I’ve read the complaints in the papers. I’ve heard the radio guys talk about it. To a certain extent I agree. The Bart Scotts, Samari Rolles, Chris McAlistar’s and Derrick Mason’s should blame themselves. They should concentrate on their own mistakes. They shouldn’t dwell on the ticky-tack calls by those striped-shirts.
But…I love the passion. I love the fact that Bart Scott took that flag and threw it into the stands. Go ahead…fight the powers that be. Show you care. Trash those moral victories. They’re for losers anyway.
I remember Artie Donovan reminiscing about the old NFL west coast road trips. The Colts would head west in those pre-jet days and stay for two weeks. They’d play the Rams one Sunday, and then the 49ers the other. The officials? They would be local. In order to win, the east coast teams had to beat their hosts convincingly. In a close game, the hometown officials would side with LA or San Fran.
It was like that Monday night. Let’s face it. New England got all the close calls. The refs attitude, self-conscious or not, was to give the undefeated team the benefit of the doubt. They were the champs, and the challenger had the burden of knocking them off the hill.
The NFL will never admit this. But the Ravens know it is true. They lived through it. So, why not vent their frustration? Why not let the nation know that the game is not played on the up and up. It will cost them thousands of dollars, but what the heck, they’re making millions. More than the money, they’re putting their long term health on the line in order to get these victories. When victory is stolen, be mad.
I love the Ravens. I love the fact that the city I was born in has a football team. That team competes against cities I wasn’t born in. When Baltimore wins, I feel that reflected glory. When Baltimore loses, I feel that reflected shame. So, when the Ravens lost on national TV, I was mad.
But, as much as I love the Ravens, I love the Orioles even more. The Orioles are my father taking me to my first game. I was with the Ravens since their birth, but thanks to my father, the Orioles were with me since my birth.
This is why I appreciate Bart Scott throwing that flag into the stands. He showed passion for my city. True, his team made many mistakes that prevented victory, but he hated the fact that Baltimore lost to New England.
Contrast that to the Orioles. Last year, after losing a close game to the Yankees, manager Dave Trembley talked about how proud he was to stay close to New York for nine innings. I lost all hope in his leadership skills at that point. Moral victories are for losers, but Baltimore’s baseball team has set their standards so low, that staying close to New York is seen as a good thing.
The Ravens almost beat the best football team in the world. Big deal. We didn’t win. I’m pissed, and more importantly, Bart Scott is pissed.
Unfortunately, Brian Billick made some Trembley-like comments on his radio show this week. But at least the players still have that passion. This Sunday night, I hope the players ignore Monday’s moral victory. I hope they continue to believe that they lost because they didn’t beat the favored ones decisively. I hope they realize the Colts are another favored son. I hope they resolve to beat that favored son so handily, that penalty flags can’t make a difference.
I also hope that Brian Roberts will one day do the baseball equivalent of throwing the penalty flag in the stands. Come on Orioles. Come on Ravens. Fight the powers that be.