Friday, March 22, 2013
What else can go wrong for Ravens?
By Jamison Hensley
When the news broke that the Baltimore Ravens are opening the 2013 season on the road, you had to wonder what did they do to anger the football gods.
For five weeks in the postseason, everything went right for the Ravens. For the past two weeks, everything has gone wrong. Painfully wrong. Ravens players talked during the playoffs about how you couldn't write a better storybook finish to a season. It seems that Stephen King is now writing the Ravens' script this offseason.
Has any defending Super Bowl champion ever suffered so many demoralizing blows? No other Super Bowl champion has lost more than five starters, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Ravens have already lost seven starters and that number could raise as high as nine (which accounts for 41 percent of the starting lineup).
The Ravens waved goodbye to two of the best three players in franchise history this offseason in linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed. They parted ways with last year's leader in receiving yards (wide receiver Anquan Boldin), tackles (safety Bernard Pollard), sacks (linebacker Paul Kruger) and interceptions (cornerback Cary Williams).
Now, the Ravens won't open their Super Bowl title defense at home because of a scheduling conflict with Major League Baseball. The national spotlight and the pre-game pageantry will be in Denver, Pittsburgh, Miami or wherever the NFL chooses to send Baltimore. This doesn't ruin the Ravens' season. It just takes away a reward that has been bestowed on the last nine Super Bowl champions.
The only good move for the Ravens has been re-signing quarterback Joe Flacco, and some would argue giving him the richest contract in NFL history wasn't really a positive for the team.
No one is suggesting you should feel sympathy toward the Ravens. They still have the Lombardi Trophy and lifelong memories like Lewis' final dance, Flacco's miracle throw to Jacoby Jones in Denver and the last-minute goal line stand in New Orleans. But the past two weeks has turned the Ravens' Super Bowl party into more of a wake.