Her name is Tracy, but I call her "MiLady." And sometimes, "O Queen."
She is a Brit who loves the Ravens with all her heart and 1,000 Twitter followers.
"I have been a Ravens fan since seeing their passion and grit and fight on a game shown on TV," she said. " As a fan of the Purple and Black personally, (the possibility of) them coming to Wembley would be an amazing game. "
Are you reading that in your best British accent? Then go back and do it. Too cool.
There is the consideration of the fanbase developing in Europe. There is a place that this is going, as you might have heard, and it is an eventual NFL franchise in London, and then other places in the world. Bringing our game to the globe. Would it not be nice to one day say, "World Champions," and it be literally true?
Tracy "Ravens" Cole thinks so, and has been ready for the Ravens to visit for a while. "All 32 teams are represented by the fans of NFL football at every London game" she told me. "I am a season ticket holder for London Games and wear my Ravens (Flacco) Jersey with great pride."
Consider the idea of NFL Football as an Olympic Sport. It is not impossible. Already, there exists an International Federation of American Football World Championship, which has entrants from 6 different continents, the 2015 finalists being teams from Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and of course, the United States. (It was on ESPN3.) Consider that there were teams that did not qualify but tried: 2 from Africa, 1 from Sweden, 1 from Canada, and more. This tournament meets every four years and has been doing so since 1999. It pales in comparison to the NFL, of course, but it is something. A groundswell. If international recognition and play is the goal, it is undeniable that momentum is gaining.
Finally, it would behoove the Ravens to move with the NFL's movement. With the designation that London cannot be a home game for the Ravens, under the current stadium agreement, it becomes a neutral-ish game at a place a little further than going to Seattle. An hour and a half more. That's one oldskool Bond flick.
(Please ignore/forgive the obnoxious price tag.)
International exposure can only help the Ravens: fanbase, allure to potential players, a bonding experience for the team. Don't forget the utter success of the Yahoo! live stream of the game this past season. 15 million viewers online is seriously superior, better than the average of Monday Night Football. This would be like a normal nationally televised game, which Baltimoreans crave. Not at home, yes, but not in a hostile stadium, either.
Football is a tough sport; the Ravens are prepared for the long haul. Teams that go to London get their bye week afterward. The biggest change would be the five-hour time difference. Yet, both teams would have that obstacle. To be a champion, it means conquering obstacles, not hiding from them as they pass. The benefit of conquering an overseas trip would be immense. There would be no fatigue afterwards due to the bye. Imagine how amped the Ravens would be to enter the stadium to the raucous cheers of Tracy and her mates.
"There are approximately 1,500-2,000 Ravens fans spread through England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales and are generally known as UK Ravensnation," she added. "We as fans would be ecstatic if our favourite (said in wonderful British context) team came over and they would be well represented by their fans."
"There're also Ravens fans throughout Europe-- Italy, Germany, France, Spain, etc., who would make the trip to London to see the Ravens game."
Hey, she made the trip over here last fall. The least we could do is return the favor.
It's summit you should consider (said in wonderful British context, again).
Tracy "Ravens" Cole. UK RavensNation