It takes a few days to decompress and digest all that happened in a game like Saturday’s. The emotion, the pain, the anger and the knee-jerk reactions we all endured are perfectly natural. It’s part of the process of being a fan; if there was no passion, it wouldn’t ache so much.
I said all last week that I was happy to see the Ravens travel to Pittsburgh in a game with so much at stake. If we lost, that was alright, because we were all familiar with that feeling. But if we won, that was going to be the sweetest payoff imaginable. A wholly unknown and wonderful feeling of having finally seen “our” team and “our” town overcome that familiar foe. Well, it didn’t happen, obviously, and the way it didn’t happen was particularly galling. That loss will forever be etched in our collective minds’ eye.
I watched the game with lots of great old friends and their children. Some of our sons were openly distraught afterwards. And my friend Duck put it best to them, explaining that it was alright to feel so hurt and upset, because that’s what being a fan of a team is all about. Again, if we didn’t care so much it wouldn’t bother us so much. I even dropped reference to watching Maryland lose to Virginia in the ACC Tournament years ago. I was so pissed as a kid watching that happen because I was convinced it was the Terps time to win the conference. But Marc Iavaroni and the Cavaliers were just better that night, and better all that weekend. Just as the Steelers proved to be better Saturday night. As hard as that is to write, it must be accepted.
I agree wholeheartedly with Drew’s analysis. Whatever moves the Ravens make this offseason have to be with the singular goal of getting better than Pittsburgh, of finally overcoming the better team in our division and conference. Let’s face it, five AFC Championship Game appearances in the past ten years is not a fluke. As far as I’m concerned, the Steelers have proven to be the best team of the past decade in all of professional football, better than the Patriots, whose rose has clearly lost its bloom. Should they capture another Super Bowl in a few weekends, that will make three in the last six years. Those numbers don’t lie.
So our attention turns to personnel, the draft, trades and free agency. Improving the team at key positions will be interesting to watch. I’ll continue to believe in the Ravens’ process and trust that they know best how to improve to overcome Pittsburgh. I’ll circle those games next year as we all will. I’ll keep my faith in my team and know that their desire is the exact same as mine: to see them showered in confetti next February, hoisting that shiny Lombardi trophy.
In Indianapolis. Now wouldn’t that be the greatest possible moment to any Baltimore Ravens fan?
See, I told you it’s o.k. to keep dreaming.
It’s what fuels our fandom.