It’s been debated all day on the airwaves and on the message boards: is this upcoming game against Pittsburgh the biggest regular season game in Ravens history? The fact that we’re even debating this topic speaks volumes of how crazy this town is over the local football team. And after a big win on national television over the much-maligned Washington Redskins, how could you not be drinking the purple kool aid?
As far as rivaling the importance of this upcoming game against the Steelers, a lot of people have brought up the “win-and-you’re-in” Vikings game in 2001.
I want to throw another one out there: the 2000 game against San Diego that clinched the Ravens first birth to the Festivus, and eventually, the first Super Bowl win for the purple and black. I was at that game, and at that point in my life I was just starting to get into professional football.
When I was very young, all I had was Cal, Mike Mussina, Scott Erickson, Roberto Alomar, Rafael Palmeiro, Brady Anderson, and Mike Deveraux. It took me awhile to warm up to the Ravens, and this game marked the day the Ravens changed my life forever; on that day I subconsciously decided that I was going to be a die-hard Ravens fan for life. That was the day that both the NFL and the Ravens got me hooked and started to reel me in. Nostalgia aside, the Chargers game was still a HUGE game for the Ravens and a defining moment in the history and development of the Ravens franchise.
But I think this game coming up is more important. Back in 2000, going into the season we knew we had something special going on defensively. In 2001, as reigning Super Bowl champions, it was expected that the Ravens would make the playoffs.
Did you think the Ravens would be in this position in August? 9-4? Controlling their own destiny in the playoff race with an outside chance of winning the AFC North?
I think this game has more meaning because of the emotional aspect of the huge swing in expectations this team has brought upon us. We didn’t expect the team to be in this position. We didn’t expect Joe Flacco to be so good so early in his career (in fact, back in August, we expected to see Kyle Boller continue to putz around out there on the field). We didn’t expect the offensive line to play so well. We didn’t expect the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Baltimore on December 14th to have any meaning. And now, it’s going to feel like the post-season at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.
So what do you think? Is this the biggest game in Ravens history?