Tag Archive | "Baltimore Colts"

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Blog & Tackle: A look at Ravens-Steelers PR game notes

Posted on 13 January 2011 by Chris Pika

Every game of the NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend is a regular-season rematch as both of the AFC games are between division opponents — the first time since 2000 that two games feature teams playing for a third time in a season.

The nastiest matchup of the weekend is the first on the docket: Baltimore at Pittsburgh. The teams have waged wars in the AFC North over the years, and 2010 was no exception. Each team scored 27 points total in the two games, and the games are as physical as any in the NFL over the previous decade.

The Ravens continued to have playoff success on the road as they beat Kansas City last Sunday 30-7 in New Arrowhead. It was the third straight season with at least one playoff victory for Baltimore, the only club in the NFL to do so over the period. QB Joe Flacco joined Bernie Kosar (1985-87) and Dan Marino (1983-85) to start a playoff game in each of their first three seasons in the league. The Ravens will try to advance to the AFC title game for the first time since the 2008 season.

Pittsburgh survived the loss of QB Ben Roethlisberger to a four-game suspension to get to a 3-1 start which included a home loss to the Ravens. The Steelers won six of their last seven games, including a road win at Baltimore for the division title. Roethlisberger Has thrown a personal-best 158 straight passes without an INT, the longest for the Steelers since QB Kordell Stewart had a streak of 159 consecutive pass attempts without an interception in 2001.

The teams split the regular season meetings, with the Ravens winning in Pittsburgh 17-14 in October, and the Steelers winning in Baltimore 13-10 in December.

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Maryland beats Navy 17-14

Posted on 07 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

My Dad grew up a Baltimore Colt fan, and while as he went through college and started a family he probably lost his “die-hard” tag, to this day he still has a Baltimore Colt trash can in his garage. To this day I think he probably likes Fidel Castro a bit more than Robert Irsay, who moved the Colts to Indianapolis when I was three years old. While when it came to professional football I grew up rooting on the burgundy and gold, I also spent a lot of Saturday afternoons at Byrd Stadium with my Dad and his college buddies. While those are great memories with my father, there was always a certain bitterness that I sensed from him towards the entire football establishment. As I got older (and more and more infatuated with sports), I realized that his team was taken from him by a drunk hack of an owner.

Unfortunately, Irsay was probably well ahead of his time in that the reason he moved the team was due to the fact that the city wouldn’t build him a state-of-the-art stadium with luxury suites. (10-15 years later, it would become commonplace for teams in all sports to hold cities hostage if they balked on a stadium deal.) That aside, my Dad and I went to yesterday’s Maryland Terrapin season opener against Navy at M & T Bank Stadium. It was his first time attending a game at the stadium that’s become the home of Baltimore football. Our seats were on the club level at the 50-yd line (a friend of my Dad’s that came with us bought them off some guy on the street for half price). He was absolutely stunned when he entered the stadium and saw what a great place it was. I don’t think he would ever admitt it, but I think he was somewhat moved by all of the pictures and murals on the walls of the concourse depicting the old Baltimore Colts. Furthermore he was very impressed with the fact that on the Ravens ring of honor they had a banner that said “Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts.”

The game itself was a great defensive battle. The Terps scored on their first two drives of the game (without even having to put the ball in the air), which had me wondering if they might run Navy out of the stadium. However the Mids battled back to tie it at 14 in the third quarter. It was fairly obvious to me that Jamarr Robinson doesn’t have the confidence of Ralph Friedgen. Robinson had six pass attempts in the entire game, completing two for 11 yards. That’s almost unheard of in contemporary college football. The one time he did take a shot down the field the pass was picked off. Midway through the third quarter Ralph Friedgen appeared to lose confidence in Robinson, as he inserted Danny O’Brien in at QB, however that was short lived. Speaking for myself, I’d love to see Maryland with a more balanced attack offensively. In all seriousness, they might not win another game this season if they can’t get downfield through the air.

Defensively the Terps seemed to struggle with Navy’s triple-threat option between the 20’s. When the Mids got inside the red zone the Terrapin defense tightened, and was solid. The Terps got strong efforts from Adrian Moten and Kenny Tate. Moten caused Navy QB Ricky Dobbs to fumble in the third quarter when he “supermaned” over the line to tackle him inside the five yard line. On Navy’s final drive of the game, Moten also got flagged for what I think was a bogus facemask penalty after the Terps had stopped Dobbs on third and eight. Replays appeared to show Moten’s hand brushing across Dobbs’ helmet; definitely what I would call a ticky-tack penalty, especially in the fourth quarter. Furthermore, the officials seemed to let both teams play for the entire game, but started throwing laundry out on the field in the last 15 minutes. To make that call at such a critical juncture of the game is…ticky-tack as I put it. With the Terps having kicked a go-ahead field goal, Maryland led 17-14 on that last drive. Dobbs drove the ball down to the one, where Navy had it fourth and goal with thirty seconds left. Conventional wisdom says you kick a field goal; Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo wanted to win it outright at that moment, so he went for the TD. Long story short, Kenny Tate stopped Dobbs short of the goal line, giving Maryland the victory in one of the best football games I’ve ever seen. While I’m ecstatic that Maryland won, Niumatalolo’s decision should not be second guessed. Going for it on fourth and goal was one of the gutsiest calls I’ve ever seen a coach make, and he should be applauded for trying to win it as opposed to settling.

