Friday, November 30, 2007

Week 13 Preview - Black Out

Purple Power is so 2006. Fortunately for Ravens fans, this Monday night, in front of the entire (American) football-watching world, Baltimore’s best will be bathed in black for their showdown with the undefeated New England Patriots. The players will all be wearing black uniforms. The cheerleaders will all be wearing black skirts. The night sky – most likely black by kickoff. And this blogger will join the party and put on my Monday’s best for the black out. I recommend you do the same.

In the tradition of the great American White Out (I don’t think it’s ever actually been called that, but from Miami, FL to State College, PA, the art of wearing white has won over sports fans across the country) I propose a black out. Why? First, the blimp shot will look much cooler if everyone is wearing the same color. Second, the show of camaraderie among fans will reflect the ‘one-for-all’ team message/musketeer motto that Brian Billick has preached the last few weeks. And third, with the switch of a letter, a black out may just help us block out the first 11 games of the season. Consider this Week 1 (of 5) in which the Ravens, and their fans, get a chance to show the NFL what we’re made of. With nationally televised games against New England and Indianapolis, coupled with match-ups against two division leaders – Seattle and the Steelers – the Ravens will be relevant the rest of the way. We might as well make a little noise.

Of course the color scheme won’t actually affect the outcome of the game. A game that Samari Rolle has called, “our Superbowl.” And he might be right. Consider that fans of every team will be watching, as well as casual sports fans following the Pats pursuit of perfection. We are playing the best team in the league; a team that John Madden proclaimed to have the best offense he’s ever seen; and a team that Billick described as, “…as good a team as I've seen in this league in a long, long time. They're as advertised."

Speaking of advertising, although commercials during the broadcast cost closer to $300K per 30 seconds, rather than the $3 Million commanded by the penultimate game, the promotion of Monday Night Football has been in full swing since August. Commercials depicting some of the greatest moments in MNF history have been running on the Worldwide Leader, including an upset of Brady and the boys by Nick Saban’s Dolphins last year. I don’t know if that’s proof that the Patriots will perform poorly on Monday night, considering Jabar Gaffney was only the receiver on the field still on the active roster, but it does deliver a message that most NFL fans flock to – don’t underestimate the underdog. Especially under the lights.

Breaking up the black on Monday will be white rally towels, distributed prior to the game, courtesy of Snapple and GMC. Adding a little light to the night, a fireworks display is also scheduled for the pre-game introductions. Both promotions are intended to fire up the crowd and show the audience at home just how passionate Ravens fans can be. After all, our stadium experience is ranked 5th in the NFL and the Ravens Brand is considered the 12th strongest out of all teams in the three major sports and hockey (sorry, eh). The special effects will also be intended to give ESPN, whose broadcast starts around sunrise, a few clips to beam back to bars and living rooms around the country. The footage, known as ‘b-roll’ in the business, will most likely include a few beauty shots of our fair Baltimore, which the camera crews will capture over the weekend. So my plea for wearing your colors on your sleeve is not just for Monday, but break out the black (and purple) this weekend. You never know, you might just wind up on TV. Coffeeonthe50 Tip: If you’ve watched most Monday night games, you’ll notice that the scenic shots usually involve each city’s specific cuisine, so your best bet at stardom may be at the crab houses near the harbor.

The spread (as of this blogging) is at +20. We’re not only favored to lose, Vegas would consider it a victory if we stayed within 3 touchdowns. So what?! If we can’t beat the Patriots at home, than making the playoffs would have been pointless. It’s not as if Bill Belichick gets to adopt Ed Reed if we don’t win. No, the only thing on the line is our pride. Pride in the city. Pride in the Ravens. And on Monday night, our pride for the men in black.

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