As the Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens get the honor of kicking off the 2013 season on Thursday, Sept. 5. There's only one problem -- the Orioles are playing in the same downtown sports complex that night.
"We've made contact with the Orioles," Ravens team president Dick Cass told The Baltimore Sun. "We recognize the issue. We are confident we can work it out with the Orioles."
The Orioles could move their game against the White Sox to earlier in the day to avoid parking and traffic issues. If the Orioles are unwilling to change the game time, the NFL could also play the season opener on Wednesday night, as it did in 2012, when officials decided to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention.
As for the Ravens' opponent, that won't be announced until the owners meetings in March. Based on the SportsNation poll, fans want to see the Ravens play either the Steelers or Patriots. Of the 7,115 votes, 41 percent chose the Steelers and 34 percent went with the Patriots.
Here are some selected comments from the AFC North mailbag about the preferred season-opening opponent:
Peter from New Orleans: Patriots. While opening the season with the best rivalry in football (Ravens-Steelers) would certainly befit the Ravens' new prime-time status, a win over the other top AFC team from the year before would give the Ravens much more momentum going into what will be a difficult road to a Super Bowl repeat.
Dan from Bremerton, Wash.: Steelers. Why? 1. The Ravens will want to rub it in the Steelers noses that they are the defending Super Bowl champs. 2. The Steelers would love nothing better than the opportunity to go down and ruin the Ravens party. 3. The TV ratings will be ginormous for the biggest current rivalry in the NFL.
Zack from Baltimore: Steelers. I'd like to see Patriots at Ravens too, but I think all of us Ravens fans can agree that there is no better way to open up the season than with a drubbing our our most hated rivals in the Black and Yellow.
Nathan from Baltimore: Texans. I realize it might not sound like the better idea, but rivalry games that impact the season as much as the ones when the Ravens face the Patriots and Steelers should get a special reservation in late to midseason. Save those games for when the chase for the playoffs is on. The Texans will still provide a thrilling game between two elite teams, and as a Ravens fan, this is the one team I feel we haven't gotten our revenge on for last year.