jones had a huge season, but what is his future with the team? Is he going to stick in at the number two spot or does he stay as Baltimore’s number three receiver? Players, especially players with Jones’ overall talent, don’t have too long of a shelf life returning kicks and his contract is relatively large for a third receiver. It’s tough to gauge his long-term place on the team. Also, this is a ten player list right now and there are just too many guys ahead of Jones.

Player Awesomeness: 7

Projected Length of Relevancy: 6

Ravens Pedigree: 6

Homegrown Talent: 6

Novelty: 4

Overall Jersey Score: 29

Justin Tucker

Here’s the deal with Justin Tucker; he maxes out the novelty criteria but it cancels out because of the team he ended up playing for. I don’t think fans of any franchise should have more than one opportunity to wear a kicker’s jersey en mass. The Patriots fans got to do this with Adam Vinatieri and the Ravens fans got to do it with Matt Stover (I assume the browns fans did it for Phil Dawson but I haven't been to Cleveland in the past ten years and I don’t think there are a ton of Browns fans outside of Ohio so who knows). You can’t have a second era of people wearing the kicker’s jersey. I love Justin Tucker, he’s great and this isn’t his fault. I don’t make the rules (well technically…). He also can’t score too high on the length of relevancy because he is a kicker with one year in the league. It was a great year, but coming from a fan of the team who cut their kicker a year after he made the pro bowl, they are an inconsistent bunch.

Player Awesomeness: 6

Projected Length of Relevancy: 7

Ravens Pedigree: 6

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 5

Overall Jersey Score: 34 – Matt Stover’s Jersey = Twentysomething

Top Ten Ravens’ Jersey Power Rankings

Number 10: Matt Elam

Matt Elam maxes out the homegrown talent (as many will) because he was the Ravens first round draft pick which also almost guarantees that he will be around for a very long time. But projected length of relevancy takes into account the small chance that he doesn’t live up to his first round billing, resulting in an 8. Rookie jerseys are a risky investment, Elam looks like the real deal though and if he is, he will be around for years to come and you'll get to say you bought his rookie jersey; pretty sweet payoff.

Player Awesomeness: 6

Projected Length of Relevancy: 8

Ravens Pedigree: 1

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 4

Overall Jersey Score: 31

Number 9: Courtney Upshaw

It’s time to get on the Courtney Upshaw train, he was hidden to the masses last year, and he probably will be again this year, but he’s a more physically gifted replacement for Jarrett Johnson and he is a high draft pick so he is probably here to stay. Upshaw jerseys will be rare for at least another year while he continues to set the edge and crush offense's running games. Upshaw gets some pedigree for the super bowl, especially his forced fumble, but he was a rookie on the team so he gets a 4. His length of relevancy gets some knock because of his weight struggles but he gets a 7 because of where he was drafted.

Player Awesomeness: 6

Projected Length of Relevancy: 7

Ravens Pedigree: 4

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 5

Overall Jersey Score: 32

Number 8: Dennis Pitta

Just as a late caveat, the first three jerseys are on here because Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Anquan Boldin are no longer in town. Pitta jerseys aren’t uncommon, but he is still relatively unknown to the rest of the country so he gets a 3 for novelty. The Ravens should be expected to resign him and, if so, he will be around for a while. He gets an 8 in length of relevancy because of the chance that another team offers him more than the Ravens are willing to pay. He is one ofJoe Flacco’s favorite targets which helps and being on a Super Bowl team helps too (everyone but the rookies gets a pedigree bump from the Super Bowl), but I think his overall career impact warrants a 5.

Player Awesomeness: 7

Projected Length of Relevancy: 8

Ravens Pedigree: 5

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 3

Overall Jersey Score: 33

Number 7: Lardarius Webb

Lardarius Webb’s jersey is a risk because of his injury history even though his contract keeps him here till 2018. He’d have a 10 in length of relevancy were it not for the ACLs. The injuries though have resulted in a lot of football fans having never heard of him, which boosts his jersey’s novelty rating. Had he been healthy for the Super Bowl, his pedigree would be higher.

