Monday, September 8, 2008

Where's the Love for the Ravens?

I'm becoming increasingly irritated with the national media's coverage of the NFL. They tend to treat it like a TV series where you have a handful of main characters (in this case, The Colts, The Patriots, The Cowboys, Last Year's Super Bowl Champs, and whatever team Farve is currently playing on), the semi-regular guest stars (usually The Steelers, The Eagles, The Seahawks, and maybe The Jaguars), and the bit players and extras (the remaining 23 teams). The Ravens are akin to a slab-bound crystal meth addict on an episode of CSI.

Case in point: The Ravens beat The Cincinnati Bengals 17 to 10 in their season opener Sunday in front of nearly 71,000 fans in M&T Bank Stadium. We're starting the season with a new head coach, mostly new coaching staff, a re-vamped offensive line, and a rookie quarterback who was meant to be a third-stringer until two weeks ago. And we won! So I'm watching Football Night in America, and instead of focusing on this Cinderella story, the ex-jocks in the glass cage can only rant about how poorly the Bengals played, as if they had money riding on the game or something. They literally did not mention the Ravens at all except to say "Flacco Who?" The Number 18 First Round Draft Choice, you big boobs!!!!

I realize that The Bengals are a crappy team and there's a lot more football down the road, but you can a least throw a bone to a team that struggling to rebound from a 5-11 season. Besides, no matter how well we do, the national media seems to take some sadistic glee in ignoring us or downplaying our success. Back in 2006, when we had won our first four games in a row, I was still hearing more about Tony Romo and he hadn't even taken his first snap as a starter yet. They had already elevated him to the calibre of Manning and Brady before he had done anything. Such is the nature of star-making from the likes of NBC and ESPN. The hot-and-heavy bromance that John Madden has for Tony Romo is truly distasteful!

When I was a kid, I loved to watch the Olympics on ABC because they always did those up-close-and-personal segments showing how some poor family in Podunk, Iowa hauled their kid to the skating rink at four o'clock every morning and ate Mac N' Cheese for eight years so they could afford to buy her proper skates and outfits. I loved that stuff because it showed the true sacrifice of the underdog with a dream. The overcoming of adversity to rise to the top. We don't seem to care about that anymore. We just want to see people who are automatically winners through birth or connections or dumb luck. Those struggling for greatness are viewed indifferently by the media. They'd rather play sicophants to those who are already on the top than seek out the true human drama in the up-and-comers.

The Ravens are going through a come-from-behind transition right now. I understand that former coach Brian Billick and some of the hot-headed veterans on the team created a reputation for The Ravens being the east coast version of The Raiders. But John Harbaugh is working hard to change that image, and he has a lot of rookie players who are buying into his mission. The low number of penalties in yesterday's game point to such a change. Why can't the media jump on this story as it's unfolding rather than take the wait-and-see attitude as they are prone to do? I suspect, even if we miraculously pull out enough wins to get a wild card slot in the playoffs, Bob Costas and the boys will still be wringing their hands and wasting air time over Brady's knee rather than saying anything nice about Baltimore.

1 comment:

theminx said...

But Brady's knee is BIG NEWS! Big for all of the teams in the AFC too...bwahahahahahaha!