Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

August 29, 2013

Why is this game being played in Denver again?

So Denver’s in an uproar because Joe Flacco’s picture is plastered all over town beside Peyton Manning’s picture in NFL-purchased promotions for Thursday’s season opener between the Ravens and the Broncos.

Boo-hoo. Who cares? Just one more city that thinks it has a reason to dislike Joe Flacco, as though this is his doing. Think the boos that await him Thursday night are going to bother him? Come on, he gets booed in Baltimore.

Look, I love Denver. It might be the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited, but Denver’s lucky to be even hosting this game.

Denver is where you go to live in paradise (and it is paradise) and then after you are able to suck up only so much of the altitude you begin to think realistically again and realize it’s time to pack up and relocate somewhere back in the real world. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Wouldn’t mind doing it myself, but as I am currently stuck in the real world I am acutely aware that the Thursday night NFL season opener was created for television (always television) and the reigning Super Bowl champion, which, in this case, is the Baltimore Ravens.

Have the fans in Denver forgotten this? Come on, think back. Bitter cold day, Divisional playoff game ... Flacco ... Jacoby Jones ... Tony Carter ... Rahim Moore ... 70-yard TD ... double-overtime ... Peyton Manning INT ... Ravens take new life and ride Flacco’s arm to the Super Bowl? Come on, Denver, you were there. The game was played in Denver, just like Thursday night’s will be. Which brings us to why the game is being played in Denver.

Those blasted Orioles! Those blasted and selfish Orioles are to blame because they wouldn’t move a meaningless home game with the Chicago White Sox to accommodate the great and powerful Goodell, who grew up an Orioles fan and who said he thought a same-day celebration of both the Orioles and the Ravens would be swell for the people of Baltimore.

Of course. The son of a United States Senator turned NFL commissioner had the well-being and happiness of the people of Baltimore in mind when he wouldn’t allow the Ravens game to be played on Wednesday night while the Orioles are playing a night game in Cleveland.

So why not move the NFL Kickoff Game to Wednesday night, the way the NFL did last year to avoid a conflict with President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention? Well, Rosh Hashanah begins Wednesday night and the NFL, ever mindful of others’ religious beliefs even when they schedule games on Christmas, ruled the game could not be played on Wednesday. Thus, it was up to the Orioles, the White Sox, Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, the Ravens and the NFL to figure something out.

And don’t forget the city of Baltimore. For even if the involved parties could have figured out a way to at least re-schedule the Thursday games (Orioles in the afternoon,  Ravens at 9 p.m.), as the teams share the same parking lot, it would have created a logistical nightmare the likes of which are seen only in Godzilla movies. Can you imagine downtown Baltimore with that many people crammed into one space? Particularly at rush hour?

It wouldn’t have worked, but even if it could have worked, why should the Orioles, who are still in the hunt for the AL wild card, feel obligated to move a home game that had already been on the schedule for months, to accommodate the NFL? They shouldn’t. Yet to their credit, they did try — unsuccessfully, and the Ravens, in turn, opted to open on the road on Thursday night rather than open at home on Sunday night.

(And no, sad as it is to have to remind people, the Ravens did not lose a home game. They just won’t open at home.)

In the meantime, Broncos fans, ungrateful for the gift of hosting the NFL Kickoff Game, steam on because Joe Flacco’s picture is all over Denver. And even Peyton Manning, whose picture is also up there, and who should really just keep his mouth shut since he is a major reason for the Flacco likenesses being anywhere, chimed in.

“I’ve never heard of anything like that for a regular season game,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like it makes a lot of sense that the Denver Broncos have to have an opposing player on their stadium.”

Nor did it seem to make a lot of sense that Manning would rush a pass across his body and into the hands of Ravens cornerback Corey Graham at the most critical juncture of the season in the Denver Broncos’ stadium.

I’m telling you, it’s the altitude.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com

1
Text Only
Mike Burke - Sports
  • O’s, Pirates will be buyers, but when?

    Not that we should expect any blockbuster deals to go down as Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches, but the names you hear in Baltimore are catcher Kurt Suzuki and starting pitchers Ian Kennedy, A.J. Burnett and Jorge De La Rosa.

    July 27, 2014

  • Peanuts and Cracker Jack beat any foam finger

    Times have changed, and for the better, as this week marks the third year in a row NFL training camps have opened and have not taken center stage in the cities of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington. That, of course, is due to the play of the three baseball teams that inhabit said cities, the Orioles, the Pirates and the Nationals — two of whom hold first place in their respective divisions, with the other one entering play on Wednesday just 2 1/2 games out of first.

    July 23, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Further proof you should never bet on baseball

    Had you known in March that ...

    July 16, 2014

  • What have we learned this past month?

    Some serious soccer withdrawal is on the horizon for disciples of the Beautiful Game as the month of mania concludes Sunday with the World Cup final. Germany and Argentina, I believe?

    July 11, 2014

  • A man of the Midwest, of Cumberland, and a friend

    His obituary was neither extravagant nor trumpeting. Yet it was a fitting tribute to the man and the life he lived. It was succinct yet sincere. Like the man, it was gracious and understated, and it was filled with love and with warmth, and all of the names of his family and the things in his life that made him memorable.

    July 9, 2014

  • Reign of the entire planet is at stake

    I’ve given up my LeBron Hate. Don’t misunderstand, I have no LeBron Love or even LeBron Like. It’s more like LeBron Lethargy, although that’s probably too strong of a way to describe my indifference because, while I never root for his teams, it’s impossible to take your eyes off him when he’s playing.

    June 15, 2014

  • This German is one ugly American

    Our soccer friends are beside themselves because the World Cup began yesterday. Look to a watering hole near you for a large collection of soccer enthusiasts when the United States plays its first game (match?) Monday against Ghana.

    June 12, 2014

  • Terps look to the West, like what they see

    What a perfectly strange and wonderful weekend it was for area high school football, and we’re just a third of the way through June. Not strange in a negative way, mind you, but strange as in, boy, this doesn’t happen too often around here any more, much less twice in the same weekend.

    June 11, 2014

  • In the know are these Go-Go O’s

    They are a team that led the American League in home runs last season with 45 more than the league average. Then they add a player who currently leads the majors in homers and is on a pace to hit 58 for the season. They are third in the American League in batting average and sixth in slugging percentage. Yet they are 13th in runs scored because they believe in the double steal and try to steal home with a 53-home run hitter at the plate with two outs in extra innings. They continue to have a hitter who delivered 51 doubles last year put down sacrifice bunts, and they employ a third-base coach who is under the impression his job is to collect tolls on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge ...

    June 8, 2014