In this week's Sixpack, field conditions and unwise fan banter are covered.
1. It looks like the NFL is going to be a little more active in making sure that teams take their home field conditions seriously. We have been beating the drum since the season ended, as have many people who saw the travesty that was the FedEx Field situation by the time the Wild Card game kicked off. Now I can't wait for that November game we host that features brand new sod...you know, the one where players trip and slip and everyone complains that the sod "has not yet taken."
2. I fly in and out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport a lot and last week was yet another trip where I got to spend some real quality time at the airport just a few miles out of the city of Baltimore. I bring this up because for some reason the Super Bowl already feels like it was ten years ago. The month following the final game of the season is simply brutal. Yet, when I walk into the terminal at the airport, I am reminded of a few things. First, no matter what time of the year it is, I see constant evidence that the NFL rules the land. Of people who wear sports apparel in transit, the majority rocks NFL gear.
3. The other thing that I am reminded of is that the Ravens won the Super Bowl. The thing about Baltimore fans is that they have been out and about forever. Whether they win or lose, you are going to see the purple and black gear displayed prominently. That is how many of us are about the Redskins. Walking through BWI, you can't turn around without seeing someone with a hat, a t-shirt, a jersey or a jacket with the Raven logo on it.
4. Beating Baltimore in the regular season was fun, and the game was simply unbelievably fun. That said, please don't make the mistake that I heard one guy make in the Silver Diner last week in the Southwest Airlines wing at BWI. There were two guys sitting together at the bar wearing enough purple to start a fashion war. It was 8:25 AM and they were both on their second beer--since I arrived--so naturally I respected the hell out of them. Another guy was caddy-corner to them, wearing a Houston Texans t-shirt. With Sportscenter playing on every TV and the beer flowing like wine, the topic of the NFL was bound to become a bar-wide conversation. As soon as the guy said the words, I was beyond astounded.
5. "You know, you guys had a hell of a run in the playoffs, and congrats on your Super Bowl win, but we thumped y'all pretty good in the regular season...makes me wonder who the best team really is..."
6. WHAT?!?!?! I immediately looked it up. The Texans waxed Baltimore 43-13 in Week Seven. Okay...so you got that going for you...which is nice. The Redskins could make a similar claim to multiple teams over the last few seasons, including Baltimore, but doing so would be insanely asinine. Not only does it matter little how you got to the Super Bowl, it matters less who you lost to in the regular season when you're hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year. Why do fans do this to themselves? The worst part of it all was the apathetic reaction the Texans fan got from the Ravens guys. They honestly didn't care. OOOOOHHHHHHH...that is worse--in my opinion--than revving up a spirited debate on the matter. And that's when it hit me--the Ravens have been so consistently good over the years that they don't even bother to take offense when some idiot fan suggests that an early season loss matters at all to champions. That's where I want to be. As I was wearing a Redskins visor, the Texans guy gave me a look like he wanted me to back him up. Instead, I stared at my oatmeal as if it was going to come alive, Calvin and Hobbes-style. The men in purple went back to their beers and conversation about Joe Flacco, content to let a fan whose team had never won a Super Bowl contemplate the next idiotic thing to say.