Chix Chat Pro Football

Draft Day!

Posted by Saturday, April 28, 2012 0 comments


As I sit and listen to the pre-draft show, I remember a time when I never thought about this aspect of the NFL.  I watched my games, and that was about it.  As a young girl, I watched my father coach football, and watch every football game that he could on our one television with access to three channels.  

I just dated myself, didn’t I?  

At that young age, I could not fathom why my Father would watch all of the various teams.  Wouldn’t an episode of Mash be more fun?  Now, looking back, I realize just how passionately my Father loved football, and my siblings and I have followed suit.  Today I can’t imagine not watching, listening and following the draft.   In my mind, Football is the “American Pastime”, not Baseball.  No offense baseball fans, but unless I’m sitting in Camden Yards drinking a beer and carrying on with the fans, watching baseball on television is about as exciting as watching paint dry.  I guess I’m an adrenaline sport girl.   

I enjoy the behind the scenes stories you discover as you hear about various players in the draft.   Who can forget the year Michael Oher was drafted, and the touching story of his life.  I was literally brought to tears watching such an amazing story.  While not every player has such a dramatic story, just imagine that each one of these young men is realizing their dream; the dream he has visualized his entire life.  Imagine, the day when everything you have worked so hard for becomes a reality.  That is why I listen, watch, and share in the excitement as I watch not only our beloved Ravens draft the next great line of players, but also those players our Ravens will face. 

I remember really liking Chad Henne years ago, and wishing the Ravens had picked him up.  In hindsight I’m glad my wish didn’t become a reality because I am oh so “Wacko” for our Flacco, and know without a doubt that he will lead us to the Promised Land. “In Ozzie I trust” COMPLETELY!  So, as I await our pick at 29, I’ll hold Ozzie in light, and hope that once again, our 1st pick, will be a high caliber MVP. 

I’m also awaiting Joe’s contract.  


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The first round of the NFL draft was interesting with countless trades and some surprise picks. The Baltimore Ravens foes made it clear that they want to stay competitive by filling in holes and drafting players that will boost their rosters.

With two picks in the first round, the Cleveland Browns selected RB Trent Richardson and QB Brandon Wheedon. While the Pittsburgh Steelers did not select ILB Dont’a Hightower (as previously suspected), they did select G David DeCastro, one of the best guards available in the draft. The New England Patriots snuck in and traded to scoop up Hightower which disappointed Ravens fans who hoped that they would draft him. Finally the Cincinnati Bengals selected G Kevin Zeitler and CB Devin Kirkpatrick.

The Ravens were supposed to have the 29th overall pick in the first round. Fans waited with baited breath to see who their most coveted pick would be when the Ravens made a surprise trade with the Minnesota Vikings. The trade moved the Ravens from the 29th pick to the 35th pick (third pick in the second round) and they received an additional fourth round pick.

After the draft, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome held a brief news conference and explained that they decided to not move up in the draft because it would have been too expensive. Since some of the players on their radar were snatched up and others were still on the board, they elected to move back because they believe that they can still land some of their targeted players.

Newsome is very experienced and highly respected in his ability to target and draft players and the fans have to trust him in this process.

The Ravens last traded out of the first round in 2010 when they landed LB Sergio Kindle and TEs Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.

As a fan it was hard waiting all night only to be letdown when the trade was made, but after sleeping on it, it was a wise decision and will hopefully it land the team players that can complete their roster. Aside from Kindle, the 2010 trade had a happy ending and I trust that 2012 trade will do the same, in Ozzie I trust and I am anxious to see who will be wearing purple this season.

What do you think? 

Were the Ravens wise to make a trade?

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It’s almost the end of April and baseball is in full swing.  I know, I know, there are still a lot of games left to determine who will take their divisions and head to the World Series in October, but just like football, we still like to make our best educated guess as to where our beloved O’s will end up.
 
