Bowl about beer, Ravens and revenge

February 01, 2001

Bowl about beer, Ravens and revenge

Leave my quarterback unbroken

Don't turn him into dust and gore

Take thy cleats from out my heart

And take thy logo off my door

Quoth the Ravens, "Never score."

(Memo to eighth-grade English teachers: Be careful what you make your kids read - they may actually remember it 25 years later and put it to thoroughly inappropriate use.)

Solace? Perhaps. I used to split my affections between the Vikings and the Colts before Irsay's moving vans came. And since the Vikings did it to me again this year, the curse, I felt it was legitimate to jump on the Ravens' bandwagon.


Besides, having grown up with the Purple People Eaters, I've always loved defense. Defense used to be a big deal back in 1974 when, come to think of it, Aerosmith was recording "Walk This Way," so this was a throwback game in more ways than one.

If you were a Ravens fan, you only needed to use four words the entire game. When Giants' quarterback Kerry Collins had the ball you shouted, "cream him" and when Ravens' quarterback Trent Dilfer had the ball you shouted, "don't fumble."

If the Ravens' no-nickname defense (I suggested "The Scarecrows" to no avail) creamed and Baltimore's offense didn't botch it, you knew everything would be OK. When it was 10-0 many people stopped watching; they knew the game was over.

I learned something, though. I've always hated arrogant, bullying, cocky, crass, profane, rude, ill-mannered, trash-talking, thug teams such as the '70s Oakland Raiders or the '80s Miami Hurricanes. But when MY team is the arrogant, bullying, cocky, crass, profane, rude, ill-mannered, trash-talking, thug team, it is actually kind of cute. (Two weeks ago when Baltimore played Oakland for the AFC championship, a Raiders fan had a sign that said something like "What's going on? We're the good guys.")

So now when I see an interview with unfairly harassed linebacker Ray Lewis I think to myself "This borderline space dragon is on my side! Isn't that nice?"

Good thing I was interested in the game, because the golden age of commercial writing certainly seems to have peaked. Those old stalwarts Pepsi and Budweiser are fading and the new guys aren't getting it done.

Two of the Volkswagen ads made no sense whatsoever, although at least we do know that Volkswagen makes cars. By contrast, Cingular Wireless apparently doesn't make wires, but what it does make is unclear and their commercials certainly didn't provide any clue.

And then, on one of the few days a year we can sit back and have our minds taken off worldly troubles, we were assaulted by the American Legacy Foundation's anti-smoking ads.

Please. The Super Bowl isn't about smoking cessation, it's about violence and beer and snack products with the fat content of Kathy Kinney. Can't those Donnie Dogooders give us just one day out of the year in which they are not harping on our bad habits?

Of course, I don't really mean it when I say the Super Bowl is about violence, beer and food. As Maryland Comptroller and former Gov. William Donald Schaefer loftily proved, the Super Bowl is about more than all that. The Super Bowl is about revenge.

Schaefer took great glee in watching an obviously uncomfortable football Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (who is blamed for keeping a team out of Baltimore for so long) award the Lombardi Trophy to the Ravens.

"Oh, that bum," Schaefer said in a televised interview. "I remember when he took our team. We won that franchise and he took it away from us."

You've got to love someone who may forget a face, but never forgets a grudge.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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