The Ravens are in the same class as the New England Patriots when it comes to cheating.
That’s the general perception now after the NFL fined the team $200,000 on Wednesday for a violation of the Coach-To-Player Communications policy. That rule prohibits the use of headset equipment by multiple players during games and the Ravens apparently violated the policy in a 2018 preseason game.
The fine isn’t much for the deep pockets of Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, but he can’t be satisfied with this latest episode and team image. A few years ago, the Ravens were reportedly one of the teams that complained to the league about Patriots head coach Bill Belichick violating rules, but the Ravens have had their own problems abiding by NFL policies.
John Harbaugh, meet Bill Belichick. Bill Belichick, meet John Harbaugh. It’s now the classic story of the pot calling the kettle …
In early June, the Ravens were forced to cancel two organized workouts and were fined because they had violated league rules concerning contact during offseason drills. In other words, their cornerbacks were pressing up on receivers in practices and that’s a no-no.
That marked the second time in three years and the third time since 2010 that the Ravens had lost offseason practices for violating rules regarding physical contact.
Two years ago, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was fined $137,223 and the team was fined $343,057 for having rookies in full pads at the start of a minicamp.
They got caught cheating again. They can’t complain about any other team anymore.
With this headset-equipment violation the Ravens actually just made a mistake. Preseason games can be chaotic as far as organization and no team really knows which players will end up on the field at any given time, so you prepare numerous players with headsets.
If a team is cheating, they are trying to gain an advantage and in this situation there wasn’t much to gain. It’s a preseason game. Who cares? When the regular season starts only one player can have the headset on, so it really made no difference what was happening in the preseason.
Were the Ravens trying to jack their players up by playing some Led Zeppelin or Earth, Wind & Fire? Nah, just preparing for a number of scenarios in case people got hurt or some were playing new positions.
It wasn’t a case where the Ravens were recording the other team’s practices or hand signals. They weren’t turning up the music when the other team was huddling on offense or having their headsets go out periodically during the game.
Regardless, though, it’s about image. The Ravens’ reputation isn’t going away anytime soon, especially after Wednesday.
A lot of people consider perception reality.