Most of the experts have counted out the O’s before the season ever started.  After their opening day sweep, they were still counted out saying that history will repeat its self, or they just do not have the talent to contend.  Others blame it on the division being too competitive (um, we hear this about the Ravens as well) and that they are just unable to play up to the caliber of talent of the Yankees.  As you know, I love to write letters that I never send so here is one to all of those so called “Experts.”

Dear Baseball Sports Writers aka “Experts,”

I have a bone to pick with you!  Since before the season began, you have counted out the Orioles stating they just do not have the talent to compete.  I beg to differ with you on this.  I do not consider myself an expert but I do know enough about baseball to call you out.  The Orioles have a long history of talented players and great coaching staff; they just never seem to get it all together at the same time.  Yes, we have been in a drought, 15 losing seasons, and some might go as far as to call it a curse (think Chicago Cubs) but curses are breakable.  You just have to have faith and actually believe.  This is something only a true O’s fan does.

The O’s have talent, you can tell by their record considering they are tied for 1st place at the moment.  I don’t want to hear any excuses; their opponents haven’t been healthy, the O’s are just lucky, history is repeating its self; because even if that is the case, the O’s have something that ya’ll always seem to over look.  These young talented players have HEART. This is becoming more evident the more games they play.  Just look at the last series of the 2011 season, they knocked the Red Sox out of the play offs.  If that doesn’t show heart, then I don’t know what does.  They set a goal, just one goal that was possible, and they accomplished it.  This HEART is also despite an owner who hasn’t done anything to improve the ball club, which is a whole other letter!

Have you forgotten the accomplishments that the O’s have had?  What about the positives that are in their favor?  Since ya’ll love to base your theories on statistics and facts, let me enlighten you to a few:
·       Wieters and Markakis both were Golden Glove winners in 2011.  Okay so this isn’t THAT big of a deal, but Markakis had an ERROR FREE season while playing hurt. 

·       The bats are coming alive.  Wieters is a beast, Reimold started off hot, and the O’s have so much more eye candy, I mean young studs, which have yet to break out with their bats but “O” they will.

·       We have pitchers.  We have what we need, starting pitchers with depth and a strong bull pen.  When has that ever happened?

·       Buck Showalter has a track record of turning teams into winners.   I’ve heard it said “In Buck we Trust” and I do.

On behalf of all TRUE O’s fans, do us a favor:  don’t jump on the O’s band wagon when they start proving you wrong.  We are above that.  I’m not saying that they will go straight to the World Series (I’m not counting it out though) but may I remind you that the game of baseball is not only talent, it’s about HEART.  And I am not above telling you “I told you so” when the O’s show you that their hearts are bigger and stronger than those other teams. 

Let’s Go O’s!!

Sincerely,

Air

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It’s NFL draft week.  I do not follow college football, so the draft is not something that I highly anticipate but I do enjoy watching it.  I find it exciting when you learn who picked who, who traded what and so on.  I find the reactions of the draftees to be sincere and the emotions they express are heartfelt. 
On occasion, draftees will be drafted by the team where they are from but not often.  Moving and living in a new place is hard especially if you are moving from one coast to the other.  I love it here, it’s just different.  Like Terrell Suggs and Todd Heap, I too am from Arizona.  The hubs is from Baltimore, born and bred so I looked at moving as an adventure and I wanted to share my insight with the future Ravens draftees in hopes that they would look at it as an adventure as well. 
Dear Newly Baltimore Ravens Draftees,
First off, let me congratulate you on being drafted by the best team in the NFL.  You are now a Baltimore Raven which we as fans consider an honor of the highest caliber.  Now, it is time for you to embrace the City of Baltimore which has so much to offer.  As a transplant myself, I wanted to share with you the things that I have learned so that living here is not a complete culture shock.  Look at this new chapter in your life as an adventure and keep these following tips in mind: 
1.        Old Bay is used on everything.
Old Bay is used on meats, seafood, wings, fries and I’ve even seen it in chocolate.  We have a friend who actually carries Old Bay in her purse!  Try it, I promise you will like it!

