The Baltimore Ravens fanbase is... volatile. Charged. Energetic and spirited. I’ve been blessed to have thousands over the past decade read my work. Some have loathed my writing. Others have appreciated. The vast majority say nothing to me. But Ravens fans at least always have something to say about their beloved team.
Ravens Twitter is the biggest part of the fanbase. At least to my knowledge. No forum, no website or other platform hosts as many Ravens fans as Twitter does. And when the Ravens win, that fanbase comes for those who talked shit. They point out every stupid comment others make calling Lamar Jackson a running back, saying they aren’t good enough or criticizing the team.
When the Ravens lose, or even when they win, that same energetic and spirited fanbase becomes volatile toward the powers that be. Yes, fanbases do that spanning all sports. But I’ve covered this team for a decade and know of this one.
“Fire Harbaugh, the team is playing down to their competition.”
“Trade Justin Tucker, he’s washed (I saw this one after his missed 53-yard field goal on Sunday).”
“Lamar looks like he doesn’t care on the field.”
“Eric DeCosta sucks, we miss Ozzie Newsome.”
I’m not saying the fans are wrong. Not always. Hell, each offseason move made by the Ravens this past year was scripted from the Ravens vocal majority.
- Part ways with Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
- Part ways with Strength & Conditioning Coach Steve Saunders
- Sign Odell Beckham Jr.
- Sign another wide receiver (They didn’t get the hoped-for DeAndre Hopkins)
- Draft Zay Flowers
And most importantly, sign Lamar Jackson to the highest-paid deal and keep him long-term.
The End of the Bar fanbase hit consistently last season. And again, I am not saying criticisms aren’t validated. They are warranted. They are your opinions to cheer, rave, loathe and express.
But tonight, after everything, I felt they did enough. Things were satisfactory. For me, that’s enough.
The past five weeks have been a traveling hellhole for the Ravens. They won’t make the excuses. In fact, Head Coach John Harbaugh pushed back on that option when asked.
“It’s all a state of mind,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “It’s real if you make it real. But we’re going to go out there on Friday – like we always do on those west coast trips – and our guys will be ready to roll Sunday.”
I haven’t experienced more than two flights in two weeks. And when I did, I flew, visited family or a destination for 3-7 relaxing days and then fly home.
What they’ve done the past five weeks is not stay in one area for more than six days, and they weren’t going a town or two over to spend time visiting. The players were flying cross-country. They flew internationally. And throughout all this are grinding weightlifting, in meetings, in practices, and navigating full-time schedules. It’s what they’re paid for. But that doesn’t mean you forfeit basic understanding or reasoning.
- Baltimore to Cleveland and back = 750mi
- Baltimore to Pittsburgh and back = 490mi
- Baltimore to London and back = 7,264mi
- Home vs. Lions
- Baltimore to Phoenix and back = 4,550mi
The Ravens traveled 13,054 miles in five weeks. They played five football games, grinded three practices per week. Two games were against their physical AFC North foes. Then they flew international to London. Afterward, they flew directly home, attempted to get back on a reasonable sleep schedule to face the top-tier Lions. Finally, they meet the finish line of this brutal schedule by traveling all the way out West against the Cardinals.
In that span, they dropped one game. They played sloppy in a couple. They utterly dominated one. But in this final game, sloppy and sluggish, they crossed the damn finish line. Sometimes, enough is acceptable.
In fewer than 24 hours after the game, Harbaugh will be back in the Ravens’ auditorium answering questions about the game. He’ll have watched the film and he’ll answer how the Ravens need to improve. He’ll plainly state that “enough,” “satisfactory,” and “acceptable” are furthest from the Ravens language. But tonight, as a journalist who does his best to always see the field without the purple-tinted glasses, I deemed this game enough, and that’s acceptable for me.