God knows I hate the Ravens. I really do. I'm not even sure why. I think it maybe has something to do with Joe Flacco's eyebrows. Look at them:
And let's remember that Flacco only got his job because the guy the Ravens wanted to start -- Troy Smith -- had laryngitis before a preseason game, giving Flacco a shot. (Flacco previously couldn't beat out Tyler Palko for a starting job at the University of Pittsburgh, transferring to Delaware, and then icing his chances of going in the first round by winning the "Taco Bell Quarterback Scramble" at the NFL Combine that year.)
What's weird is that I cannot find footage anywhere of the Taco Bell Quarterback Scramble, and when I googled it, I wasn't able to find any information on what, exactly, it is, because Googling it produces mainly results telling you that Joe Flacco did quite well in it:
Honestly: If you google that question, the first six results all point to Joe Flacco, so that is now his highest career achievement.
With me hating the Ravens and their quarterback Joe Flacco As Brought To You By Taco Bell, you'd think this post would be a foregone conclusion that I'm going to end up deciding they shouldn't go to the Super Bowl, but remember, I hate the Patriots*, too, so this AFC Championship promises to be a bummer for me no matter what, as either Bill Belicheat's Evil Leave Of Evil gets another shot at a Cheationship (TM) or the league's second-boringest team will get to play another Snoozeper Bowl in my lifetime.
So let's go through the motions, anyway:
Why The Ravens SHOULD Go To The Super Bowl: Two reasons: First, Art Modell is a champion of the free market. Remember, this team used to be the Cleveland Browns, playing in a city nobody cares about and ringing up mediocre results. Then Art Bell did what Americans are supposed to believe in: he decided to let the free market's invisible hand guide him on down to the highest bidder.
Despite that simply being free market economics which all Americans are supposed to love because every single time the government does anything it's socialism, the City (?) of Cleveland's government went all Marxist on us and contacted the NFL, which caved in to overregulation and agreed to give another team to Cleveland, and, further, agreed that New Cleveland Team would be the Browns and would hold all the previous stats and records for the Old Browns and further decreed, in a decision authored by Judge Roy Snyder from Springfield, that nobody would ever speak of this again.
That is: A corporation -- which is a person -- decided to engage in a little free market capitalism, only to result in the heavy-handed mitt of government promptly bloody-knuckling not just that corporation's invisible hand but another one's, too, forcing the NFL and Art Modell's Little Corporation That Could to kowtow to the Cleveland Politburo.
In the years since, the Ravens were sold (in 2000) for $600,000,000 and are now valued at $1,079,000,000, 7% of which (or $80,000,000) comes from the "brand," so the name Ravens and being from Baltimore is worth about $80,000,000.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns, purchased for $530,000,000 in 1998 are currently worth $1,035,000,000, with 8% of that, or $78,000,000, being from the brand.
Which is a mixed bag for capitalism, I suppose: the Browns' investment value has climbed at a faster rate than the Ravens, despite the fact that during that time the Ravens won a Super Bowl and repeatedly made the playoffs while Cleveland's biggest accomplishments during the same period were "repeatedly beating the Buffalo Bills."
And, even more distressing for capitalism, most studies agree that government attempts to lure, or keep, professional football teams are misguided at best. The Cato Institute said that "Our own research suggests that professional sports may be a drain on local economies rather than an engine of economic growth."
What kind of negative impact? Oh, just MAKING YOU POORER!
Seriously: said the Cato Institute:
The presence of professional sports teams, on average, reduces the level of real per capita income in metropolitan areas.
The kind of sport that your city gets determines how much poorer you are:
For example, the arrival of a new basketball franchise in a metropolitan area increases real per capita income by about $67. But building a new arena for that basketball team reduces real per capita income by almost $73 in each of the 10 years following the construction of the arena, leading to a net loss of about $6 per person.
Similarly, in cities that have baseball franchises, the net effect of an existing baseball team playing in a 37,000-seat baseball-only stadium (the average capacity of the baseball stadiums in our sample) is a $10 reduction of real per capita income.
I wonder why that doesn't get trumpeted on the start of NFL broadcasts? Much, but not all, of the problem there comes from government subsidies, and leads the Cato Institute to conclude that
one thing is clear from the evidence on professional sports franchises: owners are reaping substantial benefits in the value of their teams because they are so skilled at the stadium gambit.
That's GREAT, right? That's capitalism! Rich people profiting off government tax dollars that provide no real benefit to the community at large I...
That's not capitalism?