2.        Not all words are as they appear.
When we first moved here I pronounced “Towson” and “Ellicott City” and no one knew what I was talking about.  How are you to know these things if you don’t live here?  You don’t.  You live and learn.  I always get a little pay back though; I have people try to pronounce “Huachuca”, “Saguaro”, or “El Camino Real” correctly.    

3.        Seasons do change.
There are actually 4 seasons and you actually have to have 2 separate wardrobes:  Summer and winter.  Make sure you add a few hats, jackets, and gloves on top of your existing wardrobe because not only can the summers be very humid, winters can be brutal.  It has been known to snow in April. 

4.        DO NOT hiring a Mayflower truck to move your belongings here!
This is a must!  If you are too young to remember the Colts leaving Baltimore then I highly suggest you Google it before you even get here! 

5.       Learn about Maryland Blue Crabs
This is a must.  If you’re a seafood lover you will not be disappointed.  Make sure you ask where the best places are to get crabs (and I’m not talking the kind you get from being promiscuous) and try them all.

6.       Lacrosse is an actual sport.
I still have no idea the rules of this sport, but it seems to be really popular here.  Kids seem to get lacrosse sticks before they can even walk.  I myself am still undecided on my like for this, but you might enjoy it.

7.       Practice parallel parking. 
They teach you this when you are learning to drive but most of us never have to use it.  Here, you do so make sure you practice.  Or you can do like I do and double park and make someone else do it for you.  It’s a heck of a lot easier than popping a tire on the curb or hitting a parked car. 

Baltimore is a full of life, culture, and pride.  You will find that Baltimore has the best fans.  They are brutally honest to a fault but their devotion is unconditional.  Just remember to Play Like A Raven and I am sure that in no time Baltimore will be home.  Good luck!

Sincerely,
Air

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As promised, I have taken a short respite from my crazy life to rant a little more about the top 5 reasons why I stink at mommyhood. Just a reminder: #5 is my shopaholic-ism leading to a house that is perpetually cluttered and totally unmanageable, #4 is my inability to choose healthy food options for my daughter instead of chocolate in all forms for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Link to Part I)

So here goes….   

#3: Using Cartoons as a Babysitter

My munchkin’s love for cartoons started when she was an itty, bitty baby. As you may recall, I mentioned that my child didn’t do much for 6 months but cry, cry a little more and then turn into a blood-curdling demon child who cried till I cried. I had to get creative to calm her down. She was about 2 months of age when I noticed that Charlie Brown’s Christmas was on at 8pm. Why not try it? So, I got out her state-of-the-art swing, lounger, rocker machine and buckled her in it. I pulled that sucker right up to the television and held my breath.

Suddenly, as if Snoopy had been sent from God just for me, Momma Mac… she stopped. The heavens opened and I grabbed a glass of wine while sitting on the couch enjoying the silence. From that moment on, her and I had a mutual respect (yes, RESPECT) for animated shows, any and ALL of them.

I am totally ok with turning on Nick Jr. for her viewing pleasure. (And for the record, I am NOT playing a game or two of Words with Friends while she is occupied. NEVER) You’ve got the Wonder Pets who are down with all things teamwork. Yo Gabba Gabba’s teaching her not to bite her friends. She’s learning a little Spanish with Dora as she deciphers the map to candy land mountain. Dora’s cousin Diego reminds her to be good to animals as they have feelings too!

Long gone are the days of a really weird guy in a sweater teaching us about “his neighborhood”. Think about it, something just was not right about that show on so many levels. And good old Popeye smoked a pipe and got beat up A LOT.  But the best example of really shitty cartoons in our day has to be Scooby Doo. I mean the show had a guy named Shaggy who said “like” too much and drove a beat up van. I will take “Swiper, No swiping” any day over that I-am-definitely-not a reference-to-a-pothead character.

God Bless Nick Jr. It has truly created a win-win situation for Momma and child. See, it isn’t really babysitting, it is a learning tool. That’s my story and I am sticking with it.

