Tag Archives: ravens


[UPDATED] Ravens Fan and Game Watch Groups Around the Nation

I’m moving from Austin back to Baltimore today, and over the last two and a half years, I’ve been privileged to be able to participate in an incredible community of Baltimore Ravens fans deep in the heart of Texas. We’ve grown as a group to over 100 fans during peak games, while living in the shadow of the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans.

When I moved to Austin, I was only aware of one Ravens fan group outside of Baltimore – and that was Atlanta. I was stoked to hear about the Austin group (We call ourselves the 512 Nest) and I have watched every game with this group except when I have been at the games themselves.

With the AFC Championship game this coming week, a lot of folks around the country will be jumping on the bandwagon of the Baltimore Ravens or the New England Patriots, the Atlanta Falcons or the San Francisco 49ers.

If you’re looking to cheer on the Ravens and are looking for a group of fans in your area – whether or not you are a Ravens fan is irrelevant, as long as you want to watch with other Ravens fans – here are my currently known list of groups:

  • Austin, Texas – The 512 Nest – The Upper Decks, 301 Barton Springs Rd, Austin TX 78704
  • Los Angeles/Hollywood – The West Wing, The Parlor Hollywood, 7250 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
  • Atlanta, Georgia = ATL Ravens, Sports & Recreation, 942 Peachtree St, Atlanta GA 30309
  • Houston, Texas – Houston Area Ravens Fans, Pub Fiction, 2303 Smith St, #100, Houston, TX 77006
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL – The Florida Flock (South), Maguire’s, 535 N. Andrews Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
  • Ft. Lauderdale (Juno Beach) – The Florida Flock (North), Kirby’s Sports Pub and Grill, Plaza La Mar, 841 Donald Ross Rd, Juno Beach, FL 33408
  • San Francisco, CA – Ravens in the Fog, Thieves Tavern, 496 14th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
  • San Diego, CA – Dirty Birds, 4656 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
  • Denver, CO – Baltimore Ravens in Colorado – Chopper’s Sports Grill, 80 South Madison St, Denver, CO 80209
  • Orlando, FL – Orlando Ravens Flock
  • Jacksonville, FL – Duval Bad Birds, Blackfinn American Grille, 4840 Big Island Drive #05, Jacksonville, FL 32246

I know there are more. Please let me know of any I didn’t list. Enjoy the game Sunday and GO RAVENS!

Updated: Ft. Lauderdale, San Francisco, San Diego and Denver groups added per Dave in comments. Thanks!

Update 2: Added Orlando, Jacksonville, and a second Ft. Lauderdale location thanks to the Florida Flock.


Welcome to Baltimore! (Or a Playoff Weekend Guide to Charm City)

It’s no secret that I’m a Ravens fan. Even sitting here in a coffee shop deep in the heart of Texas (with my cowboy hat, boot, deep Texas drawl and a ‘preciation for all those who venture into our fair area of heaven 1). So, it’s with deep pride that I send Houston Texans back to my hometown for an ass-whoopin’.

I travel a lot for football. It’s kind of my hobby. This year, I was back in Baltimore for the Week 6 matchup against these same Texans and the Week 16 matchup on Christmas Eve for the Cleveland Browns game. I also visited Seattle 2 in November.

In Baltimore, we make no bones about the fact that we’re the better team than our opponent in almost every case. We’re undefeated at home and in our division, the toughest in football. However, we do welcome fans from other cities and want you to have a good time.

Just don’t be a jerk!

With that said, we hope you spend the weekend in the city and give us your money at our many fine establishments. Here’s some ideas.

Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards and the Babe Ruth Museum

Baltimore has a steeped sports tradition. From the Baltimore Orioles who have put out such hall of famers such as Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken, Jr., Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and more to the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas to the Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards)… the tradition is rich. Babe Ruth was, of course, born in Baltimore. Take a trip just west of Camden Yards (located north of M&T Bank Stadium 3 to the Babe Ruth Museum or to the Northwest corner of Camden Yards to the Sports Legends Museum.