Overall, it was a great day for football, but more importantly for me I’m glad that I got to be there with my Dad. While he’d shrug it off now as being overly sentimental, I know that the Baltimore Colts meant a lot to him when he was younger, and those memories still resonate with him to this day. To be able to attend a game with him in the stadium that is now the Colts’ legacy was very special. However the real winner was the state of Maryland, who can boast both the Mids and the Terps as great programs.

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Preseason week three: NY Giants vs. Ravens

Posted on 28 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

Somehow I doubt that tonight’s game will conjure memories of Unitas handing off to Alan Ameche to win the greatest game off all-time (1958 NFL Championship game), but it is a rematch of that game in a way. At the very least, it’s Baltimore vs. the Giants…okay in reality it’s preseason week three. As I wrote earlier in the week, I think the fact that Eli Manning is playing tonight will be a good thing for the Ravens. This is the preseason game that teams play as close to a regular season contest as is humanely possible. Most starters will probably see action into the third quarter for both teams, which then leaves a rapid-fire rotation of reserves that’ll go in and out to close the game. Nevertheless, my point is that if you’re playing this game similar to regular season, you want to truly see what you’ve got. The last thing the Ravens would have wanted would have been to see some backup QB that might not give them a proper test. The one area in which the Ravens are currently struggling a bit is the secondary; Manning’s the type of quarterback that’ll test that secondary. While you don’t want to get blown out of the stadium, at the very least you want to see what you need to work on.

Offensive line depth could be an issue tonight, with Jared Gaither, Oniel Cousins, David Hale, and David Sanders are not expected to suit up. Geeze, is it even worth playing Joe Flacco since he might not be as well protected?! Flacco’s a tough cookie, so I have no doubt that he’ll be able to handle whatever’s thrown his way. Furthermore with a new receiver in Anquan Boldin, it’s important that Flacco get as many reps in as possible so that the two of them can gain rapprt together. Defensively, the Ravens will be without Terrence Cody and Brandon McKinney on the line. None of these injuries are expected to impact the team come September 13th when they play the Jets on Monday Night Football, however they will play into effect tonight. If the Ravens can get through this game without any serious injuries, they should be in good shape heading into the season opener. While next Thursday’s game at Atlanta still looms, most starters will be used very sparingly if at all.

This week is key for many different reasons, not all of which are on-field. With camp breaking last week, this is the first time when the coaching staff and players have gone through a semi-regular work week with regard to game planning, practices, etc. Most players and coaches claim that they don’t game plan for preseason games. While I don’t think that they plan nearly as much as they do for regular season games, I still find this hard to believe. The NFL is such a competitive league that if you go into any game (exhibition or regular season) without some sort of game planning, you’re going to get embarrassed. So let’s not kid ourselves; the Ravens have seen some tape and scripted some plays this week going into the game, as have the NY Giants. Speaking for myself, I’ll be keeping an eye on that secondary while the starters are in the game. As I said, Manning’s a quarterback that’ll have no problem testing out that secondary, so look for the Giants to go for some home run balls early if they can. However the key to protecting a potentially weak secondary is getting a pash rush against the QB…no problem there, right?!

The Baltimore Colts moved away when I was three years old, so I don’t have any memories of them. However my Dad was a Colt fan, and I’ve made a point in learning the history of all the sports that I follow. I feel that it’s my duty as a fan to know from whence we’ve come, and to know the legends of yesteryear such as Unitas, Sonny Jurgensen, Bill Russell, etc. So with that said I’m a bit of a traditionalist; I was very happy to hear that the Ravens are “Ravenizing” the lyrics to Let’s Go You Baltimore Colts, and making that the new Ravens’ fight song. The roots of football in Baltimore are deep, and there’s absolutely no doubt that the city and it’s people have a unique relationship with the Colts/Ravens, as well as the Orioles, that most cities don’t have. The Colts leaving town should not be looked upon as a black mark on the city or the fans, but moreso on the legacy of a drunken hack that owned the team at the time. However the new/old fight song fuses the two teams together into one, uniting old and new. Go figure, they’re premiering the new/old song at tonight’s preseason game against the Giants, the team that the Baltimore Colts beat to win the NFL title in 1958 in the greatest game ever played.

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BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 29:  The band of the Baltimore Ravens performs before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 20-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

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Blog & Tackle: Sweet tune could return

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Chris Pika

A familiar tune, played with pride during some of Baltimore’s greatest football moments, and mournfully after one of the city’s darkest, could return to herald Ravens touchdowns in M&T Bank Stadium this season if fans have their way.