#2: The NON-Administration of Medication

I would like to lock all of the children in our households today in one room and force feed all of them the crap they called flavored medicine when we were kids. They don’t know “Taste’s Bad”. We had no Wild Berry Tylenol or melt in your mouth grape thin strips for our cold. Oh No. We had to survive the nastiness that our mothers force fed us and LIKE IT! I get it, but for some reason my child is the A Number 1 “I hate the taste so I am not taking it” type. What do you do with that?

It has been a struggle, and I have tried everything. When she was really little, I would do my best to disguise it in her chocolate milk. It never worked. She could sniff it out a mile away. On occasion, I have gone the hold-her-down and shoot it in there approach. Nope, I was always wearing it. Oh and I can’t forget the bribery method. Sweetie, if you will just take this one teaspoon, I will give you a candy. Damn, that girl is stubborn. The candy would have melted into nothing in my hand and she still wouldn’t give in.

I remember when munchkin was about 2, and I was so frustrated that I called the doctor. Yes, I know you said it was just a virus and I need to keep her fever down, but I can’t. His response…. Wait for it…. Suppositories. WTH? You want me to do what???? Her fever was over 102. I had to do something. So, I dragged my butt to CVS and bought them. I waited until she was sound asleep, and I did it. All of this because the taste of the 3 different flavors I had purchased, cherry, grape and orange just weren’t to her liking. Insanity.

I do take solace in the fact that even though I totally suck at giving her medication, I am not the only one. Our most recent adventure to the emergency room began one morning at 3am when her fever spiked again over 102. The nursing staff was so awesome. They talked sweetly to my angel, rubbed her head with a cold towel, and got her comfortable with a blanket. Just as they were telling me how adorable and well behaved she is they rolled in the medicine cart.

Right before their eyes, this innocent angel became Linda Blair from the Exorcist. I kid you NOT! They had to call for back up. Two nurses held her down while a third one attempted pouring the BRIGHT RED MOTRIN in her mouth. It was not a pretty scene at all with all 3 needing a shower at the end and this Momma sliding into the corner to hide my smirk and chuckle.

I know it is bad, but I secretly loved it!

Finally, there were some other women in the world who could share my pain.

And the #1 Reason Why I Stink at Mommyhood is that the apple never falls far from the tree.

I have absolutely no idea how my child got so quick-witted and stubborn. (None whatsoever) Oh, who am I fooling? When I attempt to discipline her for not listening, she crosses her arms and shoots me a comedic retort. I think to myself, this is what my mom warned me about. She used to curse at me at that age ranting “I hope you get a daughter just like you.”

Well shucks mom, I did.

Instead of accepting her punishment, munchkin has learned how to pull out all of the jokes, be charming and talk her way right out of the situation. (Completely the opposite of me because I am the shy, keep my words to myself type, right?)

How do I punish her when in my mind I am silently cracking up because she is so smart and funny that it makes me proud instead of angry?  Don’t get me wrong everything in me wants to pull over that time out chair, sit her in it, and have a smoke break. But most of the time, I give her kudos for the outstanding creativity she has just expressed.

And therein lies the epitome of stinking at Mommyhood.

But it is perfectly okay with me because with any luck she will have a daughter who she will screw up too!  

I send a Thank You to my mom for putting up with my shit all of these years and yet still loving me. I know that you, too, are secretly laughing at me when you see my munchkin pulling a serious Momma Mac ‘tude and me trying not to laugh at her.

Let’s face it; this goes back another generation to your mom who at 91 still has a kick ass sense of humor and just enough stubbornness for all of us.

If my blog posts make you laugh, please check out my blog site at www.mommamacsmilf.blogspot.com and feel free to share with your friends!
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Ravens fans are funny sometimes. I get that the position of quarterback is arguably the most highlighted of all positions in all of sports so change to that position will inevitably trigger a knee jerk response.

And in some cases, the response is without the knee.

