Dear Purple Chaos readers and Baltimore Ravens fans,
First and foremost, thank you all.
Thank you for your dedication, support, and loyalty this past NFL season. I say this without hesitation: Ravens fans are the best in any sport. When I started this site last year, my goal was to create a portal of information and news about our beloved Ravens. As months went by, it became more than just that; The Purple Chaos morphed into a strong community. I’ve met more Ravens fans this past year through this site while in California than I have ever met in my entire life in Maryland. So thank you to everyone that I met in 2010. For those I do not know yet, I look forward to meeting you in 2011.
Although this season didn’t end the way we all wanted (actually it ended in the absolute worst way possible by losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs), there were many great things to be happy about. To list a few off the top of my head:
- The longevity and health of Ray Lewis. Finishing his 15th season, Lewis started every single game last year (and only missed 5 snaps out of a total 1,116). This machine will continue running next year and will once again quiet his critics.
- The ball-hawking, play-making coverage ability of Ed Reed. 10 games, 8 interceptions. Just imagine what he could have done in 6 more games of football. If Reed gets 100% healthy this offseason, 2011 might be the best season of his career— mark my word on that.
- The continued progression of Joe Flacco. People say the ceiling has been hit for Flacco, that his abilities have peaked. Well if you consider the stats, Joe “Cool” has reached many career bests in 2010: passing yards (3,622), touchdowns (25), interception low (10), and QB rating (93.6). While the argument is that Flacco still can’t win the “big games,” we fail to realize how young he is. Cut him some slack; didn’t you see Matt Ryan’s choke performance in the playoffs? These quarterbacks just need experience through age. With one more regular season under his belt, Flacco should be ready with the confidence to lead his team to a Super Bowl.
- The monstrosity of Terrell Suggs. Making his 4th Pro Bowl appearance, T-Sizzle has clearly returned to form— and when I mean form, I’m referring to a raging bull. This unstoppable force made a strong commitment last offseason to get back into shape, and has kept his word. As long as this continues, Suggs should only get better in 2011.
- The dominance of Haloti Ngata. The Ravens D-line has been the anchor of the defense. They allow the Terrell Suggs’, the Ray Lewis’, and the Ed Reeds’ to make their plays. And who do you think anchors the D-line? Haloti Ngata, of course. Let me ask you this: have you ever observed a play where only 1 offensive linemen was blocking Ngata? Didn’t think so. There’s no surprise the organization wants to make this guy a Raven for life.
- The comfort of finding the new “Matt Stover” in Billy Cundiff. Okay, that may be an overstatement, but who can argue the relief of finally finding an answer to the kicking disasters that occurred after parting ways with Matt Stover? The team just recently signed him to a 5-year, $15 million contract, so be comforted!
This is just a short (yet thorough) list of the great things happening in our franchise. Just think about how our team has made it the playoffs for the past 3 years, the great tandem of running backs they have, the upgraded receiving corps, the growing potentials of our defensive backs, and so much more. But of course, there are arguments to all of the mentioned positives, such as not reaching the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl, the loss of a physical run-game, the inconsistency on offense, and etc. All I can say is that I’d much rather be a fan of the Baltimore Ravens than, say, the Carolina Panthers.
It all comes down to expectations. While it’s not wrong to expect your team to do well, especially when they’ve made so many improvements, I found it best to just follow your team no matter where thy end up. While a Super Bowl championship may be the ultimate goal, it is certainly not the ultimatum. If all you want is for your team to win Super Bowls, than by all means go ahead and pledge your allegiance to the Pittsburgh Steelers (who has the most championships in the NFL) and root for them.
I’m almost certain none of you will take my above challenge, because the bottom line is that we all love the Baltimore Ravens. Win or lose, as die-hard fans we will stick by them no matter how well or badly they play. So let’s leave the coaching to the professionals and root for our warriors in purple. And if there is something we find devastatingly wrong, let’s gather on places like this website to let our voices be heard.
I absolutely look forward to blogging with you all for another year. As Ray Lewis said in his post-game conference after the Divisional Round loss to the Steelers, “we had a heck of a year… you’ve got to move on.” And that’s exactly what I plan to do. I hope you can all join me for another journey next season with the purple chaos!