More than 100 Baltimore Ravens fans descended on downtown Towson at lunchtime Friday for one last Ravens Rally before the team's AFC Championship Game on Sunday afternoon against the New England Patriots.
Though the location of the event has long been known as Patriot Plaza, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz — with the blessing of Maryland Adjutant Gen. James Adkins — ensured that fans, at least this weekend, won't have to say "that P-word."
"While we are incredibly proud of the service of our veterans, our servicemen and servicewomen, there really is no way we can let there be a Patriot Plaza anywhere in Ravens Country this weekend, especially at the home of the Baltimore County Ravens," Kamenetz said during the event. "Until Monday morning, we're officially renaming this plaza, Ravens Plaza."
The gathering roared in approval of the announcement, as they did for nearly everything the hoarse county executive said .
And though Ravens spirit was evident for all involved, it manifested itself in many different ways.
Ayla Haig, of Cockeysville, supplemented her business attire with a subtle purple scarf. Others, like Deenie Werkmeister, of Towson, and Stacy Hanley, of Overlea, were shuffling layers before the rally to make sure their purple jerseys were on top of their heavy coats.
And as always, there were those like Barbie and Lorrie Pike of Parkville, who were dressed in a way that would have placed high in any Ravens costume contest.
"We were so upset because last week, we missed it by two minutes," Barbie Pike said regarding a similar rally held Jan. 13. "We were going to make sure we didn't miss it today. We're very excited by our Ravens."
Werkmeister, who works on Washington Avenue, said it was her first Ravens Rally of the postseason, and that the event "just adds to the excitement" of the team's playoff run.
Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce and one of the events organizers, said she was thrilled by the turnout and praised Ravens fans as the best she's ever seen.
"Baltimore County is made up of so many people, so many different religions, so many different nationalities, so many different backgrounds," Hafford said during the event. "But I'm telling you something right now: we all bleed purple."
Kamenetz pointed out the symmetry that a Super Bowl run to Indianapolis could provide for the Ravens.
"In 1984, a bunch of Mayflower trucks left Owings Mills in the middle of the night and packed up football gear, taking our team to Indianapolis," Kamenetz said.
"Well guess what? It's 27 years and 10 months later, and we're sending another truck back to Indianapolis with the Baltimore football equipment," he said. "The Baltimore Ravens aren't moving there, they're heading there to win a championship!"