I ventured over to the Ravens 247 Facebook page (which is a lot of fun I might add) and read a few of the comments after the page posted the news of the Curtis Painter signing. Here are a few of the “gems”:

· Oh good god... fumbles, ints and dropped snaps. What a terrible signing :(
· Boller is better than this clown. Guess Caldwell made this decision
· WOW, really !!!! Do they not see the record the Colts had last year
· FOOOOOOOOOOR WHAT!! Why not Vince Young?
· I want Pryor!!!!

These are the same yahoos who cheer the injury of their own struggling player and boo the hometown team.

Prior to last season I’ve gone to training camp each summer and one thing that has always stuck out for me is how little the third string quarterback is involved. He does very little and it seems that the only reason the guy is around is to give the other two quarterbacks an occasional rest.

Soon the Ravens will be conducting mini-camps and when they do, they’ll need another arm to toss around the rock if for no other reason than to maintain the seasonal tread on the arms of Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor. So why not bring in a guy who’s familiar with the new QB coach, Jim Caldwell?

Makes sense, right? Makes for a smoother practice, right?

Besides, when September 10 rolls around, who’s to say that Painter is even on the final 53 man squad?

Painter is no Rembrandt at the quarterback position. But for now he’ll do.

Sort of like that guy you asked to go with you to that wedding you really didn’t want to attend in the first place.

Sorry boys, no next morning walk of shame for you!

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I know it was a little while ago but when it was announced that training camp would be held at the Castle rather than McDaniel College this year, a part of me died inside. I understood it not being at McDaniel last year because of the lockout and was excited to go back this upcoming summer.

I have a slightly different viewpoint than most on training camp because I live in Westminster. Not a summer went by growing up that I didn’t go at least once up to the college to watch training camp with my dad. It wasn’t strange to see players around town.

During the Ravens season of Hard Knocks, I still think it’s cool seeing Johansson’s on TV when those episodes are replayed. And I can honestly say it was going to training camp all the time, not necessarily watching the games although those helped, that really made me become such a huge Ravens fan.

I distinctly remember one year when my dad took me and my older brother and younger sister that there were two businessmen leaving and when they walked past us they handed us their passes. These passes were for this tent that had free food and they allowed you access to a special area for autographs. Two passes, three kids; the eldest got the passes but my sister and I traded footballs and to get autographs for some reason.

It was the season after Jamal Lewis ran for over 2,000 yards so needless to say; I was stoked to get his autograph on a card. But my sister got Ray Lewis on my football. A trade happened and looking back, I clearly got the better end of that deal.

Moments like that and the times where I would not be up there for autographs, but would watch Ray and Todd Heap go to the small roped off section where the smallest of kids stood. They couldn't see over the higher gates and would likely get hurt with all of the pushing and shoving. But Ray and Todd and others would sign for every single one of them. Some players would joke around and ask you to solve a math question before giving you your autograph.

And don’t even get me started on the kids area, because to this day I wish I was a kid again and could go play over there.

You could say I’m just being nostalgic but I am already going to dread the summer without training camp.

It just won’t be the same.

I guess I am also trying to say that I really hope Steve Biscotti & Co. will bring it back. While many memories are made attending Ravens games, they happen at training camp too.

It is there where you are more likely to see your idol up close and personal.

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It was a rough 24 hours for Ravens fans. Yesterday news broke that the team worked out three backup QBs including former Steeler Dennis Dixon, former Colt Curtis Painter and former Raven Kyle Boller.

The news that Boller was back in Baltimore caused quite a panic and Ravens fans were ready to jump off the Key Bridge! Boller was a Ravens first round pick in 2003 and was the starting QB for several seasons and released in 2008. He was very good at throwing picks and never developed into the elite QB we hoped he would be.

It was weird hearing Boller's name again, he was an awful starting QB and no good could possibly come out of him being a back-up QB. We definitely didn't want him back in B’more.

So the Ravens had three options for a 3rd string QB and as much as it pains me to say this, I would have chosen Dixon. Yes, he is a former Steeler, but he is a good QB and I would have accepted him as a Raven.

In the end the Ravens went with Painter, the same QB who stepped in for Peyton Manning when he was out last season due to neck surgery. Painter had zero wins as a starting QB and had a rating of 66.6. Wow, 66.6 is a scary number!