The Ravens through their website, are giving fans the chance to decide whether the current fight song, written in 1998, should remain, or if an alternate version rewriting the words of the old “Baltimore Colts Fight Song” to fit the current club should replace it — with the melody familiar to generations of Baltimore football fans.

According to Baltimore’s Marching Ravens band director John Ziemann, the fight song has been a part of Baltimore football history since it was written in 1947. “Six pro teams used it,” he said. “The 1947 (AAFC) Colts, the 1950 (NFL) Colts, the 1953-83 Colts, the USFL’s Baltimore Stars in 1985, the CFL’s Baltimore Stallions in 1994-95 and the Ravens in 1996.”

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 29:  The band of the Baltimore Ravens performs before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 20-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

When the melody was played by the Colts Marching Band, it was as familiar to Colts fans as “Fly, Eagles, Fly” in Philadelphia, “Skol, Vikings” in Minnesota and even “Hail To The Redskins” in D.C. The tune was recognized among football fans nationwide as almost no NFL Films piece on the Colts was produced without the melody playing in the background.

When the Colts left in 1984, the band played on — as they did when the original NFL Colts left after the 1950 season — and the fight song was performed wherever they traveled to play, especially in NFL cities for pregame and halftime shows, carrying the torch of a love lost and hope of a new start.

That bond between the city and the melody became even stronger when the band played it in front of the Maryland State House in 1987 before a key vote on stadium complex funding. The emotional response of seeing the band carry the tune helped the measure to pass.

The NFL did return in 1996 when the Browns moved to Baltimore, and the club, out of respect for the previous history, did not adopt the song as the Ravens played at old Memorial Stadium — but the band played the tune during the ’96 season to celebrate Baltimore’s return to the NFL.

“In 1998, the Ravens decided they wanted their own identity, and a great fight song was writen by John Modell (son of Ravens’ owner Art Modell),” Ziemann said. The same year, the name of the band changed to Baltimore’s Marching Ravens as the team moved to the new downtown facility the band had helped secure in a small but meaningful way almost a decade earlier.

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 22:  A band member for the Baltimore Ravens plays the tuba before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Colts defeated the Ravens 17-15. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

The organization did its best to ingrain the current fight song with the fans. But it never really seemed to fit in a city that reveres its history — especially when it comes to football. Over the years, fans contacted the Ravens about restoring the beloved melody.

The opinion of the organization changed when movie producer and Baltimore native Barry Levinson became part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series. Levinson chose to spotlight the band and its’ contribution to the city in great football times and especially in the years without the NFL. Just as Levinson had used the “Baltimore Colts Fight Song” to effect in his movie “Diner,” the ESPN movie, “The Band That Woudn’t Die,” gave new life to the melody in an unexpected way.

“The Ravens organization has always had a close ear to the needs and views of the fans,” Ziemann said. “And last year, when the premiere of the ESPN movie was shown at M&T Bank Stadium, the Marching Ravens did a pre-concert on the field. We played the ‘Baltimore Ravens Fight Song,’ and it got applause. But when the ‘Baltimore Colts Fight Song’ was performed, the place went wild. This started the Ravens rethinking about restoring the song.”

That was just the start. New words were needed to fit the melody, making the appropriate changes while keeping some of the historical aspect of the original. “New words were written by musical director Todd Clontz and myself, and focus groups were formed for opinions on it, taking all the necessary steps,” Ziemann said.

The “Baltimore Fight Song” was born, again. But the Ravens organization did not want to make the decision to restore the song on its own. It would be up to the fans to voice their opinions.

“The Ravens, to be fair to the fans, have put it up for a vote on their website,” said Ziemann. And if the song is restored, it will be performed August 12 at the first home preseason game (vs. Carolina).”

This potential switch in fight songs will not sell one more ticket or another piece of merchandise for the Ravens, but the change would return a sweet tune back where it belongs in celebration of a city and its football heritage.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle).

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This One’s For You, Dad

Posted on 07 June 2010 by Mark Suchy

I’ve always liked this time of year better than any other.  The days grow longer, the evenings are cool, fireflies appear, the smell of honeysuckle grabs your attention every once in a while from out of nowhere, and, as a child, the end of the school year is finally here.  The freedom and happiness of summer is just around the corner.  Baseball season is in full swing ( at least it used to be around these parts ). 

June is, and always has been, a very busy and celebratory time around my house.  Father’s Day, my parents’ wedding anniversary, and today, June 7th, my father Bob’s birthday.  He would have been 76.

My father died suddenly this past February 6th, during the first of those back-to-back blizzards we all endured here in Baltimore.  Even now, four months later, I’m still struggling to adjust to a strange new reality.

My father is, and will always remain, the most influential person in my life.  He taught me so much about the right way to live: Ethics, morals, fundamentals, good sportsmanship and respect for others.  Part of those lessons he learned from his parents; others he acquired through his experiences.  It was the way he taught me that I’ll most remember.  Because he lived it daily.  He could certainly talk about it to me, teach me in that manner, but he meant it because he truly exemplified it daily.  I saw it constantly, and it left a lifelong impression. 

