NFL rules fuel latest clash between DC and Baltimore

September 17, 2010 |

I live in Northern VA and I grew up in a “Baltimore family.” When I was a kid the O’s and Redskins were the only teams in town, hence my fandom. However I root for the Ravens and Nationals when they aren’t playing my primary team (I like the Ravens moreso than the Nationals). First off, let me say that since I have roots in both places, I like both cities. Having said that I feel that Baltimore is much more of “my city” based upon a plethora of different things including the way I talk hon! But let’s face it, we’re all the same people regardless of which side of the dividing line we fall upon. Baltimore is proud of it’s Baltimoreness, and Washington has a problem with that. Washington is proud of it’s diversity and individuality, and Baltimore has a problem with that.

That aside, the NFL, the Ravens, and the Redskins are now finding themselves at the center of what’s being billed by the DC media as the latest squabble between the two cities. I’m not going to get into the specifics of NFL rules, however Washington DC is identified as a “secondary market” for the Ravens. That means that WUSA (CBS in DC) has to air the Ravens unless the Redskins are playing (on CBS) at the same time. Oftentimes the two teams are both playing at 1 PM, however the Ravens are on CBS and the Redskins on FOX. So this Sunday at 1 PM, the Ravens will be on WUSA, and the Skins of course will be shown on the same channel at 4:15. However since technically the games aren’t at the same time, WUSA is contractually obligated to show the Ravens in it’s entirety, regardless of whether or not the Skins game has started.

People in Washington are frosted about this, big time. In my case I’m a Redskin season-ticket holder, so seeing that I’ll be arriving at FedEx Field at 12 PM I won’t get to see either game on television. In fact, none of this applies to me in the least because I’ll be in the stadium. Upon hearing it discussed this morning on a local DC sports station, the conversation naturally turned into Baltimore sucks. One of the hosts even called Baltimore one of the worst places in the country. People are entitled to their opinions, however this is part of my problem with DC; the people are so darned petty it isn’t even funny. To begin with, the Redskins kick off at 4:15; odds are the Ravens game will be done by then and IT WON’T EVEN BE AN ISSUE. However most people don’t look at it that way, they’re upset that there’s a chance that this could happen. Is it the Ravens’ or Baltimore’s fault that this is the case? No, however you wouldn’t know it by listening to some of the people talk, you’d think that WWIII was coming and it was DC against Baltimore. More importantly however, this is the case due to NFL rules, not even CBS’. In fact, if the situations were reversed and the Ravens were playing at home (in the late game) with the Skins on the road at 1 PM, FOX 45 would have to show the Redskin game in it’s entirety before switching to the Ravens.

In fact, I don’t disagree that it’s wrong that the beginning of the Skins game might get pre-empted. Each market’s home team should be shown (unless of course it’s a home game that isn’t sold out, but that’s not an issue in either Baltimore or Washington). However these are the rules that are dictated by the NFL. Should they be changed? Of course; under no circumstance should the Redskins be pre-empted by anything else in Washington DC, nor should the Ravens in Baltimore. At the very least the league should recognize that there’s a special situation here, as there is in NY, San Francisco, and maybe even Texas in that there are two teams in the region. My issue isn’t so much with the fact that the Skins might be pre-empted. I recognize that it’s the NFL that’s doing this. People in DC have so much stupid hatred towards Baltimore that it’s not even funny. In fact, it’s childish. No wonder DC gets a rap for being soft, because as I said the people are so darn petty. And again, odds are that none of the game will be pre-empted. Their issue is that it’s the Ravens that are potentially going to be pre-empting the Redskin game. Thus it’s Baltimore vs. Washington, and in their eyes Baltimore is winning.

I know that some of that tension is mutual on the part of Baltimore, however I think that most people in Baltimore take a much more common sense approach to things than do people in Washington. Again, the pettiness is what gets to me. DC wanted a baseball team for 33 years; when they finally got the Nationals, the city council suddenly didn’t want to give funding for the stadium. They had the nerve to argue that they shouldn’t have to pay for a stadium where the majority of the patrons would be from suburban MD and VA. Pettiness. The people are ticked off that the Redskins might be pre-empted due to a stupid rule that was made at the NFL. That’s legitimate, however their ire is aimed at the wrong group. Blame the NFL, don’t blame the Ravens, their fans, or another city. Having said this, before people write in and tell me that I should just drop the Skins and come over to the Ravens’ side, keep in mind that I grew up a Redskin fan. When I see that logo and those colors, I don’t see the face of a greedy owner, I see the team I grew up with (same goes for the O’s). I just wish the people weren’t so petty and bought into common sense a bit more. For the record, I like DC as a city; I love Baltimore!