In Ozzie Newsome I must trust and I'm sure there is a good reason why the Ravens decided to sign Painter to a one-year contract, but I can't say I agree with it. I can only pray that I will never have to see him on the field because it scares me to death to think about what would happen if he had to actually suit up.

I suppose the good news is that Painter is reunited with his former coach Jim Caldwell who is now the Ravens QB coach so maybe Caldwell had something to do with it?

Last season the Ravens had one back-up QB and they don't always carry three QBs on their roster so there is a chance that Painter may not be there when the season starts.

Since I don't get a say in who the Ravens sign, I will have to deal with this and see how things pan out during training camp this summer and hope for the best outcome possible.

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Pin to Project:  Get your “Flips” on!
I decided to try something new.  Pinterest has become an addiction for many because of the variety of things you can find.  There are so many ideas for crafts, recipes, home d├ęcor, photography, blogs, etc. that you can spend hours upon hours just randomly searching for things.  I know this because I do it.  
Even though I’m a tomboy, I’m crafty.  Its one thing I enjoy.  Anyways, back to searching………….I started looking for anything “Ravens” and to my surprise, there were not a lot of crafts dedicated to those of us who bleed purple and black.  That’s when an idea formed and my Pin to Project was started.  My idea is to “pin” something I like and I think others would like and start a “Project” to somehow incorporate it to where it is Ravens themed.  I will share the finished results along with directs on cost and you can let your crafty side soar.
So ladies, here is an easy, cheap, and stylish way to show your support for our beloved Ravens:  DIY Ravens Flip Flops!  What woman doesn’t like flip flops? 
What you need:
·         Black flip flops (Michaels and Wal-Mart have them for $1). 
·         Purple flowers x 2 (I got mine at Michaels in the scrapbooking section and they were $3.49 for a bunch)
·         Football brads x 2 (Also in the scrapbooking section and these were a spur of the moment decision and they were $.50 apiece)
·         Letters (I used foam because I already had them plus I was trying to think of something durable.  There are other options you could you as well)
·         Purple ribbon ( $1.49 at Wal-Mart, it needs to be no smaller than 3/8 inch wide)
·         Glue gun & glue sticks
·         Scissors
First you’re going to wrap the ribbon around the part that rests on the top on your foot from one side to the other.  Not only does this give the flip flops a different look, it makes it more comfortable while resting on your foot.  I wrapped it giving the ribbon a winding look by overlapping the ribbon with each wrap.  Once you get to the end, make sure the end of the ribbon is on the outside and glue it so that it will stay put. 
Put the brad in the middle of the flowers and then glue the flowers to the top of your flip flop (where the piece will go in-between your toes.  I used 2 flowers each for a more of a full flower look, the one on top being smaller than the other.
Next are your foam letters.  You can do these any way you want but I found that placing them straight up and down made them fit perfectly.  I didn’t want the flower to cover the letters so I started a little bit down and placed the letters very close together.  I still wanted people to be able to see what it says.  Also, these foam letters are actually stickers so I not only removed the back but I hot glued them onto the ribbon.  You could use any color you want; I used white to not only stay with the Ravens colors but to stand out. 
Viola!  Your own customized Ravens flip flops for under $10. 
I know I will be sporting mine this summer!

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When we won the home playoff spot last season and the Ravens posted the “I’m Coming Home” video on their home page, I think I probably watched it about 7,000 times in January alone. Now that I’m moving to Florida, the song has so much more meaning. And it catches in my throat when I try to sing it solo in my car and shower (where I sound really awesome, by the way).

We are so excited for our next great adventure, but “home” is where the heart is and we are from Baltimore forever. Our allegiance will never change and thankfully we’re moving to a place where everybody understands that because nobody is “from Florida”. They are all transplants, and their hearts and souls live in some other state, city, town, and neighborhood. We’re just there for the family, weather, water, and low taxes.

