Let me preface this by writing that I sit in the press box at Ravens games and can't hear the music. I can barely hear the crowd, and in both cases, I don't care.
But a few fans noted that the attitude and atmosphere was different at Sunday's game. And most importantly, the music had changed.
Where was the pump-up music? Where were the head banging, in-your-face lyrics that had become associated with Ravens games?
One fan wrote me an email, which I've included below, and I would be interested in any comments:
For years Ravens fans have heard the phrase, "Play like a Raven." There was an identity to being a Raven. That identity extended to the entire organization on game day. After the first home game of the 2015 season, it appears that identity has been lost. Even the Ravens DJ seems to have lost the identity.
Think about that for just a moment. Think about the experience of being at M &T Bank Stadium. For the Ravens of the past, pre game warms-ups had a feeling.
Hip-hop music would be blaring. The Ravens' various units would run a warm-up lap around the entire field like they owned it. The defense had a swagger to it, always dancing and talking to each other. The offense dutifully warmed up. The DJ did his job.
For the current Ravens, there was a count down until kick-off. On Sunday, prior to the game, all of the Ravens' various units ran directly, and meekly, to their side of the field. There was no swagger, there was no obnoxious defense dancing, and the music was classic rock with a few dance songs mixed in. I bet all of the players combined could name less that half the songs played during warm-ups.
You could also feel it in the crowd. The Ravens announced the offense, and it seemed that there was nothing more than a polite golf clap until quarterback Joe Flacco was announced. 'Ball so hard' became...um, well, one of those songs that was played Sunday.
For the Ravens of the past, the stadium would be deafening whenever the defense was on the field. The offense was smash mouth, with an offensive line that paved the way for running backs, and did their best at pass blocking. 'Lose my mind' would have the entire team swaying and playing to the jumbo-tron cameras while the crowd reacted appropriately.
For the current Ravens, they had Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden being coaxed into playing it up for the cameras on the sideline. The crowd politely cheered for JO. There was nothing else to cheer for in the first half. The defense wasn't dancing. The offense wasn't moving to the music, or moving the ball. The DJ thought that Johnny Cash would get the crowd to yawn. The crowd responded appropriately.
Finally, in the second half, 'Ball so hard' and a couple other of the long time favorites made an appearance. So did the offense, and the defense tried to get the crowd into it. The problem was the swagger just was't there.
Think about all the times Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, or any Raven who made a play would bounce back to their feet. The DJ would play something they could dance to and the players played it up for the cameras. The crowd went nuts. The Ravens always felt like they had momentum at home.
On Sunday, there was no momentum. The crowd was quiet, especially for a Ravens crowd, in the fourth quarter with the defense on the field. The Ravens DJ played country music. No dancing. No swagger. The Bengals came back not once, but twice.
"Play like a Raven." The Raven players and the Ravens DJ need to remember what that means.