Dad was a terrific athlete in his youth.  He played football, basketball and lacrosse.  He lettered at Loyola High School in all three sports and earned a scholarship to the University of Maryland beginning in the fall of 1953.  He learned invaluable lessons there under the legendary Jim Tatum, and participated in two Orange Bowls, in which the Terps lost both times to Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma Sooners.  He was a member of the only undefeated National Championship lacrosse team in school history in 1955.  He graduated in 1958 with a degree in Civil Engineering and was a loyal lifelong supporter of all things UM related throughout his life.

All I learned about sports I learned through him.  He would throw me passes in the front yard in the evenings, teaching me the subtleties of route running ( even though he played offensive line ).  He would shoot games of 21 in the driveway with me under the spotlight at night before going to bed.  He emphasized the importance of bending the knees and proper follow through on my freethrows.  He had a killer hook shot which I never could stop when we played one-on-one.  And I could never quite duplicate that shot, no matter how much I practiced it.  He would play catch with me, whether it was with a baseball glove or a lacrosse stick.  And those lacrosse sticks he had kept from his Terps days were classic, the old wooden ones with no pockets and the stiff leather stringing.  It really was like trying to catch with a big trampoline at the end of a skinny wooden pole.  I still marvel at how on earth anyone could play that game before the equipment was modernized.

Then there were the games we attended together.  Maryland basketball, beginning with the great Lucas – Elmore – McMillen teams of the early 1970’s.  Maryland football under Jerry Claiborne.  I saw Randy White numerous times at Byrd Stadium and can remember Dad practically bursting with excitement at watching him play.  As an offensive lineman, I think Dad appreciated more than others just how dominant the “Manster” was as a collegian.  There were plenty of Baltimore Orioles games, of course.  My earliest memory was a day game in the 1970 World Series against Cincinnatti.  My favorite was Game 2 of the 1983 World Series when Mike Boddicker dominated the Philadelphia Phillies to even the series and swing the momentum back to Baltimore.  And of course there were the Baltimore Colts.  I was with Dad at Johnny U’s final game.  He actually had tears welling up when Eddie Hinton took a little swing pass and turned it into #19’s final touchdown pass on his final attempt as a Baltimore Colt.  But I most recall the bus rides from Johnny U’s Golden Arm restaurant to 33rd Street, and the post-game buffets, win or lose, which were always visited by members of the team.  And we were together in September of 1996 at Memorial Stadium when the NFL finally returned to Baltimore.  I still have chills thinking about the Baltimore Colts Marching Band playing the Colts fight song before that game.  Of course, I didn’t think about it at the time, but I knew that moment was one I would always cherish because I shared it with Dad.

As much as he supported our local teams, Dad supported his three sons in all their endeavors even more.  My older brother John is an immensely talented musician, actor and sound and lighting technician.  Dad was always there to enjoy John’s hard work, and he delighted in the fact that one of his boys actually had artistic talent.  He came to as many of my games, no matter the sport or the season, as he possibly could.  I received some beautiful notes from former high school teammates when he died, in which these lifelong friends recalled Dad’s presence and support.  He traveled extensively with my mother to follow my younger brother Luke’s summer baseball teams.  And he always seemed to be there for my three sons’ games, soccer, basketball, baseball, even swim meets.  His love for all of us was evident by his support and physical presence.

My father was humble and dignified; he’d probably be a bit embarrassed by this, although he’d also be proud.  As I wrote earlier, he lived it.  He truly “walked the walk”, and he did so with grace and style.  I honestly believe he was part of one of the last great generations of our nation, people who learned the value of sacrifice, hard work and loyalty.  And people who gave back when they could, because they knew it was the right thing to do and because they had the ability to do so.  Bob Suchy was the kindest, most generous man I have ever had the honor to know.

My little brother Luke was married this past Saturday in Boulder, Colorado, to one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known.  We are, as a family, truly thrilled and honored for both Luke and his new bride, Kim.  It was a beautiful weekend, with the weather magnificent, the Flatiron Mountains in all their late Spring glory, and so many dear family and friends gathered to celebrate this wonderful occasion.  Above everything, however, was the memory and presence of Dad.  I know it because I felt it and heard it and saw it throughout the weekend.  His influence, his life, his personality, everything that made him who he was, and by extension, who we have all become, was there.  None of it could ever have happened without him and the life he led and the love he gave.

I think of him every day, of course.  And I realize I’m not the only person to have lost a parent ( or both ).  But as I live through all these changes and challenges, I find myself noting certain milestones.  And this first June 7th without him is alternately painful and uplifting.  Honestly, I’m not sure whether I should smile or cry.

Maybe I should do both.

So thank you, Dad, for all you are, for all that you taught, for all of you that remains and lives on through Mom, your sons, your grandsons and your friends.  Forever more, June 7th is Father’s Day.

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Festivus in Indy: What does it mean to Baltimore?