Website: http://www.baberuthmuseum.com

Brewer’s Art

Gain an appreciation for one of the better places to get a home-grown brew. The Brewer’s Art, located in Baltimore’s artsy Mt. Royal district, is built into ancient tunnels that once existed under modern-day Charles St. The tunnels existed for the purpose of pulling cannons through in the unfortunate situation where Ft. McHenry had to be scuttled. It’s dark and homey and makes some of the best microbrews I’ve ever tasted – The Ressurection Ale, an Abbey-style weighing in at 7%, and the Ozzy, a duvel-style weighing in at 7.25%.

Website: http://www.thebrewersart.com

Luckies’s for a Dedicated Texans fan Patriots-Broncos Watch Party

Luckies’s is a fun place in Baltimore’s Power Plant Live! district 4, for all things Texas sports. It’s also the home of the local Texas Longhorns alumni group and you can find this dedicated group there on weekend in the fall watching the Longhorns win (unless they’re losing).

Behind the bar, they have a dedicated Texas “mug club” for the dedicated members with the burnt orange prominently displayed throughout. Though I’m aware that Houston is *cough cough* Aggies country, they are opening up the bar for a special watch party for Texans fans interested in seeing Tebow, or the Patriots on Saturday. That event starts at 3pm and apparently, a Houston DJ is flying in to DJ after the game. 5

Website: https://www.facebook.com/LuckiesTavernBaltimore


You can’t go to Maryland without getting a Crabcake. Sorry, Houston… Gulf crabs are not the same. And anything fried should be avoided – broiled only! There are always some passionate opinions about what is best. I recommend (if you have wheels), heading just south of town to G&M. Do not head to Phillips. Many of my favorite haunts are closed since I moved away so I asked local Baltimore folks on Twitter for recommendations.

@OneFineJay: Best takeout: Roy’s in Glen Burnie. Also, Hellas.

@scott_cover: koko’s or faidleys always good

Welcome but Behave!

As one Texans journalist noted in an article this week, you’re an uninvited guest. We want you to have fun but please don’t be a jerk. To Texans fans credit, I have visited both Reliant Stadium in purple and the Texans game earlier in 2011 in Baltimore. In both cases, Texans fans were great. We know we don’t match your amazing tailgating prowess, but we do a pretty good job. Get in there and mix it up with fans… just don’t be that guy (or girl!) that is pissing the locals off. This ain’t Texas. :)


  1. Not really!
  2. Worst fans in the NFL!
  3. You can just call it the Vault!
  4. Avoid at night unless you like college-age bros and hos
  5. unconfirmed
Feature, Sports

Ravens, Playoffs, Ho-hum

The Ravens have reached the playoffs in 7 of the last 10 years, an astounding number considering the strength of the AFC North (and Central pre-2002) and the lack of offensive talent that has been pattern of the team for most of those 10 years.

In this year, 2010, the Ravens are 11-4 with a game left to play. With only the 3-win Cincinnati Bengals remaining in the regular season, it’s a good assumption that the team will end the regular season 12-4. That number is important for two reasons:

  • 12-4 was the record of the 2000 Superbowl Ravens who snuck in as a wild-card only because, then-division rival Tennessee had a 13-3 record, and
  • Only one other playoff run has come off of a better record (2006 at 13-3)

But as a Baltimore fan who has the good fortune of supporting a team going into their third consecutive playoff appearance with a third-year head coach and a third-year quarterback, I feel a bit like an Atlanta Braves fan.

The Atlanta Braves visited the postseason 14 consecutive times from 1991-2005 (excluding the 1994 strike-shortened year) and it became “normal” to Atlanta baseball fans. So normal, in fact, that Atlanta homegames in the postseason were often not well attended. Braves fans expected the postseason!

Here’s the problem with the Braves Nation though. They expected the playoffs but didn’t expect to win. The reason was… they only won the World Series once (1995)!

Yesterday, with a workman-like victory over the Browns, Ravens nation should have been ecstatic to get to the playoffs. Imagine what is happening in Kansas City right now with a Chiefs playoff clinch? What would happen in Buffalo if that team, that is so close to being competitive, actually visited the dance?

To us, the playoffs are meh. We’ve been here. We’ve done that. We’ve won division titles. We’ve made it as a wildcard team. We even won a Superbowl.

But we need another Superbowl. Soon. I can sympathize a bit with the Eagles who made it to the dance so many times in the middle of last decade, but struggled to reach the ultimate game (or win it).

