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News » Redskins, Ravens indifferent to so-called rivalry

Redskins, Ravens indifferent to so-called rivalry

Redskins, Ravens indifferent to so-called rivalry
BALTIMORE (AP) - Geographically speaking, the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens should be bitter rivals.

Their home stadiums are a mere 32 miles apart in Maryland. Washington and Baltimore are connected by I-295, which on any given day is frequented by thousands of cars adorned in either burgundy and gold or purple and black.

Perhaps the Redskins and Ravens could develop a rivalry if they played each other on a regular basis. Because Washington is in the NFC and Baltimore resides in the AFC, they will be meeting Sunday night for only the fourth time since the Ravens moved from Cleveland in 1996.

Hatred? Hardly. More like, "Nice to meet ya."

"Seriously, we see each other so little that I think it's more for the fans, the bragging rights, that fact that the two cities are close proximity to each other," said Redskins center Casey Rabach, who spent four years in Baltimore before coming to Washington in 2005. "It's hard to say it's a rivalry. We have some deep rivalries with people in our division, and they do the same. From the players' standpoint, I don't know if there's as much of a rivalry as it is for the fans."

The Redskins (7-5) are in a must-win situation, and it has nothing to do with slapping down a detested rival. Washington is far more interested in keeping alive a playoff drive that has sputtered after a 6-2 start.

The Ravens (8-4) are seeking to sustain the momentum created by a recent 6-1 surge.

And the fans? Rabach was only partially right when he suggested this game is far more significant to the people in the seats than those on the field.

David Michaelson, a 44-year-old franchise owner of a direct mail company, has been a Ravens season ticket holder for 13 years. This will be the first time the Redskins have come to Baltimore during that span, and Michaelson said he "circled the date on the calendar" when the NFL schedule was released.

"I hate the Redskins because Jack Kent Cooke was determined to prevent Baltimore from getting an NFL team," Michaelson said, referring to the former Redskins owner's perceived activity after the Colts left Baltimore in 1984.

Understood. But what about next week's game against the AFC North-rival Pittsburgh Steelers?

"I definitely dislike the Steelers a little bit more," Michaelson acknowledged.

When the Senators left Washington for Texas in 1971, many baseball fans in the nation's capital shifted their allegiance to the Baltimore Orioles. But Colts fans simply couldn't stomach the idea of singing "Hail to the Redskins" and rooting for a team from haughty Washington.

"I think the Baltimore fans dislike the Redskins a little bit more than vice versa," Rabach said. "When Baltimore lost the Colts they didn't have a team to root for, and they definitely weren't going to root for Washington."

Fans of both teams have had plenty to cheer about this season. Washington has played well under first-year coach Jim Zorn, and the Ravens have already won three more games under rookie coach John Harbaugh than they did all last year for Brian Billick.

It didn't take Zorn long to understand the intensity of the rivalry between the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. Redskins-Ravens? Not so much.

"I haven't seen that, so I guess I need to be gotten up to speed. I don't know if I can rile it up inside of me," Zorn said. "I just look at their football team and that should be enough for me to get all fired up. But not from a rivalry or a hate standpoint."

Already in position for a wild-card berth and just a game behind division-leader Pittsburgh, Baltimore is looking to enhance its position in the AFC. That, more than anything, defines the incentive to beat the Redskins.

"For us, it's another game and another opportunity to reach our goal," wide receiver Derrick Mason said.

The Redskins planned to spend Saturday night at the same team hotel they use before home games. Getting to Baltimore won't be nearly as difficult as facing a defense that ranks second in the NFL and hasn't permitted a touchdown in the last 10 quarters.

"It's like a trip to the dentist," guard Pete Kendall said.

That pretty much describes the enthusiasm for this so-called rivalry. Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was wearing a "Battle of the Beltway" T-shirt during an interview session, and someone asked him why.

"They made me wear it," he replied.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 4, 2008

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