Posted on 15 January 2010 by Luke Jones

As thousands of Ravens fans journey to Indianapolis on Friday and Saturday, my thoughts begin drifting toward the significance of Saturday’s game in Baltimore football lore. While the outcome will ultimately determine it as triumph or bitter disappointment, Baltimoreans making the trip to the home of the stolen franchise—presumably the first time for most—is significant in and of itself.

Being 26 years old and belonging to a generation too young to remember the Colts playing in Baltimore—I was a mere five months old when the Mayflower vans left Owings Mills in the middle of the night—but having a father who lived and breathed that mystical era and educated me over the course of 21 years, my appreciation for our city’s football heritage cannot be overstated—it was all I had as a kid.

After all, while fans older than me had the memories of Johnny Unitas, Big Daddy Lipscomb, Bert Jones, and Mike Curtis in their hearts and minds, my generation grew up in a town full of cherished stories but void of first-hand experiences. To us, professional football was what they played in other cities while Baltimore desperately held the stories of yesteryear and an undying hope of the NFL eventually returning to the Charm City.

Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s while Baltimore pursued expansion and courted the Cardinals and Buccaneers, the mere mention of the city of Indianapolis made my father’s blood boil, and as a result, his impressionable son quickly adopted the same mentality, even without fully understanding why.

The notion that a team—your team—could pack up and leave town in the middle of the night was something I couldn’t begin to comprehend. For a 9-year old boy who absolutely lived and died with the Orioles (the only professional team in town), the possibility of them ceasing to exist in Baltimore was comparable to the sun not rising in the morning.

It wasn’t because of the people or the city itself—I knew nothing of them nor did I want to—but the fact that it became the residence of a team that so deeply mattered to my father, grandfather, and millions of others. In my youthful eyes, Indianapolis stole the birthright that was supposed to belong to me, an opportunity to witness and enjoy professional football and create many more memories with my father on fall Sunday afternoons.

I didn’t care about or understand the political or financial reasons for the move; all I knew was a devil-like man named Bob Irsay had stripped us of the horseshoe, the blue and white, and the record book that so naturally belonged in Baltimore—not Indianapolis.

It was a helpless feeling.

But, thankfully, we can fast-forward to the present.

The Ravens are again the toast of the town as they have been for the last decade. The city has another Super Bowl championship in its trophy case, a beautiful football stadium, and committed, local ownership. After 12 years in professional football purgatory (with no disrespect meant to the USFL Stars or the CFL Stallions), our city has quickly regained its place as one of the best football towns in the NFL. Just ask the fans in Foxborough last weekend.

While the bitterness and scars of the Colts leaving remain and it’s completely justified despite the ignorant remarks of less-educated fans to “get over it,” Baltimore has come out of that hardship better than ever. One can only point to the city gaining another team after 12 years and still winning a championship before Indianapolis earned its first ring as perfect justification.

Unquestionably, Saturday’s game between Baltimore and Indianapolis is first and foremost about winning and advancing to the AFC Championship. And that fact alone shows just how far this city has come since late March of 1984. Baltimore is far more excited about another playoff run than the chance to beat Indianapolis for the first time since 2001. Knocking Indy out of the postseason would simply be the icing on the Festivus cake.

Despite the excitement of the playoffs and a chance to return to the conference championship, this road trip to Indianapolis conjures up memories of my father and those empty Sundays during my childhood. While the Ravens gave us countless memories—including a Super Bowl title—before his passing in 2004, the long wait to create those football memories was frustrating, adding extra significance to this trip.

For that reason, I strongly feel his presence this week as we travel to that slimy city to prove how passionate Baltimore fans are about their football team and illustrate that Irsay may have abandoned the city and its fan base for another, but he never replaced—or even came close to matching—the passion that exists in the Charm City.

Indianapolis fans will witness thousands of Baltimoreans invading the city that stole its professional franchise 26 years ago.

Honestly, it’s no longer about the hate, the pain, or the bitterness, though it still exists in the hearts and souls of many.

This weekend is not only about winning a playoff game but also demonstrating to Indianapolis—and the rest of the NFL—that Baltimore is the far superior football town and always has been.

A Purple invasion and, hopefully, a win at Lucas Oil Stadium will prove it.

A victory may not erase 12 years without football and the empty Sundays of my youth, the January 2007 home playoff loss, or the scars of old Baltimore Colts fans, but it can finally cause something else to happen.

It might just give Baltimoreans a reason to smile when they think of Indianapolis.

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TODAY – The Sunday Morning Blitz ….

Posted on 25 October 2009 by Rex Snider

We might be entrenched in a bye-week, but there is still plenty of NFL action on this “7th Sunday” of the season. The SUNDAY MORNING BLITZ rolls on …..

Today, we’ll take a look at some prime matchups, like …..

Minnesota @ Pittsburgh

Chicago @ Cincinnati

New Orleans @ Miami

Atlanta @ Dallas

But, since the Ravens are not scheduled, this week, we are going to change things around over the final two hours. As I’ve mentioned during the week, John Ziemann, President of the Marching Ravens, will be joining us, in-studio.