I love the fact we’re in the playoffs but you’re going to have to give me more to get excited about because right now, it looks like a cliché road to the playoffs with another cliché cast of characters. It looks like the road, for Baltimore, will go through Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and New England… We’ve seen this story before. I need a different result.

Aaron Brazell

Best Internet Memes of 2010

Pants on the Ground

January came in with a roar with American Idol auditions. One audition, General Larry Pratt, sang a ridiculous song “Pants on the Ground”. See the original audition below:

This spawned remixes, covers and even Brett Favre firing up the Minnesota Vikings after winning the NFC Divisional game.

I’m on a Horse

The Old Spice commercial that took the internet by storm because… well, because it was so damn ridiculously funny. The man behind the I’m on a horse commercial is none other than Twitter user @isaiahmustafa.

Funny stuff.

The meme continued when Old Spice did an Old Spice Questions series on YouTube where Isaiah Mustafa took questions from Twitter users and answered them on YouTube.

After Isaiah Mustafa stepped down as the Old Spice spokesman, Baltimore Ravens lineback Ray Lewis stepped in with a hilarity of his own.



Leroy Stick (fake name) began the Twitter account @BPGlobalPR as a result of watching for over a month as BP Public Relations people spun bullshit to the general public and government after the catastrophic oil catastrophy in the Gulf of Mexico. The account served several purposes. For one, it helped us laugh when he put out content like these:

The second purpose it served was to draw attention to the horrible way BP managed their reputation and brand. At the TEDxOilSpill event, Stick was quoted as saying, “Having a brand means you stand for something. If you lie, than lying is your brand.”

This account has easily become the most retweeted account in 2010 and it’s devastating in it’s satirical impact.

Double Rainbow

The Double Rainbow Meme was hilarious in its own right. A guy in Yosemite National Park witnessed a double rainbow and proceeds to cry, weep, squeal and ask, “What’s it mean?” on video. The video was shared across the internet and even remixed into an autotuned song.

You’re Holding it Wrong

With the release of the iPhone 4, users complained about lack of reception and dropped calls. In an extraordinary press conference shortly after the release of the phone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs commented on how, if the phone was held a certain way, it would interfere with the built-in antenna. This was echoed by Apple and AT&T Support technicians and the phrase, “You’re holding it wrong” was adopted by the masses.

You’re holding it wrong also became a euphemism for other hilarity throughout 2010.


Aaron Brazell

The Maturation of a Leader

Football has a striking resemblance to business sometimes.

Despite moving to Austin, my allegiance to the Baltimore Ravens remains as strong, and maybe stronger, than ever. It’s been an exciting offseason with lots of power moves and now training camp is in full swing.

For third year Quarterback Joe Flacco, this appears to be his coming out year. The Baltimore Sun ran a story about him the other day noting that this offense is now Joe’s offense. He’s taking command. He’s inheriting responsibility. He’s taking ownership.

He’s taking more command and making more adjustments at the line of scrimmage. He’s looking to become more effective in the red zone. And he’s tutoring new backup quarterback Marc Bulger when everyone thought it would be the other way around.

“I want to be able to just run the show and go up and down the field, blow out points on the board and come out successful,” Flacco said after a 75-minute practice featuring rookies and veterans coming off injuries. “That’s what it’s all about.”

That’s the mark of a leader and something that anyone who aspires to leadership is required to do at one point.

Since being in Austin, I’ve been exposed more and more to the startup life – something I used to live in as the Director of Technology at b5media, a company that used to be a blog network but now is something, well, frankly, unidentifiable.

As a result of my new exposure to a startup culture, I’ve already talked to a few companys to get a feel of how they do business. It reminds me of those early days at b5media. Four founders, making decisions by committee, and hoping for the best. Sometimes consensus was a blocker to real innovation.

This mode is common for early companies. Small group. Everyone needs to be on the same page to do anything. And they suffer from paralysis of no decisions. No one is willing to take charge and lead.

At b5media, once we took our first round of VC money, Jeremy Wright, became the CEO. He was forced into a role of trying to get consensus but not suffering from the paralysis of required consensus. Many times, those of us in those leadership roles diverged in opinions and advocated different directions. It was Jeremy’s role to distill this feedback, foster the discussion, and then ultimately take ownership of the situation and make his call.

