In an effort to seemingly not let old wounds finally heal, America found out Wednesday night that the gimmick plays the New England Patriots used in the latest edition of their bitter rivalry with the Ravens were named after the unsuspecting victims.
The two formations were called “Baltimore” and “Raven” — almost surely not anything other than a convenient name for a play they’d use against them that week, but definitely something that will needle the Ravens, considering the two teams’ history of contentious battles.
The names were revealed on the NFL Network special, “Do Your Job,” which covered that Super Bowl run, including the antics that helped New England wrestle control away from the Ravens in that game. It also included plenty on the deflated football shenanigans that followed.
There’s no need to recount what happened. It will be part of Ravens infamy forever. Leading by two scores, the Patriots ran two separate plays that confused the Ravens defense with running back Shane Vereen reporting as ineligible — “Baltimore” — and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui doing the same in the “Raven” formation.
Both resulted in completions, and when the Patriots ran it again, Ravens coach John Harbaugh ran onto the field, drawing a five-yard penalty in hopes of getting the referee’s attention and getting better notice on the formations.
“There’s really no doubt about the rule. We didn’t do anything that is in any way in violation of the rules. It’s just a tough look, I would say,” coach Bill Belichick said on the show, which is a nicer phrasing of Tom Brady’s suggestion that the Ravens should learn the rulebook.
“We waited until the second half, purposely, so that they didn’t have an opportunity at halftime to talk about it,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said on the show.
Nearly nine months later, it’s probably best to let the whole issue die. The special itself was one last look at 2014 before the 2015 season begins Thursday night. But I bet when the Ravens defense hears another team calling out either of those names — especially New England — they’ll think twice about what it means.