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John was featured in Barry Levinson’s recent documentary, “The Band That Wouldn’t Die.” We’ll discuss some highlights from the program and solicit John’s opinion on topics, including John Elway, Jim Irsay and Paul Tagliabue.

Interested? Give us a call, at (410) 481-1570 …..

Of course, we’re going to promote the Marching Ravens (formerly Colts Marching Band), as well. It’s sure to be a GREAT Sunday .

And, as an added bonus – during the show’s first hour, we’ll be joined by Jeff Fertitta, a former standout baseball player at George Washington University. Jeff will be lending his opinions to today’s NFL action, the Major League Baseball postseason, and he’s going to play “Josh versus ……”

Has Josh been successful? Well, before the NFL season started, he spent his Saturday nights browsing Match.com …..

…. sitting next to girls – who pretended to be on their cellphones …..

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…. and hanging around auditions for the movie “Big Ben Roethlisberger – Steel City Buffet” …..

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Now, he’s THE MAN ……

….. Geeks even wanna be his friend …..

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….. WNST personalities talk to him – OUTSIDE the studio …..

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….. and those girls, affectionately known as “Dena Divas” follow him back to the trailer park, on Saturday night …..

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Tune in, starting at 9am ……

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The Heartbeat Of Baltimore Football Is Coming To WNST .....

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The Heartbeat Of Baltimore Football Is Coming To WNST …..

Posted on 21 October 2009 by Rex Snider

If you watched last week’s ESPN documentary, “The Band That Wouldn’t Die,” it’s very plausible to walk away with the rightful belief that ONE GUY really served as the catalyst holding the Baltimore Colts Marching Band and their hopes alive ……

He would disagree with you – while suggesting it was merely a group effort by people who loved and hugged a city. And, that same city “hugged them back” …..

John Ziemann really is the local symbol of HUMILITY and SELFLESSNESS.

Just don’t tell him.

I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting John, in person. We’ve talked, by phone, but never met ….. and, that’s about to change – in 4 days.

Since the Ravens have a bye week, we’re afforded the luxury of changing things around during WNST’s pregame show, “The Sunday Morning Blitz.” This Sunday, we’ll be joined, in-studio, by John Ziemann.

John led the Baltimore Colts Marching Band. He’s President the Marching Ravens. And, he was a featured participant in last week’s documentary.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “the program was pretty complete …. what angle will you cover?”

That’s a fair consideration.

From our perspective, there is still a lot to recount and learn. I’m not suggesting we dwell on a situation that will never change. That’s not productive.

However, John Ziemann is an authority on BALTIMORE FOOTBALL.

Maybe, he’s not as informed as the “insiders,” who cover the Ravens, as fixtures in the locker room, on gameday, as well as the team’s facility, in Owings Mills. And, perhaps, John Ziemann doesn’t have the scoop on what plagues this current Ravens squad and how to fix them.

I’m not sure anyone does.

But, if you do have that scoop – you might wanna visit the castle, and catch up with “Little Bill,” because he’s convinced nothing is really broken. In fact, according to him, the “essential element is in place.”

I feel better now – at least, ‘til Jim Irsay and his Colts come to town, in just one short month.

And, in speaking of Jim Irsay, we’ll learn a few things about the conflicted Colts owner, during our upcoming conversation with John Ziemann. In fact, John will carry the Irsay portion of Levinson’s piece a little further …..

I think Barry Levinson did an AWESOME job with the program.

But, it was limited on time – and, thus, limited on content.

Without divulging too much information, too soon (we want you to listen on Sunday !!!!), you’re gonna learn a few things from John …..

• Did you know Jim Irsay called John Ziemann, just a few days after the move to Indianapolis? Hmmm …. I wonder what they talked about?

• Did you know that when John suffered debilitating injuries, in a very serious auto accident, just a few short years ago, Jim Irsay was one of the first people reaching out to him?

• Did you know Ernie Accorsie was negotiating with Jack Elway and “all but had John signed” when Bob Irsay traded the quarterback to Denver?

• Did you know the “John Elway to the New York Yankees” chatter was a smokescreen? As one Yankees official told Accorsi, “he’s good – but not that good.”

• Did you know Jacksonville dropped out of the expansion process, but ONE GUY flew to Jacksonville and “talked ‘em back in”?

If you’re listening on Sunday, John Ziemann will be dishing about these topics, and MUCH MORE …..

And, yes, John will be taking phone calls.

So, if you watched Barry Levinson’s “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” and you want to ask questions or add something, give us a call. It’s a bye week, but we’re talking football.

In fact, we’re gonna be talking about the essence of Baltimore’s football heartbeat. As Little Bill would say, “the essential element is in place.” Indeed, it is …. and, it always has been.

But, that ELEMENT cannot be found in a locker room or field of play. The very element that is Baltimore football is already here – it’s always been here. And, John Ziemann will tell you about it …..

Tune in, on Sunday.

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The Audacity Of Jimmy Irsay .....

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The Audacity Of Jimmy Irsay …..