Sometimes it was the right choice. Sometimes it wasn’t.

Imagine this. It’s a third and long situation. The Ravens offense is backed up on their own 10 yard line due to an unfortunate series of downs involving an incomplete pass and an offensive holding penalty. They are down by 13 points with 6 minutes left in the game. The safe call, and the one called in to Flacco by Cam Cameron on the sideline, would be a slant play down the middle to a slot receiver or tight end.

As the offense lines up, Flacco sees the defense showing blitz and crowding the middle. Understanding from experience that this is a situation fraught with disaster and the need for a big breakout play to energize his offense, he calls an audible. Ray Rice on a draw play – bait the offense to continue to see the pass, but then destroy them with an off tackle run. Rice runs for 24 yards and gets the first down and better field position.

If it wasn’t for the leader having the confidence and insight to see the minefield upon him, he might just go with common wisdom or, more naturally, the wisdom of his advisors. However, he decides that he has the information he needs to make a big play, owns the call and gets a win.

While it’s common for young startups to operate on consensus, sometimes it requires someone with enough balls to make a tough call and own it. A good team will support that and have their leaders back regardless. If they don’t, they shouldn’t be on your team.

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Aaron Brazell

Steve McNair and the Failure of Breaking News Reporting

It’s a late Fourth of July afternoon here in Bethesda, Maryland and I am sitting here working on a chapter in the new book. Peacefully minding my own business while the steady stream of chips from Tweetdeck occurred, I did not realize what was happening.

Steve McNair died. Putting aside the tragedy (he was a former Raven, a hero among athletes and, by all acounts, men – NFL MVP, a warrior known to play through countless injuries, mature in his approach to life and the game), we witnessed a catastrophic failure of major media. Again.

I’m not one to crucify major media. Indeed, I may be one of the few in my industry to want to see the newspaper and other forms of traditional media succeed in a huge fashion. The problem is that, even in the days of blogs and Twitter, we still rely on major media to report the news. To do the journalism. To find the sources and produce the confirmation.

As much as we in new media claim to be journalists, major media still does the job better than most of us could hope too.

We rely on Twitter and sometimes we’re wrong. Take the example of the report that actor Jeff Goldblum had died. Highly inaccurate. Stephen Colbert even fucked around with us in new media claiming that if it happens on Twitter, it must be true.

This afternoon, Twitter was ablaze with reports that Nashville Police has found former Tennessee Titan and Baltimore Raven quarterback, Steve McNair, dead in an apparent murder suicide. WKRN, in Nashville, was the first with the news and it quickly disappeared off their page – a result of too much traffic or erroring on the side of caution, who is to really know.

NBC Affiliate WTVF, Channel 5, was the second to report it filling the gap where WKRN dropped off.

It was a long time (30 minutes or so) before national media picked it up. ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports by their own slogan, didn’t have it. No one did. We were left gasping for more. Is the rumor true? Can anyone confirm? Can police confirm?

Was any of us on Twitter making calls? Maybe. A few possibly. Not many.

Major media got a little jittery in the past. After 9/11. With other reports that turned into an overcompensation. Fact is, major media can safely report on a rumor as long as it is billed as such. No one has to say that this is confirmed. But people want to know. We get our news on the internet.

We find out about things happening in Iran via Twitter. We find out about Michael Jackson dying… on Twitter. We read blogs that deal with Sarah Palin’s awkwardly bizarre resignation at Alaska governor. We’re not watchoing your TV stations. We’re not in Nashville. Welcome to the global economy.

Report the damn news and report it as a rumor to hedge your bets. But report the news.

Photo Credit: mdu2boy

Update: Most media organizations are reporting a double homicide now, not a murder sucide. WKRV, who was first with the story, had reported a possible murder-suicide.

Aaron Brazell

Live from Ravens Training Camp

I’m leaving tomorrow for Gnomedex so I don’t anticipate any last minute blogging. Instead, I’ll leave you with a video cast that I produced today from Ravens Training Camp in Westminster, MD for my Suicide Fan weekly sports podcast. For those of you who are sports fans, I hope you enjoy. For everyone else, well… Gnomedex is on Thursday and I’m sure I’ll be posting things you’ll want to read.