Ravens Head to Foxborough for Divisional Round Showdown
Somewhere in Baltimore…
Bartender (drying glasses, towel slung over shoulder): So have you heard the one about the Baltimore Ravens heading to Foxborough Mass. for a playoff game against the Patriots?
Patron (slugging beer): I’m not sure. It sounds familiar. If you start telling it I’ll let you know.
Bartender: Sure thing. So John Harbaugh gets his team together after pounding the Steelers at Heinz Field in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. I mean after thrashing them good. They were mean to Ben, knocked him around, made him throw picks, sacked him like grain. You get the idea, one nasty beat-down.
Patron: Oh yea I do know this one. Didn’t Bart Scott come off the edge and knock Cheeseburger back to the Reconstruction Era?
Bartender: That was nearly a decade ago man, and in Baltimore. But you’re on the right track. Here have another beer. (slides beer)
Patron: Needed it, thanks.
Bartender: Sure thing. So he gathers them around and he says, “Men, from one enemy territory to another, now we go to Foxborough to play New England. We’ve been there before. We’ve hoisted the conference championship trophy in victory at Gillette Stadium. We’ve also shed tears sorrowfully in defeat. We know what it takes, and we’ll be prepared. And this Saturday we’ll take the field in battle together...” One more for you buddy. (slides beer)
Patron (drinking): Yea I got it now. Ray Rice goes 83 yards on the first play from scrimmage and the Ravens win by three scores. Man that Ben Grubbs sure can clear a lane (breaks into a wide smile)...
Bartender: Not exactly, but the wheels are turning and I can appreciate that. Here, one on me. (slides beer) That was 2010 and those guys aren’t on the team anymore.
Patron (smile disappears): Oh I see. You’re into the morbid ones huh? I know it now. Lee Evans drops a touchdown and Cundiff shanks one to Chatham. (slugs beer, shaking head) Hey, any truth to the rumor those two moved to Hawaii together?
Bartender: Umm, I’m pretty sure that’s not true, but maybe? Never even heard that as a rumor to be honest. Have another. (slides beer)
Patron: Ah, maybe I dreamt it who knows? (takes swig) That Cundiff character couldn’t kick the pollen off an entomophilous plant as far as I’m concerned.
Bartender: Umm, right. I’m not sure I follow you there, but that’s not where I’m headed either. That game is long forgotten.
Patron (smile returning, chugging beer): Oh you mean our Ravens SB champs?! Opening up the offense in the second half! Anquan big-leaguing their defense for two touchdowns. That Brady with a bad attitude trying to groin-kick Ed Reed. McPhee tipped passes and an Ellerbe pick sealing the deal! Now here’s one I can get onboard with. (finishing beer) One more please…
Bartender (slides beer): Sure thing. But no man. I’m not talking about that game either. What I was tryi-
(Bartender is interrupted by Patron singing Queen’s “We are the Champions.” Patron wraps his arm around a young girl’s shoulders sitting a few seats away, encouraging her to join his tuneless massacre of the classic song. He polishes off his beer. The girl is less than amused. Bartender reaches across the counter and grabs Patron by the shoulders, shaking him.)
Bartender: Listen pal. No one’s talking about that season either. That was years ago. It doesn’t matter anymore! (continues to shake Patron by the shoulders) I’m talking about this year’s Ravens team, heading to New England to play Brady and the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. Winner moves on to the conference championship, loser goes home. Get it?
Patron (words slurring, eyes red): Then what’s the punchline?
Bartender (after contemplative silence): Well… I guess it’s not really a joke.
Patron: Then how does it end?
(Disoriented, Patron’s forehead falls to the bar top, hits with a smack)
Bartender: Well, actually just like that. For one team at least.
Ravens at Patriots. Saturday January 10th at 4:35 PM. May the best current team prevail.