[COLUMN] Amid Super Bowl win, Ravens still competing for attention in new sports hotbed

Scenic panorama of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' final home game against the Indianapolis Colts (Photo courtesy of paulmgardner/Flickr).
Scenic panorama of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' final home game against the Indianapolis Colts (Photo courtesy of paulmgardner/Flickr).

[Updated Feb. 4 11:58 a.m.]

On first mention by most Americans, Washington D.C. is labeled as the political center of the free world while Baltimore is heralded as the setting of the HBO TV drama, The Wire along with being the unofficial home of crab cakes and football.

Over the past year, the area known as the DMV has become a hotbed for competitive and successful sports teams following years of futility and just downright mediocrity.  

D.C.’s team, Washington Redskins traded away years worth of first round draft picks to land Heisman Trophy winner and charismatic quarterback Robert Griffin III and handed him the reigns as the savior of the franchise.

The Washington Nationals defied experts’ projections, winning 98 games while clinching the National League East division and coming within an out of a trip to the National League Conference Series. The Baltimore Orioles did the unthinkable by winning 92 games in the highly competitive American League East, en route to a wild card berth.

However, after a thrilling Super Bowl victory last night, one of the DMV’s own teams, the Baltimore Ravens, for the majority of the season flew under the public's radar.

But, how could a team with one of the best defensive players of his generation in Ray Lewis in his final season and consistently been a playoff team receive such little publicity in its own market?

Back in early October, Sports Illustrated published an issue hailing the region between the Potomac River and the Inner Harbor as an “unlikely sports capital”. Similar to ESPN the Magazine’s D.C. issue, SI wrote a number of articles on the rise of the area’s sports teams. However, after spotlighting RG3, the Nationals’ skipper Davey Johnson and the Baltimore Orioles return to postseason, there was not one mention of the Baltimore Ravens.

Since Ravens coach John Harbaugh took over in 2008, the Ravens have made the playoffs every year, winning the AFC East division twice, two AFC championship appearances and this year, the first Super Bowl appearance since 2000.  

In his first draft, he brought in Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco and Rutgers running back Ray Rice to spark an offense that had been stagnant in prior years. 

With the combination of Harbaugh's coaching mind and style coupled with the stalwart defense and improved offense, the Ravens have become a threat for any opponent to face similar to that of the Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots. 

Yet, they still find themselves as on the back burner in regards to its neighbor teams in the DMV region. Similar to the Washington Capitals, who have strong regular seasons and are unable to produce in the postseason, the Ravens have struggled to get over the hump. 

One things for sure. With a Super Bowl win tonight, the Ravens rule roost as the only team in the region to break through and win a title. 

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