I stand corrected. Still, the Ravens are a blow for the free market, right? They moved to Baltimore, got named after Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem antagonist, and doubled in value in just over 10 years, just like every single other person's investments did over that time.
Let's just gloss over that lesson and move on to the other reason why rooting for the Ravens to make the Super Bowl is a good thing: Because of Edgar Allan Poe, America's favorite macabre son of traveling actors.
Edgar Allan Poe is, after Steve Jobs, easily our most-misunderstood genius. As the Poe Museum website explains, most of what we believe about Poe (that he's a morbid, mysterious man) comes not from the fact that Poe wrote nothing but morbid, mysterious things, but instead, from an evil biographer trying to defame Poor Edgar.
According to the Poe Museum, Poe is sort of like Reverse Batman: same history, mostly, sans all the superheroing. Poe's parents died when he was three, leaving him to be raised by wealthy tobacco barons. Poe didn't like tobacco-ing, though, and went off to the University of Virginia, where his miserly adoptive father gave him "less than one-third" of the money he needed, resulting in Poe having to resort to gambling to raise funds because that is exactly the kind of story that puts a positive spin on someone. "He's not all macabre! He's just a guy who so despised hard work that when he needed money he tried to raise it by gambling!"
Poe, humiliated and broke, went back home only to find his girl was engaged to another man; he got in a fight with his adoptive father, and that leads to the least likely sentence ever written in the English language. Quoth the Poe Museum:
Those two things being synonymous.
The heartbroken Poe’s last few months in the Allan mansion were punctuated with increasing hostility towards Allan until Poe finally stormed out of the home in a quixotic quest to become a great poet and to find adventure.
Poe would go on to be written out of his will and mugged by a cousin of his, so if you think your family is bad, well, consider that, but soon rose to fame writing scathing book reviews -- (hey, Grumpy Bulldog! You could be the next Poe!) -- and using his newfound fame, married a thirteen year old girl.
Quoth the Poe Museum:
At the age of twenty-seven, Poe brought Maria and Virginia Clemm to Richmond and married his Virginia, who was not yet fourteen.
I'm finding out a whole lot of things I never heard in English Class. It makes you wonder what the biography that defamed Poe said.
Poe was still not wealthy: he quit his job and moved to New York, then Philadelphia, but wasn't making any money (his first book paid him in 25 free copies, which was explained because at the time, the publishers were really only looking for Young Adult books, the market having been besieged by Ye Hungere Gamese the year before) So Poe became the first Balloon Dad and tried to trick the world into giving him money.
Quoth The Poe Museum:
Always in search of better opportunities, Poe moved to New York again in 1844 and introduced himself to the city by perpetrating a hoax. His “news story” of a balloon trip across the ocean caused a sensation, and the public rushed to read everything about it—until Poe revealed that he had fooled them all.So based on the precedent-setting case of Oprah v. James Frey, if you've ever had to read anything Poe wrote, the City of Baltimore owes you $1.77.
Poe celebrated that fame by publishing The Raven, going broke, and having an affair with a married woman.
(Remember: This is the official biography the Poe Museum puts out to ensure that you don't get the wrong idea about Edgar Allan Poe.)
After the death of his wife, Poe began courting other people and believed he was engaged again to his original fiancee when:
On the way to Philadelphia, Poe stopped in Baltimore and disappeared for five days. He was found in the bar room of a public house that was being used as a polling place for an election.
This is easily the greatest thing I have read in a month of Sundays. Poe died shortly therafter, and then one of the authors whose works he'd savaged wrote a libelous biography
in which he portrayed Poe as a drunken, womanizing madman with no morals and no friends.When, of course, nothing could be further from the truth. So if the Ravens make the playoffs, perhaps America's long national nightmare can finally be over, and we will no longer have to think of Edgar Allan Poe as a "drunken, womanizing madman with no morals and no friends" but can instead remember him as the petulant, slacker, gambling man who married a prepubescent girl while viciously attacking anyone who was more popular than him.
Why The Ravens Should NOT Go To The Super Bowl: Because I hate them.
This post has been light on pictures of girls in bikinis and such, so let's throw one in here:
And say she's the reason to hope they make the Super Bowl, because otherwise my arguments are less-than-compelling.
And, to appeal to the other half of football fans, here is Christopher Egan:
Chris Egan was to play Poe in the eponymous Poe, a TV show ABC threatened to put on in Fall 2011, only to later drop the idea.
Vote: SHOULD Win. Because then we'll finally get that Poe TV series.
Tomorrow (Or Soon): Why The Giants Should(N'T) Win The Super Bowl.