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10 Things I Hate About You: The Baltimore Ravens

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You don’t spend more than a decade blogging about’being emotionally attached to the most successful, not to mention most feared and reviled team in all of pro sports without building up an Enemy’s List. Right now, my NFL Hate List is, to use Maverick’s words, long and distinquished. But right now, in late 2016, one team stands alone at the top. How do I hate the Baltimore Ravens? Let me count the ways:
1.The Ravens invented Deflategate.
As I mentioned the other day when the Colts’ D’Qwell Jackson got busted for PEDs, the idea that he intercepted a Tom Brady pass in the 2014 AFC championship game and thought it felt a little squishy is a myth. One, by the way, that was repeated by the federal judges when they overturned Brady’s appeal. The truth is that, after the Ravens lost to the Patriots in the divisional round, contacted the Colts and the NFL in the person of Mike Kensil. Together they set up a sting operation so vast, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper should do the movie. That’s two NFL teams, conspiring with one another to beat another team, which is unconscionable. Colts’ GM Ryan Grigson said so at the league meetings. He said the Ravens had contacted them the week of the title game and that they’d alerted the league. Make no mistake, the first ones with the buckles on their hats, pointing at the Pats, yelling “Burn the witch!” and starting the hunt were in Baltimore.

2. They started Deflategate because John Harbaugh was butthurt about getting outcoached.
The Ravens blew two 14-point leads, thanks to a double pass touchdown throw by Julian Edelman and the Pats clever use of the Eligible Receiver rule. Go to the 4:00 mark of the video for details of what Edelman called “all them crazy formations.”

They were perfectly legal. The Pats checked with the league offices in advance. They’d been used before by coaches like Jim Caldwell in Detroit. When asked later if the Pats defense had practiced against the formations, Vince Wilfork said “Ohhh, yeah.” But Harbaugh had no clue. Even when the official flat out said “Don’t cover 34 (Shane Vereen),” the Ravens still continually left Michael Hoomanawanui undefended. Harbaugh not only drew a penalty for walking onto the field to bitch about it, after losing he said in no uncertain terms he thought the plays were illegal, to which Brady said “Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out.” Which apparently were trigger words because …

3. After getting outcoached, Harbaugh whined to the league to change the Eligible Receiver rule.
There’s an old adage in the NFL that says, “If you can’t beat ‘em, go to the Rules Committee at the leage meetings and get them to change the rules so Belichick won’t look so much smarter than you.” Which is precisely what Harbaugh did. He asked that Belichick’s legal plays be outlawed. And the committee, which automatically rejects any first time proposal and took years to approve a change as simple as adding 3 feet of thin-walled steel pipe to the tops of the goalposts, and immediately rubber-stamped it. Of course, now that Harbaugh had his safe space, he was empowered to not only run his own version of the play last year, he came back to the committee this offseason to ask that all eligible receivers have to wear pinnies like it’s a frigging Pop Warner practice or a gym class game of touch football, so his defenders don’t have to think too much. They rejected the proposal. This time. Let’s see how he does after a couple more cracks at it.

4. The Eligible Receiver game was not the first playoff game Harbaugh lost that he blamed on the Patriots cheating.
Leave us not forget the 2011 championship game at Gillette. The “Cundiff is Finkle! Finkle is Cundiff!” game, in which Baltimore’s kicker shanked a potential game-winning kick because he wasn’t ready. He’d been warming up a good 40 yards up the sidelines. And when the call came for him to make the attempt, he had to scramble up the field while the clock ticked down and never got set. Harbaugh, man of integrity that he is, placed the blame squarely on his own shoulders. Just kidding. He blamed the Patriots, saying they screwed with the scoreboard because it read 3rd down when it should have read 4th. Ignoring so many simple facts all at once as to deserve a Nobel Prize in Lack of Accountability. The Patriots do not control the scoreboard. Knowing what down it is requires a person to count to three. There are league employees on both sidelines holding a big pole with a “4” on top. And, regardless of the actual down, a coach ought to have some idea of his kicker’s whereabouts.

5. Harbaugh has the audacity to pretend he and Bill Belichick are friends.
After all this, Harbaugh is so utterly shameless he told ESPN “he admires Belichick and likes him and sometimes lunches with him at league meetings, and he ‘regrets we are unable to be the kind of friends I think we would be if we weren’t rivals in our conference. … I think I’d be riding around on his boat if we weren’t such rivals right now.’” If Belichick ever does take Harbaugh out on VI Rings, I hope he goes to international waters and gives him the Big Pussy send off.

6. This.

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In Boston, we build statues to salt-of-the-Earth types like Bobby Orr and ground-breaking champions of racial opportunity like Red Auerbach. In Baltimore, they build one to a man who, at the very least, plead guilty to obstruction of justice in a double homicide. Man of God Ray Lewis, who has twice been on the cover of Sports Illustrated praying, has six kids by four different women, and had the unmitigated gall to say Tom Brady should have handed his phone over to the league, still hasn’t given us closure on what happened to his blood-stained white suit from the night of the murders. I like to think it’s buried under the statue, “National Treasure”-style.

7. The Ravens enabled Ray Rice.
Once we saw the video outside the elevator, of Ray Rice dragging the unconscious body of his then-girlfriend out like a bag of laundry, we didn’t need to see anything else to know he’d done something terribly, terribly wrong. But Rice was the spokesman for M&T Bank. Not only a major sponsor of the Ravens, but the owners of the naming rights to their stadium. Baltimore’s owner Steve Bisciotti is a golfing buddy of Roger Goodell and they play Augusta National together. And thus, a cover up was born. As with any cover up, follow the money. But also follow the Titleist Pro-V1 over Rae’s Creek.

8. Worse, they doubled down on the abuse of Janay Rice.
When Ravens’ management trotted Rice’s already victimized fiance’ out to a podium and made her “apologize for my part” in the elevator attack, it was a disgrace. A goddamned disgrace. I’d call it a Dog & Pony Show, but no dog or pony would ever ever do that to a frightened, battered woman. And she admits the team wrote those words for her. Whether they considered having her apologize to the elevator for smashing its handrail with her face, we may never know.

9. They enabled Terrell Suggs, who is a hundred times worse than Ray Rice ever was.
Ray Rice did something unforgivable. Terrell Suggs is a fucking monster. At various times he has punched his wife in the face, dragged her beside the car while their two kids were in the back, and held an open bottle of bleach over her while she held their 1-year-old in her arms. For that, the Ravens have never sat him out so much as one set of downs, much less suspended him.

10. The Ravens act like the Patriots have no class, and this is how they act when they win.

Right. The Patriots are the arrogant fuckers. Not enough bad things can happen to this team. This week or ever.