The Baltimore Perspective

Tonight, the Detroit Lions take on the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in prime time on a Friday night. Usually, this would be one of the biggest games of the year, hyped on ESPN, obsessed over by Lions and Ravens fans alike – a true measuring stick for all parties. There would be Harbaugh story lines (Schwartz didn’t exactly get along with his little brother), homecoming story lines (Schwartz grew up just outside of Baltimore), and a bunch of Tebow story lines (because what isn’t a Tebow story line on ESPN these days). But  this time it happens in the preseason, so that kills the mood a little. Still, the Lions would do well to realize that this game counts for something more than a meaningless preseason game.

Baltimore is one of the truly great and consistent franchises in football. In a day and age where a football team can change its fortunes almost overnight, Baltimore has done well to do the exact opposite. I was present the last time the Lions traveled to Baltimore to take on the eventual AFC wild card winners. It was a wet, windy, cold December day in Baltimore. It’s still the coldest that I’ve ever been simply because I wasn’t going to miss a minute of the only Lions game I had ever attended just to find some warmth. On that day, the Baltimore Ravens started guys that have consistently played the same spot for them ever since, with Joe Flacco at QB, Ray Rice at RB, Ray Lewis at MLB, Lardarius Webb at CB, and Ed Reed on injury report (baZING!). Meanwhile, the Lions featured Daunte Culpepper, Larry Foote, Ernie Sims, Phillip Buchanon, Dennis Northcutt, and a few familiar faces, like Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, and Jason Hanson. That game would not be one of the eventual 2 wins the Lions had that year. That Detroit Lions team lost 48-3. Ray Rice ran for a career high 151 yards…by halftime. I remember hearing Ravens fans that day wonder aloud whether he’d break the single-game rushing record. The game was over so fast that it felt like a preseason game. By the 3rd quarter, no one cared to root for their team any more…

…Except for me. In the grand scheme of things, the Lions probably forgot that game as soon as they possibly could, Ravens fans had their fun and tossed the game aside like it was nothing. But for one Lions fan, at least, that was the first real sight of this team I root so passionately for. Tonight will be no different. I’ll be at the game (along with my Ravens fanatic girlfriend), but this time I will be bringing along my parents. Despite being a Lions fan since his childhood (when the Lions were actually good), and the creator of a die hard Lions fan, this will be the first Lions game my dad has ever been to. So while this game might be “meaningless” to some (the Lions included), Jim Schwartz and company should take this game seriously. They should look back to 2009 and remember what this team did to them when they were beaten, bruised, and building towards a standard that they have since established – an expectation of greatness. Time provides the greatest perspective. Whether it’s the stability through the years of the Ravens, the hardships of rebuilding under Jim Schwartz, the decades of mediocrity that my dad has seen pass, or the value of a first live Lions game, look back to 2009 and let this game be a little bit of perspective, rather than just another throw away.

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3 thoughts on “The Baltimore Perspective

  1. Dan Bos says:

    I was at this game too! It was only my second Lion’s game ever, and i enjoyed it a ton. I thought our offense looked pretty good, and our defense was mediocre. Although they didn’t score a touchdown, i think that’s due to the Raven’s lack of offense not necessarily the Lion’s D. As a Michigan boy recently displaced to MD, I am slowly becoming a big Raven’s fan. I think there is a lot to like about their organization, but the Lion’s will always be my #1.

    • nwashuta says:

      Thanks for reading, Dan!

      There were actually a lot of Lions fans at the game and they all seemed pretty friendly and happy to see other Lions fans. You’re right about the Lions’ defense. Against the 1st team Ravens offense, they mostly took advantage of Ravens miscues to get off the field. After that, I thought they did a great job against Tyrod Taylor. They kept him contained in the pocket for 2 downs and let him go ahead and run for 5 yards on 3rd and long.

      • Dan Bos says:

        Yeah. I especially loved when on third and a manageable distance Taylor threw the ball away because he thought there was a offsides penalty. I think the Raven’s will be in serious trouble if Flacco ever goes down for an extended period of time. Do you follow the Ravens since you are in the area, or do you hate them because you are in the area?

        Love what i have read so far of your blog! I have only been following during this offseason, so i can’t wait for your in season analysis!

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