Ravens fans ready for first home playoff game in five years
From fans to band members, Catonsville and Arbutus excited about playoffs
Ravens Roost 88 members Brent Jackson, Lynn Moran and Chris Jackson show off their tickets for Sunday's playoff game between the Ravens and Houston Texans at the roost's home, the Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City. (Photo by Nate Pesce / January 9, 2012)
Moran, like thousands of fans in the area, has Ravens Fever as the team prepares for its first home playoff game in five years.
The browser never did load for her last week and the small number of tickets available in the 71,008-seat stadium sold out in less than 15 minutes.
The Arbutus resident has missed only two home games since the 2000 Super Bowl season when she began a 10-year tenure playing bass trombone for the Baltimore Marching Ravens.
Though she left the band two years ago, she didn't want the third game she's missed to be the playoffs.
Undeterred, Moran found and bought a ticket on StubHub.
"I just bought a single one. I'll make friends around me," Moran said confidently.
Her boyfriend, Brent Jackson, and his brother, Chris, will sit next to each other as they watch the game.
Brent and Chris had a much less stressful experience getting their tickets. As season ticket holders since 2006, they had the opportunity to buy their playoff tickets in the middle of December.
Chris is president of Ravens Roost 88, a nonprofit organization of Ravens fans who perform community service, and estimated that a quarter of the Paradises roost's 45 members will attend the game.
"Everyone's buzzing. Everyone's excited," said Chris, a Catonsville resident. "There's nothing like a playoff atmosphere. Opening Day is pretty intense, but the playoffs are different."
Chris, 35, recalled the last playoff game the Ravens hosted in 2007 and the terrible feeling he had after the 15-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
This season, though, has generated an optimism that he won't have that same sick-to-his-stomach feeling again.
"The 8-0 record really speaks for itself. We really just dominated at home," Chris said, referring to the team's perfection in M&T Bank Stadium this season. "It's been a great year to be a fan."
Sitting next to him for each of those wins at home has been his younger brother, Brent, a member of Roost 88, as is Moran.
Brent, 29, said he and his brother chat occasionally throughout the game but expects less conversation during Sunday's long-anticipated contest.
"It felt like there was a lot more on the line for a game like that," Brent recalled of the last home playoff game. "And for a fan that's sort of more palpable for you."
Asked his preference of a tight game or a blowout, Brent said he had two wishes.
"Any time you have something that you haven't had in a half decade, you don't want it to be a let down," the Arbutus resident said. "As long as they stay injury free and can advance to the next round, I'll be happy."