Ravens Fans, In And Out Of Baltimore, Ready For Super Bowl
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Fans of the Baltimore Ravens are fired up for tomorrow's Super Bowl, even if the team is the underdog - errragh! - against the San Francisco 49ers. But NPR's Allison Keyes reports, Baltimore fans are draping pretty much everything in a sea of purple and black.
ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: Purple Christmas lights, a case of team memorabilia including signed helmets and a stuffed raven? It's clear that fans at the Red Brick Station Pub in White Marsh, Maryland, are serious about their football.
ALEX FRANCKEWITZ: There's only one true color - the color of royalty.
KEYES: Alex Franckewitz is talking about purple, of course. Word is, he dyes his beard that color for games, and he says it's also the color of resurrection.
FRANCKEWITZ: So, we all know that the Lord is a Ravens fan. (LAUGHTER)
KEYES: Franckewitz is president of Ravens Roost Number 52, a fan club with the same number as retiring Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. But his 9-year-old daughter, Emil,y is wearing a different purple jersey.
EMILY FRANCKEWITZ: Joe Flacco. I'm wearing Number 5.
KEYES: No love for Ray Lewis?
EMILY: Those jerseys are really hard to find these days, so...
KEYES: Club members say it's absolutely true that the Baltimore Ravens talk a lot of trash, says Dean Patterson.
DEAN PATTERSON: It's justified.
KEYES: And Dr. Jack Gordon adds...
JACK GORDON: I say, we have the trash to talk about.
KEYES: 'Cause obviously...
GORDON: We're in the Super Bowl.
LEIGHANNE GIBBLE: When we win?
KEYES: Clearly, Ravens fans like Leighanne Gibble believe.
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KEYES: She and Missy Mallow run the popular Facebook page Purple Ladies.
GIBBLE: It is the ultimate girly football page.
KEYES: It's got more than 27,500 likes - 98 percent of them, from women. The ladies say they live and breathe the purple and black even though they live in Pennsylvania, an hour away from the stadium.
GIBBLE: We spend every waking moment - literally - from 5:30 in the morning until after 1 o'clock the next morning, on the computer.
KEYES: The Purple Ladies respond to all comments; and their Facebook page has everything from Ravens player pictures and stats, to fan videos and jewelry giveaways.
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KEYES: Speaking of jewelry, Baltimore Ravens colors glint from the gleaming cases at Saxon's Diamond Centers, about an hour outside of Baltimore. Owner Kevin Ferrell shows off a glittering, crystal football pendant, and matching rings and earrings.
KEVIN FERRELL: That has the Ravens colors - the gold, the purple and the black.
KEYES: There's even a pewter flask here, with the Ravens logo, to help...
FERRELL: ...keep people warm on game day.
KEYES: Plus, if that San Francisco team that shall not be named gets shut out Sunday, anyone who spent up to $5,000 here through Saturday, gets their money back. Debbie Barton was resplendent in a pair of purple Crocs as she perused the jewelry here.
DEBBIE BARTON: Well, I tried to wear purple every day this week.
KEYES: And she's not worried about jinxing her beloved team.
BARTON: Haven't you seen everybody wearing purple?
KEYES: And they are - along with their cars and even their mailboxes. Every single Ravens fan we talked to is predicting a win on Sunday.
Allison Keyes, NPR News, Washington.
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SIMON: This is NPR News.
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