Raven fans are no raven lunatics

December 26, 2011

Professional football fans, in general, might be loud and boisterous, but it’s surprising how different they act in different cities.

A few years ago I saw the Eagles play, and this year I was lucky enough to see both the Redskins and the Ravens. Seeing one game apiece hardly qualifies me to make generalizations, but who cares? Here goes.

Eagles fans – These guys are crazy. We went to a New Year’s Eve game, where the Eagles had just sealed a playoff bid and were winning easily over hapless Atlanta.

You’d think they’d be pretty happy. But when a young man – perhaps with a death wish – walked in wearing a Falcons jersey, the Eagles responded like a pack of wolves spying a wounded deer.

Nothing happened to the guy but I actually thought the he might get beat up. There was a real edge to the crowd. And this was a night when the fans should have been in a good mood.

Redskins fans – There may be a good reason things happen so slowly in Washington. They’re all recovering from the Redskins game. There were quite a few hard partying types at the Eagles game but Redskins fans were hands down the drunkest of the three. I heard one man proudly announce he had been drinking since 9 a.m. Apparently, a big game – or any game – requires intense preparation.

They were happy, though. I have no idea why. As a Redskins fan, I haven’t had much to be happy about for 20 years.

Not that there wasn’t trash talking. Quite a few Eagles fans showed up for the game and the bathrooms were filled with comments like, “Hey, you bleeping bleep-holes! Get the bleep out of here.”

Oh yes, there was a whole lotta bleeping going on. But while this may sound strange, the Redskins fans seemed quite good-humored as they told the bleeping Eagles fans to bleeping go home. This was a game the Redskins lost.

Ravens fans – Of the three, by far the soberest and most respectful. They cheered loudly and often but I didn’t see anybody who appeared to be hammered.

I don’t know why this is but it could be the power of advertising. At Ravens stadium, the management made a big point of what it called the fans’ credo, which was summed up in the slogan, “Don’t be a jerk.” This was reinforced with messages from Ravens players that appeared on the big screens. These announcements also included a number to text if you were being harassed by a jerk.

It seemed to work. There was one guy behind me who seemed to think that yelling out Lord’s name would encourage the Baltimore defense to tackle more aggressively, but, in general, there was less of that than at the other two games. It was an amazingly calm, though supportive, crowd.

By the way, this was Saturday’s Christmas Eve game. The Ravens beat the lowly Browns, but didn’t look great doing it. They’ll have to play better to advance in the playoffs.

GREENWOOD NAMED CHRISTMAS TOWN, DEL.: Okay, this isn’t a major award, since I am the sole judge, but I would guess Greenwood, about a half hour west on Rt. 16, has more Christmas light displays per capita than any other town in the state. Very festive.

NO DEBATE, FOX WAS BEST: Of the eight or nine – or is it 80 or 90? – Republican presidential debates I’ve seen this year, Fox News put on the best. The panel members asked the toughest questions and followed up when candidates answered evasively.

At first I was surprised. Fox has a reputation for being easy on Republicans. Then I realized the reason: the candidates couldn’t very well accuse Fox moderators of asking “gotcha” questions, which is their main tactic when asked questions they don’t like.

Too many news organizations bend over backwards trying to be fair to conservative candidates for fear of being branded liberal.

IS A NATIVITY SCENE RELIGIOUS?: Two weeks ago I mentioned it was odd how Sussex County Council was contending the Lord’s Prayer wasn’t a Christian prayer, despite its being attributed directly to Jesus.

Sussex, of course, isn’t the only place where these arguments crop up. In Loudoun County, Virginia, the county government has for years allowed a nativity scene at the courthouse.

A longtime resident defending the practice was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “The crèche (nativity scene) is not religious. It’s a belief symbol.”

I have no idea what the man means. To say a nativity scene isn’t religious strikes me as sacrilegious.

The upshot is that Loudoun County is now allowing others to set up their own religious – and non-religious – displays. These have included – I’m not kidding – a Luke Skywalker mannequin, a Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster nativity scene and a skeleton Santa nailed to a cross, which is meant to call attention to excessive Christmas consumerism. As you might guess, not everybody is happy about these displays.

Loudoun County is a good example of why it’s best for governments to leave religion alone.

MINI-REVIEW: “Young Adult,” with Charlize Theron. Theron’s received major buzz for her role as a shallow former homecoming queen, but it’s a slow movie with few laughs and few surprises. My wife liked it, though.

Have a happy New Year.