It was Dorothy's mantra in "The Wizard of Oz" and it might as well be the Ravens', too: "There's no place like home."
According to a new ESPN.com article, M&T Bank Stadium ranks as the NFL's toughest venue for opposing teams.
No, it's not because of all the drunken, rowdy fans and the fat guys in face-paint, feathers and beads -- although let's face it, the Bank has its share of those. It's not because of the noise levels. It's not because of "Seven Nation Army" blaring over the sound system until it fries the brain of opposing players.
It's not because of any annoying scoreboard messages urging the crowd to "Get Loud!" (The Ravens don't believe in them. They think they're low-class. Like trotting out Honey Boo Boo's family to sing the national anthem.)
It's not because of Ray Lewis' crazy intro dance. And it's not because of the weather, either, although an early-season game in the heat and humidity there can feel like the jungles of Nicaragua.
Sure, some or all of those may be contributing factors. But the Bank gets top billing in ESPN's "Dirty Half-Dozen"" stadiums because of how well the Ravens play there as opposed to how they play on the road.
I know, I know ... what a concept!
This shouldn't come as a shocker to anyone in Baltimore, but over the past 10 years, the Ravens have the the NFL's biggest differential between home (.771) and road (.415) winning percentage.
That winning percentage at home is second only to the New England Patriots in that span, according to ESPN. And the Ravens also have the greatest point differential between home (plus 756) and away (minus 77) in the league, a swing of a whopping 833 points.
What does it all mean? Who knows? All NFL teams are more comfortable playing at home versus away. But the Ravens take it to a new level.
In 14 years at the Bank, they're 84-31 (.730). But their road record is a dismal 50-64 (.439).
This much is clear: when the Ravens tell you there's no place like home, they're not kidding.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun