Thursday, January 25, 2018

It's Time to Pick a Side

In 1996, The Ravens arrived in Baltimore, giving my city an NFL team. Like many other people in the city, I already had a team. My team was just coming off their third Super Bowl in four years. They had my favorite players, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, and Emmit Smith. But now my city has a team. They also have a new set of stars. Ray Lewis, Michael Jackson, Jonathan Ogden, and Vinny Testaverde. What do I do? Well, I chose both. However, it is time to choose one.

Fast forward five years later, the Ravens were not one of, but the best team in the NFL while the Cowboys were getting older and getting old fast. The Ravens took me on a ride during their playoff debut. After every win, the hype grew around the city grew. 2000 was special. After the first four years of people looking at this team like, who are these guys, the Ravens belonged to Baltimore.  They would go on and win the Super Bowl. I still remember watching that game with my dad. I recorded it on my VHS and watched it over and over for years.

So as years went on, I found myself being disappointed not once, but twice in the same season. When the Cowboys were eliminated, it hurt. When the Ravens were eliminated, it hurt. 2007 may have hurt the most. This was the year that Dallas was really good and among the favorites from the NFC. While the Patriots were undefeated, the Cowboys were the best team in the NFC. But like the Cowboys, they cannot win in January. While they were 13-3 during the regular season, they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Every year it the predictions was the same thing. The Dallas Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl. And every year it was the same result, the Dallas Cowboys have been eliminated from playoff contention. Now the Ravens weren't any better, to be honest. It wasn't like they were winning the Super Bowl every year, but at least they won the Super Bowl in the ages where I could vividly remember.

Then 2012 happened. Now during this season, I was blessed to be able to intern with the Baltimore Sun and cover the Ravens. That is an experience that can never be duplicated. The highs and lows, I was right there in the thick of it. I was producing videos from practice and press conferences. It was amazing. Then the playoffs came. I vividly remember the road to the New Orleans as if it was yesterday. And when Colin Kaepernick overthrew Michael Crabtree, a small tear came out of my eye. The Ravens were seconds away from being Super Bowl Champions.

After the Ravens won that Super Bowl, my rooting interest grew more with the Cowboys. After all, the last time they won the Super Bowl, the internet wasn't standard in everyone's homes. And what did the Cowboys do? Only have two seasons in three years where they were among the favorites to come out of the NFC and yet again disappoint.

During my time at ESPN my friends, Aaron, Jeff, Ryan, Satin, and Wes, in particular, would NEVER let up. Pick a team! And when I left, they took to Twitter, pick a team! I even asked Skip Bayless about having two teams and I guess because one was the Cowboys, he said he understood. However, after the 2017 NFL season, a season where both teams missed the playoffs (so you can't say I'm staying on the hot team), I have decided to stay with the home and choose the Baltimore Ravens.

Now, this does not mean. Of course, I will still root for the Cowboys, but they have officially become number two. No more heartache and disappointment when they are one and done in January. No more needing to see whose record is better before choosing when they face the Ravens. Nope, I am strictly Ravens Nation. Now hopefully the Flock gets it together so that they can get their third Lombardi trophy in 2018.

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