Ravens Fans, In And Out Of Baltimore, Ready For Super Bowl
Baltimore Ravens fans are awash in the purple and black as they prepare for Sunday's Super Bowl. NPR's Allison Keyes hangs out with some folks in suburban Maryland who prove that team pride reaches far beyond city limits.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Fans of the Baltimore Ravens are fired up for tomorrow's Super Bowl, even if the team is the underdog - errragh! - against the San Francisco 49ers. But NPR's Allison Keyes reports, Baltimore fans are draping pretty much everything in a sea of purple and black.
ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: Purple Christmas lights, a case of team memorabilia including signed helmets and a stuffed raven? It's clear that fans at the Red Brick Station Pub in White Marsh, Maryland, are serious about their football.
ALEX FRANCKEWITZ: There's only one true color - the color of royalty.
KEYES: Alex Franckewitz is talking about purple, of course. Word is, he dyes his beard that color for games, and he says it's also the color of resurrection.
FRANCKEWITZ: So, we all know that the Lord is a Ravens fan. (LAUGHTER)
KEYES: Franckewitz is president of Ravens Roost Number 52, a fan club with the same number as retiring Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. But his 9-year-old daughter, Emil,y is wearing a different purple jersey.
EMILY FRANCKEWITZ: Joe Flacco. I'm wearing Number 5.
KEYES: No love for Ray Lewis?
EMILY: Those jerseys are really hard to find these days, so...
KEYES: Club members say it's absolutely true that the Baltimore Ravens talk a lot of trash, says Dean Patterson.
DEAN PATTERSON: It's justified.
KEYES: And Dr. Jack Gordon adds...
JACK GORDON: I say, we have the trash to talk about.
KEYES: 'Cause obviously...
GORDON: We're in the Super Bowl.
LEIGHANNE GIBBLE: When we win?
KEYES: Clearly, Ravens fans like Leighanne Gibble believe.
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KEYES: She and Missy Mallow run the popular Facebook page Purple Ladies.
GIBBLE: It is the ultimate girly football page.
KEYES: It's got more than 27,500 likes - 98 percent of them, from women. The ladies say they live and breathe the purple and black even though they live in Pennsylvania, an hour away from the stadium.
GIBBLE: We spend every waking moment - literally - from 5:30 in the morning until after 1 o'clock the next morning, on the computer.
KEYES: The Purple Ladies respond to all comments; and their Facebook page has everything from Ravens player pictures and stats, to fan videos and jewelry giveaways.
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KEYES: Speaking of jewelry, Baltimore Ravens colors glint from the gleaming cases at Saxon's Diamond Centers, about an hour outside of Baltimore. Owner Kevin Ferrell shows off a glittering, crystal football pendant, and matching rings and earrings.
KEVIN FERRELL: That has the Ravens colors - the gold, the purple and the black.
KEYES: There's even a pewter flask here, with the Ravens logo, to help...
FERRELL: ...keep people warm on game day.
KEYES: Plus, if that San Francisco team that shall not be named gets shut out Sunday, anyone who spent up to $5,000 here through Saturday, gets their money back. Debbie Barton was resplendent in a pair of purple Crocs as she perused the jewelry here.
DEBBIE BARTON: Well, I tried to wear purple every day this week.
KEYES: And she's not worried about jinxing her beloved team.
BARTON: Haven't you seen everybody wearing purple?
KEYES: And they are - along with their cars and even their mailboxes. Every single Ravens fan we talked to is predicting a win on Sunday.
Allison Keyes, NPR News, Washington.
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