We’ve been so busy packing, moving, organizing, strategizing, that I haven’t had time to realize that I am actually MOVING! I’m leaving my home state. I’m leaving friends...family...lifestyle. We are leaving a lot behind and that will probably hit me in a few weeks but I’ve always known exactly when our first trip home was going to be.

I’ve been waiting until the NFL announced the schedule. We are proud PSL owners. Even though we’re leaving the Great State of Maryland, we’re not selling our PSLs. We will sell the game tickets to loyal fans who bleed purple, but reserve the right to keep any tickets we want.

This coming season, we’re planning to come home the week of September 22-29 because the Ravens have the unfortunate luck of a Sunday game on the 23rd with their next game just four days later on Thursday the 27th. Thankfully, both are home and not travel games. And thankfully, I can work while I’m in town so I don’t even have to burn personal time while I am here.

The opponents of my home game didn’t matter much to me. Would I love to see us pummel the Steelers at home in person? Sure! But I think my Florida blood won’t tolerate a December Ravens game at home very well, so I’ll gladly watch those two Ravens-Steelers games (within 3 weeks of each other, what???) from a TV in sunny and warm Florida.

But if Boller is our QB by any off chance, my TV will stay off, thank you very much. And that whole topic is for another post, Chix.

I may not CU Next Thursday, but I’ll see you next September for sure.

And until then…

Mind your x’s and o’s.

Purple Maven



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Ravens 2012 Schedule Released

Posted by Thursday, April 19, 2012 0 comments


 It is ironic that football has the shortest season of all professional sports in the United States, yet it has amassed the biggest following and it is talked about all year long. The NFL cashed in on this popularity by having a primetime show for the 2012 schedule release on Tuesday night.

When the schedule was released, it was like Christmas in April for all football fans, now we can get on with our lives and plan days off and road trips this fall.

Last season the Baltimore Ravens won their division, the AFC North, which was an awesome thing, but in football having a good season comes back to bite you the following season in the form of having a tougher strength of schedule.

ESPN’s John Clayton said that the Ravens schedule is tougher than the Steelers which resulted from having a first-place schedule last season. It was nice beating the Steelers twice last season and finishing ahead of them, but now we have to work even harder for the chance of winning the division again.

And so the AFC North winning Ravens were rewarded with the 4th hardest schedule in the league for the 2012 season and have four prime-time games in 2012 (including four night games). I don’t like having that many prime-time games; less is more for this team since they do not play well in the national spotlight.

The 2012 season brings a Monday night game to Baltimore when the Ravens will face the Cincinnati Bengals. I would prefer to play on Sunday and not start the season with the whole country watching. I have flashbacks of the MNF game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, a game almost too painful to watch.

Weeks 3 and 4 bring two more prime-time home games. The first is against the New England Patriots in what will hopefully be a revenge game for us since they beat us in the AFC Championship game last season. The second is a Thursday night game against the Cleveland Browns. While the Browns may not be the most competitive team, it is an AFC North division game and they will to play us tough. The Ravens will have a short week since they have the Sunday night game so it will be a bit challenging for them with one less day to prep.

What was the NFL thinking when they scheduled the Ravens games for weeks 11-13? First we get to play our division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Sunday Night game in Pittsburgh. Playing the Steelers is always tough, even tougher on the road, add in the nationally televised game and there is potential for a lot of bloodshed.

After the road game in Pittsburgh, the Ravens head to the west coast to play the San Diego Chargers. West coast games are tough with the travel and time difference so we can only hope that they play to win in San Diego.

As if those two games weren’t bad enough, the Ravens head back home to face their rival again. Twice in two weeks? Are you kidding me? I get that it is easier to game plan when you play the same team twice in a short time frame, but I prefer to spread out the match-ups against my rival, I “love” hating on the Steelers and I look forward to playing them and it would be nice if there was more time in between games to give me something to look forward to.

There will be some tough match-ups this season and I look forward to all of them. Next up is the draft, I can’t wait to see who Ravens recruiting genius Ozzie Newsome selects this season…

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