Posted on 15 October 2009 by Rex Snider

On Tuesday night, I looked forward to an evening of lounging in my LAZY-BOY, while fulfilling the chair’s design and name. I had absolutely no plans beyond reading some sports news and watching Barry Levinson’s “The Band That Wouldn’t Die,” on ESPN.

But, fate certainly intervened …..

Lucky me ….. I was treated to a couple doses of Indianapolis Colts owner, Jimmy Irsay, in the form of his contribution to Levinson’s documentary, as well as an internet article regarding some comments the former Baltimore businessman made concerning Rush Limbaugh’s prospective bid to purchase a minority stake of the St. Louis Rams.

My first Irsay encounter of the evening was actually in stumbling across the article by Tom Curran, on www.profootballtalk.com

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/10/13/colts-irsay-pans-limbaugh-ownership-involvement/

According to the article, Jimmy Irsay has publicly disclosed that he would oppose Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to become part of a group that purchases the St. Louis Rams. Let me be very clear – this blog concerns Jimmy Irsay – and not Rush Limbaugh, nor his controversial views.

In the article, Irsay referenced Limbaugh’s divisiveness. He further echoed his beliefs regarding the DAMAGE done by words. Really, Jim? Are you sure you absolutely believe this?

Better yet, do you live by it?

The following paragraph is a direct quote from Jimmy Irsay, as related by Curran …..

“I come from a different era where Marvin Gaye and John Lennon were speaking about [certain things] and we’ve been doing a slow crawl to some of the things they talked about. We don’t need to go the other way,” Irsay added. “We can’t go the other way where there isn’t forgiveness and understanding but we gotta watch our words in this world and our thoughts because they can do damage.”

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I absolute agree with Mr. Irsay’s philosophy. He’s right.

However, this is not how Jimmy Irsay has lived his life. And, it certainly is not how his father lived his life. Words are one thing – actions are much more significant. The Irsays have accomplished the feat of hurting an entire city of people with both !!!!

Less than hour later, I watched Jimmy Irsay’s interview on the Baltimore Colts Marching Band program. I watched it, again. And, again. And, again. And, again.

It took me five times, because I wanted to be absolutely certain about my suspicions. And, I am …..

In fact, they’re no longer suspicions.

Jimmy Irsay is either a hypocrite or he’s a conflicted man, who really hasn’t processed the significance of what he and his dad did to the people of Baltimore. And, there is hardly any comparison to what Rush Limbaugh has done, through his mere words.

Limbaugh’s transgressions are miniscule in proportion to the Irsays’.

While hurtful and offending to some people, Rush Limbaugh is really just an entertainer. He’s a persona – a character. He doesn’t govern or serve. He merely comes on the radio and inspires people to drink his brand of kool-aid. Nothing more, nothing less …..

Jim and Bob Irsay have done far worse. Heck, it’s not even close.

At about 8:03pm, on Tuesday, I watched the opening moments of Barry Levinson’s program as Jimmy Irsay confirmed in his own words that he knew the move to Indianapolis was coming – before it happened.

In fact, he further confirmed a more sinful action, on his part. Later in the program, Irsay admitted that he traveled to Indianapolis, at his father’s direction, to participate in brokering the deal.

In defending his father’s honor, Jimmy Irsay described him as having a “big, soft heart inside,” but that it had been taken away by the personal tragedies of losing two of his children, and alcoholism.

Personally, I think Jimmy Irsay revealed a very personal and private component of his family’s history that could have been easily suppressed. While these factors (deaths, substance abuse) were suspected, it was still a cooperative gesture for him to confirm their relevance, for the program.

I was impressed and moved by the disclosure.

However, in an ironic twist, this revelation occurred at about the same time (of the program) his father lied to the people of Baltimore, during a press conference, at BWI Airport. He denied ever going to Phoenix. It was later learned that he had been in Phoenix, negotiating a move, just days earlier.

In fact, Phoenix announced that it was withdrawing from consideration after Indianapolis came into the mix …..

The man lied to the people who supported the football team. He lied to their faces.

He snuck out of town – they all snuck out of town, like burglars, on a snowy morning, in late March, 1984.

Heck, you know the story.

You’ve heard it hundreds of times.

What’s changed now?

Well, thanks to the excellent work of Barry Levinson, I finally heard and saw Jimmy Irsay recount his participation in “the move.” His hands are filthy dirty with the grime of a slimy operation …..

I also watched his father lie, curse and betray an entire collective community that loved the football team he called “his own.” It was a team that existed before the Irsay’s got into football.

It’s a football team that will exist after the Irsays are out of football.

Is there any chance Jimmy Irsay will ever see this blog? Nah …..

But, think about it ….. could he see it? Would he even care?

In reading his comments about Rush Limbaugh, my naïve streak says Jimmy Irsay might come to his senses. Perhaps, he really does subscribe to the views of John Lennon. Would Lennon betray and scorn so many innocent people?

Realistic experience tells me Jimmy Irsay is galvanized to this city and it’s residents’ trauma, which is probably viewed as nothing more than hard feelings.

