Monday, December 22nd, 2014

What’s Important Now: Ending a Decade’s Worth of Frustrations

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When the Indianapolis Colts come to town on Sunday, the Ravens have a very good chance to take out a full decade’s worth of frustrations. It has been over 10 full years since Baltimore’s “new” team last beat Baltimore’s “old” team, way back on December 2, 2001.

The Ravens and Colts have met 11 times, with the Peyton Manning-led horseshoes taking the last eight meetings. A full history of the very lopsided “rivalry”:

  • 1996 – Colts 26 Ravens 21
  • 1998 – Ravens 38 Colts 31
  • 2001 – Ravens 39 Colts 27
  • 2002 – Colts 22 Ravens 20
  • 2004 – Colts 20 Ravens 10
  • 2005 – Colts 24 Ravens 7
  • 2006 – (Divisional Playoff) Colts 15 Ravens 6
  • 2007 – Colts 44 Ravens 20
  • 2008 – Colts 31 Ravens 3
  • 2009 Colts 17 Ravens 15
  • 2009 (Divisional Playoff) Colts 20 Ravens 3

Back in 1998, when the Ravens beat the Colts for the first time, and then-Ravens quarterback Jim Harbaugh ran over and gave the game ball to Johnny Unitas, that was supposed to be the symbolic “moving on” point for Baltimore. Our new team had vanquished our old one, and Johnny U of all people was there to supervise and endorse it. The hatchet had been buried.

Or so we thought.

Unfortunately, the hurt just ran too deep for many Baltimore fans to simply let it go with one regular season victory.

Two years later, the Ravens would win their first Super Bowl after only five seasons of existence. The “Indianapolis Colts” had failed to even reach the big game after 17 seasons, wallowing in mediocrity for a great many of those years.

That moment was hailed as the next big inflection point in B’More’s relationship with Indy.

“We got the trophy, they don’t. Screw the Colts, the Ravens are our team now.”

Only, it seemed that we still weren’t truly over it.

After beating the Colts 39-27 later that season, Manning would lead Indy to wins over the Ravens in three of the next four seasons.

Then came 2006.

The Ravens, fresh off a 13-3 campaign, were the #2 seed in the AFC and were set to host the Colts in Baltimore in the Divisional round.

THIS. This was to be our last big watershed moment where we would finally exorcise the Irsay demons. A playoff win over the Colts that would propel the team to their second Super Bowl win would finally crush Indy’s heart enough to appease Baltimore.

Of course, that’s not how it happened.

Instead, the Colts came in and beat the Ravens 15-6, and a few weeks later it was they, not the Ravens, who were hoisting the Lombardi.

Three regular-season beatings later, and this time it was the Ravens traveling to Indy for the 2009 Divisional playoff. Would beating the Irsays, in their house, in the postseason, be enough to help put them in the rearview forever?

We wouldn’t find out, as the Colts spanked the Ravens up and down the field for a 20-3 victory.

At least they would go on to lose the Super Bowl.

And that was the last time these two teams met. No team has owned the Ravens like the Colts have, with Indy riding an 8-game winning streak and holding a ridiculous 9-2 advantage in the all-time series. (Ironically, the Ravens have also won seven straight over their “old selves,” the Cleveland Browns.)

The Colts that are coming to town this week, though, are but a shell of their former selves, and all because they’re missing one player – Manning.

Sure, they have an 8-game winning streak over the Ravens, but more importantly, they’re on a 13-game losing streak dating back to last season. They look to become only the second 0-16 team in NFL history, and the Ravens can help them get there by taking care of business this Sunday.

Now, whether or not it will have any true effect on the psyche of this city isn’t for me to say. The Ravens could start a 10-game winning streak of their own over Indy, and I bet you’ll still see nostalgia pieces dotting the local papers whenever these two teams meet. Some old Colts fans will never truly “get over it,” and that’s alright. For the rest of us, though, we just want to see our purple birds come out on the right side of this match up for the first time in WAY too long.

If the Ravens want to get to the Super Bowl this year, they need to keep winning. With the Steelers, Patriots, and Texans all breathing down their necks for those top two spots in the AFC Playoff picture, a slip up against a winless squad at home would be simply unforgivable. Indy will be nowhere near the postseason in 2011, but they could still deal quite a blow to the Ravens’ season. That’s why What’s Important Now is taking the last ten years of frustrations out on the on the field this week.

Of course, should the Ravens ultimately get to the Super Bowl, Indianapolis sure would be a sweet place to win it, no? Ah, I can just see the headlines now…

/facepalm

Just Beat Indy.

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