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Helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl with superstitions

Socks and purple hair and jerseys and divine intervention - oh, my!

February 03, 2013
  • Baltimore Ravens fan Jeff Cline hasn't shaved his goatee since his team has been winning.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

There’s no way to know whether special articles of clothing, facial hair or a particular snack had anything to do with the Baltimore Ravens’ victory over San Francisco in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

But those who practiced such quirky superstitions on behalf of the Ravens can take pleasure in the idea they might have played a role in the win.

Following is a sampling of what some area residents did to try to give Baltimore an edge:

Mismatched socks and more

Justin Anthony of Williamsport wears mismatched socks and the same boxer shorts and black University of Maryland basketball shorts for every Baltimore Ravens game.

The local Ravens fan said he started wearing the boxers and a pair of mismatched socks after he wore such an ensemble during the Ravens’ victory at their first home game this season.

The University of Maryland shorts were later added for the game outfit, Anthony said.

Anthony said he didn’t have the basketball shorts on at the beginning of the Ravens recent playoff game against the New England Patriots.

“I ran up into my room and changed,” Anthony said.

He pointed out that after he made the swap, the Ravens scored.

The socks don’t have to be the same ones for every game, just a mismatched pair, said Anthony, who predicted the final score would be 21-17, with the Ravens coming out on top.

A goatee

Washington County Commissioner Jeff Cline has been sporting a goatee in recent weeks, one he planned to keep at least through Sunday’s big game.

Last week in the Raven’s Roost at Always Ron’s on Burhans Boulevard, Cline recounted how he recently had knee-replacement surgery, a procedure that was delayed by an infection.

Before the surgery, he was advised not to shave as a precaution against any nicks that might get infected, Cline said. He had grown stubble by the time the Ravens and Indianapolis Colts met in the AFC Wild Card Game.

The Ravens won, 24-9.

“When they beat Indianapolis, I decided to let it grow,” said Cline, who was wearing a Ravens fleece sweater. “I’m not shaving it until they lose.”

The Ravens went on to a 38-35 divisional playoff win in double overtime against the Denver Broncos and beat the New England Patriots 28-13 in the AFC Championship Game.

Cline said he thought about spraying his whiskers purple for the Super Bowl, but said, “that might ruin my karma.”

Cline said he probably would shave sometime after the game, win or lose, although it was suggested that letting it grow after a Ravens’ Super Bowl win might position Baltimore to repeat next year.

Ray Rice in church ...

Washington County resident Arnold Cerezo said he occasionally tries to summon a little divine intervention before Ravens games.

“I have to wear my jersey, my Ray Rice jersey, during the game,” Cerezo said. “Sometimes, I even wear it to church.”

Cerezo said he was a Baltimore Colts fan until the team moved to Indianapolis in 1984.

With the Colts’ departure, Cerezo said he started to root for the Washington Redskins, but lost interest in professional football when his Marine unit deployed to Asia. He said he started to follow the sport again after his discharge from the service.

Cerezo said he has been a Ravens fan since the team moved to Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996.

If the Ravens sputter during games, Cerezo said, he usually turns off the television and gets updates on the score from other sources.

He said he believed the Denver Broncos would represent the American Football Conference in this year’s Super Bowl, and was pleasantly surprised when the Ravens upset the Broncos in the playoffs on Jan. 12.

Cerezo said he plans to watch the game in Middletown, Md., with family and friends, and hopes San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shows his youth.

“I hope he chokes,” Cerezo said. “I hope (Ravens quarterback Joe) Flacco plays his big game.”

... and elsewhere

Washington County Circuit Court Judge Donald E. Beachley is a pretty serious Baltimore Ravens fan and the subject has been known to come up during courtroom lulls while he is on the bench.

Beachley’s playoff talisman has been a jersey.

“My daughters gave me a Ray Rice jersey for Christmas and I’ve been wearing it during the playoffs,” Beachley said last week. “I’ll be wearing it again on Sunday.”

The Ravens’ running back gained 1,143 yards on 257 carries and 478 yards on 61 receptions, but none more important than the one he pulled in on a fourth-and-29 play with the Ravens down three against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 25.

That fourth down conversion and the Ravens eventual win kept the team’s postseason hopes alive, allowing them to weather the loss of four of their last five games.

A pro’s perspective

Mike Collier, who played in Super Bowl X with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976 when they beat the Dallas Cowboys, said that for good luck, he focused on what he ate the night before any game, and it was not exactly healthy.

“I had to have two slices of cheesecake and two glasses of milk the night before a game,” he said. “I ate that the night before my first preseason game, and I had a super game. It was one of the games that led to me making the team.”

Collier, 59, of Hagerstown, said the night before the Super Bowl, he went through the same routine, and in the game had a 25-yard kick return following a safety to set up the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, helping the Steelers defeat the Cowboys, 21-17.

The former running back and return specialist who played for the Steelers in 1975 and the Buffalo Bills in 1977 and 1979, said many of his teammates had their own superstitions.

“We had guys that had to sit at the front of the bus, had to have the same T-shirt that they wore underneath their shoulder pads, had to drive the same route to the stadium ... it was just crazy,” he said.

Despite remaining a Steelers fan, Collier said he has not maintained his lucky diet superstition since he retired from the game. However, he said, since his co-workers at Martin’s grocery store on Dual Highway, where he is a supervisor, are Ravens fans, he would consider downing some cheesecake Saturday night for them.

Purple hair

Ravens fan Melissa Smith, 43, of Hagerstown, said she colored her hair purple and black during the past three NFL seasons and left it that way until the Ravens were no longer playing. She changed it up this year, though.

“Normally, I just do purple streaks, but this year, the whole head went purple,” she said.

She speculated she might have carried the Ravens to the Super Bowl “this year, since I did it all purple.”

Smith said she intends to sport purple hair every season from now on.

Shopping for shirts

Lori Kesecker, 53, of Martinsburg, W.Va., has been a Ravens fan for 12 years. She was shopping in Hagerstown Thursday, trying to buy some luck in the form of Ray Lewis shirts.

“Maybe if we wear his shirts, it’ll bring good luck, since he’s retiring,” she said. “I think everybody’s pulling for him, since it’s his last game.”

Compiled by staff writers Don Aines, Caleb Calhoun, Dan Dearth and Dave McMillion.

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