We have a new team, and I’m grateful to Art Modell and his family for taking a chance on Baltimore. It was a great decision. You can bet Wayne Weaver wishes he would’ve been awarded a team here, as opposed to Jacksonville.

On Tuesday, after reading Jimmy Irsay’s comments on Rush Limbaugh, I mumbled to myself, “how dare you” …..

Yet, after watching his father’s antics on the Colts Marching Band program, I simply concluded a very sad reality – the NFL has had far worse owners than the prospective Rush Limbaugh.

I think it’s fair to say Jimmy and Bob Irsay would make that list.

They did a lot of damage in this city. To an extent, it can be repaired. Bob Irsay cannot make amends. Jimmy still can.

After Tuesday’s show, the world knows Jimmy Irsay’s hands were far from clean in the entire “Baltimore to Indy” relocation. He was part of the conspiracy. Heck, he was an integral part of lying to and misleading a city – and sneaking the goods to a new home.

Yet, he wants to stand in judgement of Rush Limbaugh, who’s just a bigmouth divider? Are you kidding me, Jim?

Have you ever considered approaching the people of this city and burying the hard feelings? We don’t want your football team. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t want or deserve some contrition.

It would be the first step in restoring the integrity you’ll sorely need when deciding the plight of Rush Limbaugh and NFL hopes. Look at it this way, I’m just a slapdick talk show host, in Baltimore – and I’m calling you out.

Have you imagined what Rush Limbaugh will do, now that he is officially eliminated from the process? He’s taken down much bigger men than you – by exposing their pasts, and when it comes to the hypocrisy you’re displaying.

The sad truth is Bob and Jimmy Irsay never really BELIEVED in Baltimore. But, Jimmy should try …..

We might just surprise him.

You’re right, Jim. Words can do damage, but actions hurt far worse.

Isn’t it time to finally bury the past? You can be a bigger man than your dad. Family tragedies and alcoholism were his excuse. What is yours?

Talk to Steve Bisciotti – ask him for a couple minutes on the JumboTron, on November 22nd. Would you like a chance to put this in the past – on a positive note?

From a personal perspective, I’m not seeking an “apology” from Jim Irsay. I think apologies and demands for such are highly overrated. However, I do value someone’s endeavor to right a wrong, or reach out for some closure.

I don’t see how Jimmy Irsay can really wash his hands of the messy, sordid circumstances of 25 years ago, until he looks us in the eye. The sobering truth is Baltimore’s graveyards are full of people who died without some closure and resolution to the Colts’ departure.

When an NFL owner speaks out about issues of integrity and credibility, I want to trust them. I want to trust and believe Jim Irsay. But, he has some unfinished business to complete, before I can deem his future comments as valued.

I’s just the way I see it …..

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30for30

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Barry Levinson Plays Like a Raven

Posted on 14 October 2009 by Derek Arnold

30for30

Last night I, as I’m sure many of you did also, had the pleasure to watch Barry Levinson’s documentary, “The Band That Wouldn’t Die.” The 60-minute film, part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series, was a wonderful depiction of Baltimore’s loss of the Colts, and subsequent years of futile efforts to get the NFL back in town, using the Baltimore Colts Marching Band as a centerpiece. (See trailers and rebroadcast schedule information here)

This piece was the absolute best that I’ve ever seen on the subject. Head and shoulders above what ESPN did last year with their “Greatest Game Ever Played” documentary on the 1958 NFL Championship, and better still than any short 5-10 minute segments that local B’More channels have put together in the last 25 years.

I am 27 years old. I have no memory of the Baltimore Colts. I’ve heard the stories countless times, and at this point I fell pretty squarely in the “get over it” category regarding the Colts’ move to Indianapolis. The way Levinson told the story though, really articulated, better than anyone ever has, what losing the Colts meant to Charm City. I had heard stories about Robert Irsay – he was a drunk, an idiot, a lunatic. However, I wouldn’t have known the guy from Adam, had you shown me his picture. The footage Levinson included, of Irsay being too drunk to open the door at BWI Airport, and his subsequent expletive-filled press conference/tirade/tongue-lashing of the Baltimore media, during which he declared that he had no intentions of “moving the god damned team,” was something I had never before seen. I know now why my father’s and grandfathers’ blood boils at the mere mention of the name Irsay. I understand why it seems like so many in Baltimore are unable to “get over it,” despite having a great new NFL team to root for. And I HATE that drunken moron more than I ever have, for denying me the opportunity to root for the same team that men in my family and city did for 30 years.

As I heard one radio announcer put it today, (and I’m paraphrasing) “it’s like losing a family member. Everyone loses family members, but that doesn’t mean you love new additions to your family any less. Such is it with Baltimore and the Colts and Ravens.”

The story of the Baltimore Colts Marching Band, their 13 years of limbo, and their re-branding as Baltimore’s Marching Ravens, is a tale of civic pride and love that should be required viewing for any fan, of any sport, in any city.

If you didn’t catch it the first time around, make sure to clear your schedule or set your DVR for one of the times listed at the above link. You’ll be glad you did.

Thank you, Barry Levinson.

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