It occurred to me as the National Anthem was playing on Sunday as I began my three-hour freeze in the upper deck of M&T Bank Stadium that the late-arriving crowd might’ve been looking forward to the cold as much as I was. Which is to say, “not so much.”
Sunday was the strangest of Ravens games from my perspective. Strange pacing. Strange crowd (I can honestly say that I didn’t see one problem with Eagles fans, although I heard a few horror stories. Of course, I sit in Sect. 513 and I only saw one person in green anywhere near my section.). Before the game I saw swaths of green and heard chants of “E-A-G-L-E-S” coming from inside the stadium as I circled to enter.
The Eagles fans – as well as the team on the field – seemed to leave their “game” at the tailgate lot.
But the purple crowd was even more bizarre and “dead.” Entering the game at 6-4, playing at home for the first time a few weeks and with a lot on the line, I thought our fans were kinda lame on Sunday. It was strangely silent. And the strong home field advantage we usually enjoy from the noise of the crowd on defense was strangely QUIET…
You can laugh, but I’m convinced it has to do with gloves. I remember being at the Panthers-Packers NFC Championship Game back in 1996 in Green Bay when the temperature was 8 degrees and thinking “it’s awfully quiet” at Lambeau Field. I looked around and realized that people were trying to survive more than be a home-field advantage, 11th-man crowd.
The only “roar” of the crowd comes with voices when 70,000 are wearing gloves. Or huddling under blankets.
Did anybody hear – or not hear – what I did on Sunday?
Sure, it was cold as hell. (Here’s where the macho will say: “Aw, it wasn’t that cold!” Yes…it was!) But it was also empty-ish upon kickoff. The crowds rarely rose to their feet when Donovan McNabb was on the field early in the game. I don’t know if was the weather or the Eagles or the pacing of the game, but it was hardly the rocking stadium we’ve seen and heard in the past. Hard to get loud when people are shivering, I suppose.
But, hey, a 36-7 win isn’t summed up with me bitching about the crowd. It was a great game, a great day to be a Ravens fan. But if you have been a PSL holder over the years, you must admit that the stadium was awkwardly library-ish on Sunday.
But today I’m wondering aloud when the city will get all oiled up and lathered about a 7-4 football team with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback that should have the city salivating.
Maybe it’s because no one really thinks this team can with the Super Bowl this year?
Maybe it’s because the economy sucks and everyone is generally kinda miserable with their business, holiday, cash-flow situation, etc.?
Maybe it’s just not that exciting when the team isn’t playing knockout games just yet, even if seeing the little sea of green in the parking lot from Filthy didn’t get people worked up?
But I hope it changes and changes soon. The Ravens sent all of us at WNST a “reminder” about Purple Fridays, which is a good start. We had the 13-3 season two years ago and the city was purple and at a fever pitch by Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to see the city swathed in a sea of purple in a few weeks and harbor the thoughts of playing some January football – here or on the road. If you can’t get excited about 7-4 with a pending trip to Cincinnati to go to a potential 8-4, then why be a fan?
THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES! It doesn’t get much better than sitting around watching football on Turkey Day with the Ravens being a factor in the mix. Two out of the last three years, the team has been dreadful and miserable to watch by Thanksgiving. This year our turkey talk combines nicely with our football when our families reconvene in 48 hours.
Honestly, won’t the Ravens and their season be a MAJOR topic of conversation around any event you attend on Thursday? That’s the fun part about football — the whole family gets in on the conversation and excitement.
December shapes up nicely if the Ravens can get through this “trap” game in Cincinnati.
The Redskins game has been moved into primetime.
The Steelers come here the following weekend and that game stands to be larger than life if the Ravens can win the next two and enter that game at 9-4.
We’ll then play in Dallas before Christmas on national television again. Tony Romo. Jerry Jones. Jessica Simpson. It’s a “made for primetime” event on a Saturday night.
And we’ll finish the season here against the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars, a game that will no doubt be aided by the flasks and anything else that warms the soul on a cold winter day.
So, just when does the party start?
When do we start turning the city on its purple side?
(BTW: The WNST Miller Lite Purple Palace contest is still in gear through the middle of December. We already have a handful of entries and we’d love to collect as many as we can. We’ll begin to show you the videos and pictures we’ve collected later this week. If you have a friend or neighbor or relative who has a “purple palace,” tell them to enter the contest here. Winner goes to Green Bay next year to see Lambeau Field and gets a visit from the WNST crew with a bunch of Miller Lite and food.)
I’m ready to bust out the purple rope lights around WNST.
I’m ready for the fun to begin.
I’m ready for Festivus!