Ravens, Rivals Uniforms To Have New Looks?
“PRO COMBAT” MOTIF MIGHT BE USED
By Joe Platania
OWINGS MILLS -- For years, the NFL was a bastion of uniform stability. Anytime fans would watch a highlight clip and get a glance at a certain color scheme, there was no mystery as to which team was being spotlighted.
No-frills uniform design and block numerals have been the norm for most of the NFL’s modern history. The Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers and Ravens have used more rounded-out numerals on their jerseys, but for the most part, a no-frills sport has kept a rather minimalist look.
That could be about to change, thanks to Nike’s acquisition from Reebok of the league’s equipment contract, effective in 2012. Without revealing specific details, Nike brand president Charles Denson said the league is definitely going in a different direction with its on-field wear.
":We plan on changing the NFL jersey dramatically, just like we’ve done with the college programs, using new thinking and the greatest technology available," Denson told the Ravens Web site. "The NFL program hasn’t had the same type of advancement in recent years."
A combination of outside-the-box thinking with the nation’s continuous desire to salute its military personnel has led to a series preliminary sketches as to what the new uniforms could look like, recently unofficially leaked.
They are believed to be along the same lines as the pro-combat uniform design Nike put together for numerous college teams beginning this year. Many schools in recent years have worn similar uniforms for special occasions, such as the Army camouflage look displayed two years ago in its traditional season-ending game against Navy.
FOR THE BETTOR: The ultimate in NFL parity has hit the wagering community. According to Bodog.com, there are now a staggering six teams who are co-favorites to win Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas Feb. 6.
"Unlike no other year that I can remember, we have had over 10 different teams as Super Bowl favorites at some point this year," said Bodog sports book manager Richard Gardner. "I think we may be a jinx. Whoever we put as [favorites] loses that week. But this week, in such a close race, we actually have six teams all at 8-1 and two at 9-1, so I am pretty sure our jinx will end here."
The Ravens’ odds went up slightly after their loss to Atlanta last week, but only from 7-1 to 8-1, making Baltimore one of those six favorites along with the New York Jets, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New England and Atlanta.
The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are both at 9-1, and they play each other this weekend in the Sunday night game.
By far, the most up-and-down odds go to Dallas. The Cowboys were 9-1 in preseason, 500-1 when they fired head coach Wade Phillips and currently 200-1 after beating the Giants last week.
Bodog also offers a few proposition bets regarding former Ravens backup Brian St. Pierre, who starts for Carolina against the Ravens this week. His passing yards over/under is 167.5, his over/under completion percentage is 52 percent and he is minus-200 to throw an interception before tossing a touchdown pass.
TRIVIA TIME: Through nine games, the Ravens have scored 196 points and allowed 165, a differential of plus-31. In the Ravens’ previous 14 years of existence, how many times have they ended a season allowing more points than they scored?
ANSWER: There have been six seasons in which the Ravens have allowed more points than they have scored. Unfortunately for charter head coach Ted Marchibroda, three of those six were the only years he spent with the Ravens.
Not only did Marchibroda post a 16-31-1 record, his teams posted negative point differentials in 1996 (minus-70), 1997 (minus-19) and 1998 (minus-66). Much of that was due to the lack of good halftime adjustments and numerous blown fourth-quarter leads.
After Marchibroda was fired, the Ravens did not have a season like that again until 2002, when it fielded the youngest NFL roster (19 rookies and first-year players). That season, which ended with a respectable 7-9 record, saw Baltimore allow 38 more points than it accumulated.
Not surprisingly, the other two occasions the Ravens were outscored took place during a pair of injury-riddled seasons, 2005 and 2007.
In the former year, Baltimore got off to a 2-7 start amidst plenty of locker-room dissension, but stopped a four-game losing streak with an overtime win over Pittsburgh. Still, the Ravens allowed 34 more points than they scored.
Two seasons later, the team got off to a 4-2 start, but then endured a club-record nine-game losing streak that featured two overtime losses. The Ravens were outscored by 109 points and head coach Brian Billick was terminated after the season.
Posted Nov. 19, 2010
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