Battle of the Beltways: Washington Redskins vs. Baltimore Ravens
Dec 07, 2012 01:11AM ● Published by Anonymous
While these teams don’t face off enough to consider this “Battle of the Beltways” an on-field rivalry that matches the caliber of the Redskins vs. Cowboys or the Ravens vs. Steelers, the fans who hail anywhere from Aberdeen to Ashburn, Linthicum to Landover, or Baltimore to D.C. consider these games a pathway to local bragging rights. “Baltimore is a city that couldn’t keep its own football team [the Colts] so they took someone else’s [Cleveland’s],” says Bobby Johnson, on the message board of a Redskins fan site, TheHogs.net.
In the world of fandom, statements like this can easily light a fi re under fan bases supporting teams in nearby locales. For the Redskins, moments such as the late linebacker Kevin Mitchell’s momentum-shifting interception and Stephen Davis’ 33-yard touchdown in a game played during Baltimore’s 2000–01 Super Bowl championship season stand out. Meanwhile, in Baltimore, safety Ed Reeds’s 2004 strip-fumble of Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell that resulted in a 22-yard touchdown return is a memory that will resonate for years to come.
After polling Ravens fans on the message board Ravens24x7. com, memories of angst and loathing toward late Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke emerged. Baltimore fans of an older generation remember the days of Cooke’s attempts to prevent a franchise from returning to Baltimore after the Colts fl ed for Indianapolis on a snowy night in March 1984.
“I hate the [expletive] Skins,” says BillickFan of Ravens24x7. com. “Why? When Bob Irsay—may he rot in hell—moved the Colts to Indy, the league and Jack Kent Cooke jammed the Skins down our throat. Back in the days when 49ers vs. Cowboys was the game of the year...we never got that game on TV here. We were stuck with the Deadskins vs. Cardinals or some other atrocity. Why? JKC and the league considered B-more the local D.C. market. Add in the back room deals that Jack Kent Crooke put together to keep the NFL out of Baltimore and you have outright hatred of that franchise.” When former Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer was working with several NFL teams to bring a franchise to the city of Baltimore, Cooke was in the process of scouting locations for the Redskins’ new stadium. A potential site included the Laurel area of Anne Arundel County in order to capture some of the Baltimore market.
Ravens fans also cite the lack of success in Washington as another factor in there being no real rivalry between the two. “The lack of meaningful games prevents the establishment of an on-fi eld rivalry,” says Middleriverterp, of Ravens24x7.com. What this rivalry consists mostly of, however, is the fans taking jabs at one another. Fans from each team focus more on the other’s mistakes and misfortunes as a franchise rather than analyzing their series history or a “big game” between the two. This is mostly due to the fact that the two teams are in different conferences and divisions.
The Redskins have also historically struggled against Baltimore-based football teams. During an era where both teams were considered on-fi eld rivals, the Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins faced off against one another every season from 1953–1967, then sporadically since. Through their final contest in 1981, the Colts had won 15 of 20 games played against the Redskins.
Even today with less frequent meetings, Baltimore still has the upper hand over Washington with three victories in four games with the Ravens having outscored the Redskins 64-47 in those contests.
Prior to their upcoming December meeting, both teams have squared off almost twice as many times in the preseason as they have in the regular season (seven games to four). Most recently, the Ravens squeaked out a 34–31 preseason thriller (as far as preseason games go) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in 2011.
While the Ravens and Redskins usually play every four years during the regular season and almost on an annual basis in the preseason, supporters of both teams encounter each other on a much higher frequency, causing this to be more of an ongoing feud between two closely located fan bases. One thing is certain; when the final whistle blows at the end of this month’s matchup in Landover, one fan base will have bragging rights over the other for at least one year.