Player Awesomeness: 8

Projected Length of Relevancy: 7

Ravens Pedigree: 6

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 4

Overall Jersey Score: 35

Number 6: Torrey Smith

Torrey is a safe call, he gets a 3 in novelty because it’s still weird to see people proudly and fearlessly wear the jersey of a wide receiver that the Ravens drafted. He is surely going to get signed to a nice contract eventually and he seems to only be getting better. He’s an essential weapon in the offense with high character and he's already had enough signature moments to earn a pedigree rating of 7.

Player Awesomeness: 8

Projected Length of Relevancy: 9

Ravens Pedigree: 7

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 3

Overall Jersey Score: 37

Number 5: Haloti Ngata

Ngata jerseys are common now, he’s a beast. But buying his jersey today, you have to be a little worried about his future. If he can finally put those nagging injuries behind him he has a lot of football ahead of him and his will be a good jersey to have for years. In a vacuum he is, other than Suggs, the best player on the defense.

Player Awesomeness: 9

Projected Length of Relevancy: 8

Ravens Pedigree: 9

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 2

Overall Jersey Score: 38

Number 4: Ray Rice

Ray Rice might become the heart of this team with Ray Lewis gone, he has a good blend of flamboyant personality and humility and it seems like he seems like a naturally gifted leader. Ray Rice was originally number 3 and had the +.5 that you will see on Terrell Suggs’ overall score because of his youth. I expect Rice will be a bigger part of the team 3 years from now than Suggs will. But Suggs gets a boost because of his body of work, I’ll go into this more…

Player Awesomeness: 9

Projected Length of Relevancy: 10

Ravens Pedigree: 9

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 1

Overall Jersey Score: 39

Number 3: Terrell Suggs

Suggs gets more pedigree than Ngata and Rice because Suggs gets more pedigree than Ngata and Rice. He’s a former DPOY and of the current players on the roster his name is the most synonymous with the Ravens’ brand. Even if he begins declining in a year, Suggs gets the treatment that Reed and Lewis got. Is he quite as good? I’d say no. But he’s a big enough piece of this franchise’s history that even if it turns out he’s not what he used to be, his jersey is still a good investment.

Player Awesomeness: 10

Projected Length of Relevancy: 8

Ravens Pedigree: 10

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 1

Overall Jersey Score: 39 +.5

Number 2: Marshal Yanda

When I originally picked the top ten I figured Marshal Yanda would be somewhere around 6 or 7. But then I picked the criteria and scored everyone and here we are. This ranking depends on how much you factor in novelty. Had novelty been measured on a scale of 1-10, Yanda’s Jersey would be number 1 by a relatively large margin. But what Yanda’s score illustrates is that he is one of the best players in the NFL who no one hears too much about. He plays one of the least glamorous positions. Not a whole lot of people wear guards’ jerseys and that gives him a lift. He also is on a cap friendly deal that will keep him in Baltimore for another 3 years at least.

Player Awesomeness: 9

Projected Length of Relevancy: 9

Ravens Pedigree: 7

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 5

Overall Jersey Score: 40

Number 1: Joe Flacco

Flacco almost gets a ten for player awesomeness but falls a little bit short; he still has something to prove with his play, specifically his consistency. He earns a nine. But he gets the tie-breaking +.5 because he is the only franchise quarterback the Ravens have ever had and that is worth a lot, it’s also what gives him a 10 in the pedigree category. He is also the only guy I could guarantee will be on the team in five years and he’s never missed a snap. There is very little risk in a Joe Flacco jersey. I look directly at myself when I say that it’s probably time to invest in one of these if you have not yet.

Player Awesomeness: 9

Projected Length of Relevancy: 10

Ravens Pedigree: 10

Homegrown Talent: 10

Novelty: 1

Overall Jersey Score: 40 +.5

So there it is, this offseason I was going to buy a Boldin Jersey, then I was going to buy a Vonta Leach jersey, isn't being a fan fun? What would everyone else's top ten be? More importantly, whose jersey should I buy?

The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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