Felix Weber came to Pasadena, Md., in 1995 as an exchange student from Freiburg, Germany, to attend Chesapeake High School. He joined in the excitement that year when the Baltimore community learned the NFL was returning to Charm City in the form of the Ravens.
Now, he leads the largest purple and black fan contingent outside of North America. The German Flock has more than 90 members and became an official international outpost of the Council of Ravens Roosts in 2017.
"I was a Ravens fan from the very first moment," Weber said. "I am a huge sports fan and soccer fan, and I have followed the team ever since."
In 2011, Weber started a Facebook group for all German Ravens fans. That group increased to 500 fans in 2016 and included Roost royalty such as former president Charlotte Krause and Purple Pride radio host Bill West.
When he learned the Ravens were playing against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London in 2017, Weber started to gather information on how to start a fan club in Germany.
"At the same time, I also started contacting members of Roost 117," Weber said, referring to the chapter located in Catonsville, Md.
Roost members were friends of his host family from his days in Maryland. He was able to establish contact through the Blessing family, his former host family whose daughters were also part of the high school exchange program.
"I met old and new friends when I came to Baltimore in 2015 for a game," Weber said. "After a few talks with the Council and a change in their requirement to take part in the monthly meetings, we became the first Ravens Roost outside the U.S. right before the London game."
Roost No. 500 in Germany was born. The official location is Wyhl, Baden-Wurttemberg. Weber doesn't know why his Roost number is 500 but suggests the Roost international groups start at 500. Or maybe, in the tradition of "Saturday Night Live's" Hans and Franz, the Council wanted to "pump" the Germans up.
"Four hundred and ninety-nine spots for American roosts should be plenty," he said.
Weber organized the first official meetings before the contest against the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.
"We spent every evening in the Admiralty Pub [in London]," he said, "having the best time with fans from America and all over the world. We took our official group picture with the Ravens marching band and about 100 German fans. Despite the result of the game, the weekend in London could not have been better."
One of Weber's most memorable moments as a Ravens fan was his first Ravens game against the Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium in 2015. He also watched the Ravens take on the Rams that season.
"I loved every bit of it, starting with tailgating with members of Roost 117," Weber said. "The stadium itself, there was a great view from every single seat. The emotions during the national anthem were overwhelming to me. It was very emotional to finally be at the stadium, to see the Ravens play and to have that dream come true."
Born and raised in Freiburg, Weber works as a restaurant manager in Europa-Park, Germany's biggest theme park. He lives 20 minutes from his hometown, the small village of Wyhl. It's not always easy for him to catch the Ravens games live.
"Many of us stay up all night to see the Ravens play," he said. "It's a big sacrifice because we are six hours ahead. Monday night games start at 2:30 a.m. Most of us watch via NFL Game Pass. It's best to have the original announcers because, frankly speaking, the German commentators suck."
Weber hopes for a playoff berth this season.
"They improved from last year, personnel wise," he said. "I don't know if they're ready to win the division, but they should be able to make the playoffs with a solid 10-6 season. And once they're in the playoffs, you never know what happens."
His favorite current players are linebacker Terrell Suggs and kicker Justin Tucker. Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis is his favorite Raven of all time.
"I love his speeches and his attitude on the field," Weber said of Lewis.
Weber would like to extend an open invitation to any Ravens fans who want to visit him in Germany. He will be visiting America this coming winter.
"I will be in the United States around Super Bowl weekend," Weber said, "so it would be very much appreciated if the Ravens played in it."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Felix Weber
Issue 247: September 2018
Originally published Sept. 17, 2018