Personally, I applaud the fans for their smart sense. Staying until the end to watch a bad team flounder against an even worse team makes no sense. If you can get out of the parking lot a little faster I say "go for it!" Who wants to sit around and feel embarrassed? Yesterday’s game was atrocious. There’s really no other way to describe it. The offense looked like one of those old electric football games where you set the players, turn on the power and watch the plastic figures bump into each other.
Should loyal fans be ridiculed for finally saying enough is enough? Some have suggested that the fans "quit on the football team". Um, last I checked there’s not a Ravens fan out there, with the possible exception of some biased members of the media, who actually gets paid to support the team. If you’re served a bad meal, do you eat the dessert or demand your money back? What about at your own job? Are people supposed to applaud you for ineptitude?
I’m a stand up comedian and I host a sports talk radio show. If I go onstage and I’m not funny (which I’m sure some of you would feel is this case) you have every right to leave. I’d ask that you do it quietly so as not to disturb people who might actually enjoy what I’m doing but I respect your right. Same with our show, if you feel our show is not worth listening to, or any show on WNST for that matter, then simply change the station.
I heard one scared caller suggest that he’s nervous about leaving Ravens games early because a lack of fan support will lead to the team sneaking away in the middle of the night in Mayflower moving vans ala the Baltimore Colts. That’s CO-DEPENDENCY FOLKS! Trust me, I know what I’m talking about here. Feeling that someone will leave you if you protest their actions is the stuff of which self help books are made.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with fan disgust. You’ve earned it. You’ve patiently waited for seven years while the Ravens have promised you a Super Bowl year after year. This year all indications were that the Ravens would own the division and prove a major force in the playoffs. We talked about it all summer. Admittedly, I had some doubts. I saw them anywhere from 9-7 to 12-4 but leaned towards the latter. Sure, injuries have hurt. But so has bad coaching decisions. So has less than adequate play at the quarterback position. The offensive line has been less than stellar (granted, they’re young) and, at times, the linebackers have failed to live up to expectations.
I didn’t live in Baltimore when the Ravens won it all in 2000. Nor, quite frankly, am I a diehard Ravens fan. I respect the organization and I like the brand of football they play- mostly. But I was born and raised a New York Giants fan. You kicked our butts in 2000 and you deserved to win. I spent the first 21 years of my life waiting for the Giants to win a Super Bowl and then we got lucky again in 1990. It’s been seventeen years since. Every year, Giants fans try to believe and every year we’re done in by injuries, inadequate defense or anemic offense.
Last Sunday, after a tough fight, I watched the Giants fall to pieces against Dallas and do you know what I did? With three minutes left, and the game well beyond reach, I left the bar and went to buy some books. Do I feel guilty because I "quit on my team"? Not a bit. I doubt the players noticed. They were too busy losing to notice. And guess what?
Next week, I’ll watch again. That’s all a football team should ask of it’s fans. All we ask in return is please, just please, don’t be an embarrassment.