This article speaks volumes...
A wave of discontent
Hoping to send a message about their displeasure with the team, many Ravens fans are selling their tickets to Sunday's Steelers game
By Jamison Hensley
Originally published November 18, 2005
Motivated by making a protest more than a profit, local fans are willing to give the Ravens a home-field disadvantage Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Even the most loyal season-ticket holders are selling their seats this week to their hated division rivals in an attempt to voice their displeasure over the worst start in Ravens history.
With thousands of tickets available on eBay and through ticket brokers, it has been estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 Steelers fans could invade M&T Bank Stadium, waving their trademark Terrible Towels and filling up a quarter of the seats with their black-and-gold jerseys.
"This season has been demoralizing," said Gene Edwards, 42, of Severna Park, a self-proclaimed "die-hard" season-ticket holder since 1996 who is selling his upper-level seats on eBay. "This team has to stand up and recognize that this city enjoys winning and that's what we've got to get back to."
Traditionally, Steelers fans have made the four-hour drive from Western Pennsylvania to buy between 3,000 to 5,000 tickets at Baltimore's 70,107-seat stadium.
Scott Bryant, 43, of Nottingham tried to keep Pittsburgh from turning M&T Bank Stadium into Heinz Field East, offering his three upper-level seats for the price of two to Ravens fans. After there was no interest, he decided to put them up on eBay.
"I think it shows [Ravens fans] are kind of upset," said Bryant, another season-ticket holder since the franchise relocated here 10 years ago. "Maybe this will send a message to the right people about how things are going."
The Ravens' baseball neighbors, the Orioles, have experienced similar problems. It has been an annual irritation to see fans of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox take over Camden Yards.
Steelers fans have the chance to make their best showing in Baltimore because of the Ravens' struggles. There has been growing disinterest - and anger, some Ravens fans say - over the team's 2-7 record and likely its first losing season in three years.
"It's one of those things where I feel bad to contribute to [Steelers fans coming to the game]," said Mike Hughes, 30, of Bel Air, who is also selling his upper-level tickets on eBay. "But considering the situation, people have better things to do and they can make quick money."
But the money isn't as much this year as in previous ones.
Scott Mogar, 33, of Frederick, said he "easily" got three to four times the face value of his tickets in the past. This year, that's not the case with so many Ravens fans willing to sell.
"Luckily, I'll make double [the face value]," Mogar said.
The rivalry between the Ravens and the Steelers has intensified over the years with the teams annually fighting for the AFC North title.
With so much on the line when the teams play, Edwards said he usually looks forward to battling Steelers fans in the stands. But not this year.
"If I went, I could only shake their hands and say, 'Yup, you're the better team,'" he said. "This is crazy and disheartening. I hope [the Ravens] lose all their games and get the No. 1 pick in the draft so they can trade it for three offensive linemen."
Many fans expressed frustration over the constant losing. Others vented about the inability to score touchdowns.
But selling their tickets to Pittsburgh fans won't spur the Ravens to change, Mogar said.
"I don't think it will because [the Ravens are] so tuned out," he said. "A dollar is a dollar to them. As long as they're making their money, nothing will happen. If the stadium were empty, then that would send a message. But I don't see it."
Ravens coach Brian Billick said an increased number of Pittsburgh fans at the game would be a reflection of the success of the Steelers (7-2) and not a negative statement by their fan base.
"I certainly hope you're not trying to present that our fans have thrown in the towel and will sell their tickets cheaper this year than they have in previous years," Billick said. "Our fans are smarter than that and they are too street-savvy. Even if they might want to dump [tickets] off, they're going to get a premium price. So if you're going to sell them, baby, get a premium price."
Billick said he would prefer for Ravens fans to cheer the team on but understands why they would sell.
"Hell, for the right price, I'll sell my ticket," Billick said. "You can't afford it, but I do have a price just like everybody else."