The holiday season offers many things to be thankful for and celebrate: family, friends, health, presents and copious amounts of food. Oh, and football playoffs! To properly ring in the New Year, the Ravens clinched a home playoff spot New Year’s Day by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals.
The victory brings the five year home playoff drought to an end Sunday, January 15th at 1pm, when the Baltimore Ravens host an AFC Divisional playoff game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, or Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium. Prior to this, the Ravens last hosted the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 season. With the help of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and the famed defense, the Ravens clinched the number 2 seed in the AFC and earned a first week bye. The frenzy to watch the potential Super Bowl 46 contenders in their house began early in the week when tickets went on sale. Bright and early Tuesday morning, January 3rd, tickets flew out the doors of the Ravens ticket office’s as thousands of tickets sold out in 14 minutes. Later, many of them reappeared on StubHub and other auction sites being resold at more than double face value (http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2012/01/03/baltimore-ravens-playoff-tickets.html).
In preparation for the game, Baltimore is marking its territory throughout the city with purple pride. Stadium Grounds crew were all over the city Tuesday morning painting the Ravens logo on Federal Hill and at City Hall. (And undoubtedly the lights highlighting the World Trade Center will be switched to purple soon, but it’s a little hard to tell from within the building!) Stadium crews were also busy readying the new flags for this welcomed gridiron battle, as it also coincides with the commemoration of the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812.
Aside from the impending apocalypse this year, 2012 is the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. For all those non-history buffs, the Battle of Baltimore inspired (renamed from the “Defense of Fort McHenry” and set to a tune) the United States National Anthem. Francis Scott Key penned the “Defense of Fort McHenry” after he witnessed the flag still flying after British ships bombarded Fort McHenry. To commemorate the heroic efforts of those soldiers and celebrate Baltimore, the 15-star and 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner Flag was raised over Camden Yards.
The city of Baltimore is starting the New Year off with a bang and is showing no signs of the holiday hangover. Be sure to watch the Ravens on January 15th or watch the game live at M&T Bank Stadium.