Unlocking the Ravens Redskins Rivalry
With only 32 miles separating Baltimore and DC, the Ravens vs Redskins rivalry should be one of the most intense in the league. However, because the Ravens and Redskins play in different conferences and only play meaningful games just once every four years, the rivalry is not as intense with the players as it is between the fans. Should you care as a Maryland football fan? Absolutely.
The departure of the Baltimore Colts left Charm City devastated. The iconic pictures of the Mayflower Trucks will forever be burned in our memories. You see, if you were born in Maryland, you were raised to be a Baltimore, Maryland sports fan. Washington D.C. was just our next door neighbor. The Colts left behind a successful and proud legacy of professional football in Baltimore. They brought home four championships (3 NFL Championships and 1 Super Bowl) led by several superstar players of those eras; Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, John Mackey, Art Donovan, and Coach Don Shula. This was all taken from us on that dreary March day.
As one evil owner departed (Bob Irsay), a new one forcefully entered into our lives. In 1985 Jack Kent Cooke (JKC) obtained sole ownership of the Washington Redskins. In an attempt to take advantage of the heartbroken Baltimore football fans, JKC made several passes at monopolizing the Mid-Atlantic region and turning it into Washington Redskins territory. From 1985 to 1996 the Baltimore television market was dominated with Redskins games and Redskins coverage thanks to JKC’s influence. In many ways, this is still true today. Ever tuned into Comcast Sportsnet, who operates out of Bethesda, Maryland? Yea, the Ravens always play second fiddle on this network.
The state of Maryland worked diligently during that dark era to bring a team back home to Baltimore. In the background though, was JKC. As the dilapidated RFK stadium was nearing its end, JKC decided he needed to put his new stadium in Maryland; close enough to DC and Baltimore, convincing NFL officials that this area needed only one NFL team – just so he could cash in. His initial plan was to put the stadium in Anne Arundel County, in the heart of central Maryland and one of Baltimore’s largest suburbs. He lost out on his Anne Arundel County bid, but did find a landing spot in Landover, located in PG County. In 1995, during the expansion meetings of adding two NFL teams, JKC gave his input and swayed voters not to give Baltimore a vote. Ultimately, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers were born. And do you really think Jacksonville wanted a team? They haven’t sold out a game in years and haven’t even come close. In fact most of their games are blacked out in their own market, just to push fans to attend the home games. Since the Ravens arrived, Baltimore has sold out every single game. No, Jacksonville didn’t really want a team. JKC just really didn’t want Baltimore to have its own team.
In the end, things eventually worked out for Baltimore, as the Ravens were founded in 1996. Many Redskins fans will call us the “Baltimore Browns” as if that actually digs deep, but last I checked, the Browns are currently playing in Cleveland, so don’t let that bother you. Just remember, Maryland; Jack Kent Cooke and the Washington Redskins organization is who we can thank for brainwashing many of our brothers and sisters into believing that Redskins are the home team and that the state of Maryland is just a little place inside the “Washington Metropolitan Area.”
Since the Ravens arrival, we have pretty much dominated the Redskins. The Ravens are 3-1 against the Redskins in the regular season and 4-2 in preseason match-ups for a combined record of 7-3. When comparing the success of the two franchises, Redskins fans will often lead with the question: “How many rings do you have? We have three and you only have one.” Well, Redskins fans, that is not the end of this story. You’ve actually won 5 total championships (winning the NFL championship in 1937 and 1942) in 78 years for a total championship winning percentage of 6 percent. The Ravens have won one Super Bowl in 14 years for a championship winning percentage of 7 percent. If you want to dig a little deeper, the Baltimore Colts won 4 championships in 31 years. Combine that with the Ravens, Baltimore football has 5 championships in 45 years for a combined championship winning percentage of 11 percent. Baltimore wins championships nearly twice as much as DC does.
This rivalry is between the fans and it’s about taking ownership of our state. Cheering for any team is not just about cheering on that team to win…it’s about taking pride in your heritage, your upbringing, and your home. In the end, the joke is on the Redskins. They are the organization without a real identity. One that has its headquarters in Ashburn, VA, plays “home” games in Maryland, and calls themselves the Washington Redskins. If the Nationals can figure it out, so can the Redskins.
It’s time for Maryland to step up to the plate and let everyone know who Maryland’s Team really is. Maryland is not just a little piece of land located in the Washington Metropolitan area. Maryland is Maryland. The Ravens are our team. Let our voice be heard.