Ravens Fans, In And Out Of Baltimore, Ready For Super Bowl

Feb 2, 2013
Originally published on February 2, 2013 3:07 pm
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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...

(LAUGHTER)

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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SIMON: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.