By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer
Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, right, celebrates with linebacker Ray Lewis, center, and safety Ed Reed after Ellerbe intercepted Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.Despite the relatively easy logistics of making the trip from Baltimore to Foxboro, Mass., Ravens fans this year may not be traveling in the same hordes as they did for last year’s first-round NFL playoff matchup.
After all, why sit for hours in the cold to watch your team try to steal one on the road from an opponent it has never beaten before?
“I think the Ravens can expect to see but a fraction of the fans that were there last year,” said Tony Lombardi, founder of the blog ProFootball24×7 and co-host of a Ravens talk show on Baltimore’s Fox Sports Radio (WVIE-AM), of the Ravens’ game against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Last year, thousands of Ravens fans traveled first to Miami, then Nashville, Tenn., and finally bitter rival Pittsburgh as the Ravens advanced in the playoffs.
That year was a surprise gift for fans. In the face of low expectations, the team, its rookie quarterback and first-year coach gave fans a run for their money before losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship — one game shy of the Super Bowl.
But this year’s expectations were higher. And with the economy still slow, fans are more hesitant about their purchases.