Stick with anything long enough and you’re bound to see or experience something that you never thought possible. This is the 17th season of Baltimore Ravens football, and along the way there have been lots of highs and lows and lots of moments that many of us will never forget. This however is the first time I can ever say, with all sincerity that I’m actually happy about a loss.
I’ve been tolerant and even accepting of losses in the past for a variety of different reasons. There was even a game back in 1998 (the finale) against the Detroit Lions that I wanted the Ravens to lose for the purpose of improving their draft position. They didn’t oblige me that day as they sent the great Barry Sanders off into an unexpected retirement with a loss for his troubles; they also drafted Chris McAlister with their non-cherry picked draft spot and he went on to become one of my personal favorite Ravens of all time.
Since that last day of 1998 however I’ve never cheered for a loss by the Ravens (I still didn’t by the way) and have never seen much to be positive about in their wake…until week 14 of 2012 that is.
I’m guessing that I’m mostly alone in my post-lost positivity, but I shouldn’t be. Every fan that found themselves lamenting any Ravens win this season as being less than confidence inspiring or far from Super Bowl caliber should be celebrating this loss right along with me. Clearly this is a Ravens team that has had issues all season long. Clearly this is a Ravens team that will need to get better in order to achieve the goals that they’ve laid out for themselves and the goals that we as fans have for them. And clearly this is a Ravens team that somehow kept winning and thereby dodging those issues. As long as that continued there was no reason to hope for anything different. Only now, in the face of a couple of embarrassing and gut wrenching defeats can this team get truly introspective. Only now, can the Ravens begin to acknowledge, address and ultimately fix the problems that many have been seeing and talking about for weeks, or months or years.
If it ain’t broke, as the old saying goes, you don’t fix it. So while there were reasons for fans to be concerned about what we perceived to be Ravens’ issues all season long, they continued to win. There was little reason for the team to try and fix what didn’t appear to be broken. Now, let there be no doubt that the Ravens are broken, in a variety of places, and now there is still time to fix it.
The problems, as diagnosed by fans could fill 10 more pages, and there’s certainly plenty of blame to go around. From the quarterback to the offensive and defensive lines to the coordinators to the head coach, even General Manager Ozzie Newsome has to, at this point, take a look in the mirror and own his part in the “downfall” of the Ravens as we knew them.
A lot of these problems simply can’t be addressed in enough time to “save this season” or at least to make an immediate difference; but the Ravens have been successful enough without addressing anything to suggest that a few subtle tweaks can put them back in a winning way, and from week to week in the NFL anything is possible. They’re still a virtual lock to be in the playoffs and once there…who knows?