Archive for January, 2012

Delusions of (what’s the opposite of grandeur?)
January 20, 2012

Foxborough, MA

The Patriots arrive in the AFC Championship game with a 14-3 record, home field advantage as the number one seed, and having just eviscerated the Broncos 45-10. The Ravens meanwhile show up as the 2 seed and having just eeked past playoff nubie Houston. Las Vegas says the Ravens are a 7.5 point under dog.

Frankly, that’s right where the Ravens want them. They love the role off under dog. It’s a blue collar city the relishes the idea of “us against the world.”

And that’s why I’m so confused right now.

Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch today said the Patriots were the under dogs. That the Patriots get no love from national media. That ESPN has gone a month without showcasing the Patriots.

It’s a strange world here at Patriot Place. Reality has no home in New England. Patriots owner Bob Kraft also said he’s flying in Steven Tyler to sing the national anthem because he’s lucky for the Pats. Now I know why the Celtics have a leprechaun as their mascot. It’s all fantasy land here in Massachusetts.

Incidentally, Rex Ryan chimed in on the AFC Title game. As poorly as he’s done in predictions, not sure his support is all that welcome!


A Plus on the Ravens
January 14, 2012

3 year old Garrett Kellner knows more of the Ravens and what they do than I’d say 80% of Ravens fans. This is who completely remarkable, and while a bit long, I encourage you to watch the entire thing. Thanks to Ravens Media Relations Director Chad Steele for first pointing this YouTube video out on Twitter:

Arrival time for Joe Flacco
January 12, 2012

Despite Joe Flacco putting up nearly identical statistics to in 2011 as he did the last two seasons (Joe threw for 3,613  3,622 & 3,610 yds the last 3 years), Flacco is a very different quarterback right now. Different in style of play and different in his communication skills.

The first three years with Joe, if we heard an emotional sound bite I can’t recall it. The aw shucks kid just went about his job happy to be here. But signs of change arrived during the off season.

Flacco openly criticized his play caller Cam Cameron for being too conservative in the 4th quarter.  And he expressed serious frustration over the firing of his quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn.

During the season we’ve seen Joe, it not lash out something like it, at media and fans for criticizing his play or the Ravens to throw the ball excessively in losses.  At the core of this anger was the view Flacco has of himself vs. the view from most others.

He sees himself as a very good quarterback, capable of doing all the things we see from Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.  “You guys do realize, they don’t run the ball?”   He offers incredulity at skepticism about his abilities.

In Baltimore the reigning sentiment is Joe can be very good, but still sits on the outside looking in at stardom.  And nationally, Joe has more detractors than  ESPN’s Skip Bayless (the most prominent of which is Skip Bayless.) 

All of which may be reconciled during this playoff run.  Play mistake free football, make big throws in the 4th quarter, and reach the Super Bowl then the love will flow from all around.  Fall short against the likes of T.J. Yates and the mountainous climb to the top changes from Appalachian to Andian. 

It really does all set up beautifully for Joe and the Ravens this year.  No Peyton Manning to get in the way, a home game against a team they already beat by 15 points in Baltimore, and a collective level of health unprecedented for them in mid-January. 

If not now, then when?


Catching Up
January 5, 2012

The Ravens playoff run has taken its toll on my time with this blog. My apologies. Here is my latest AP men’s basketball ballot. I will check back in soon with a Ravens playoff preview. In the meantime, Terps fans enjoy this

1. Syracuse
2. Kentucky
3. North Carolina
4. Duke
5. Baylor
6. Ohio State
7. Connecticut
8. Missouri
9. Georgetown
10. Indiana
11. Michigan State
12. Louisville
13. Mississippi State
14. Michigan
15. Florida
16. Kansas
17. Wisconsin
18. Virginia
19. UNLV
20. Kansas State
21. Marquette
22. San Diego State
23. Murray State
24. Harvard
25. Cincinnati