By Rebecca Torchia
Nothing excites football fans more than a rivalry.
Surprisingly, no rivalry exists in the state of Maryland. Although two professional teams call the state their home, the only tension between the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins is the struggle for the biggest fan base.
The Redskins are a much older team. Washington acquired the franchise from Boston in 1937. Meanwhile, the Ravens only became Baltimore’s team in 1996, after the Baltimore Colts left for Indianapolis. That was nearly 60 years after the Redskins moved to Washington.
This age difference is one of the chief reasons why the Redskins have a more widespread fan base than their northern neighbors.
According to freshman journalism major Michael Errigo, Redskins territory encompasses “Maryland, Virginia, and even the Carolinas, because, before the [Carolina] Panthers existed, there were a lot of Redskins fans there.”
Some argue there is a geographical division between the fan bases.
“The dividing line, I think, is Howard County [Maryland] and Montgomery County [Maryland]: North is Ravens, and South is Redskins,” said junior business major Ryan Wilkinson, a declared Ravens fan.
The University of Maryland draws students from all over the state, including regions North and South of the supposed “line”. Because of this, campus is divided.
“I feel like at Maryland, there are more kids from Baltimore than the D.C. area, so I’ve definitely met more Ravens fans here,” said sophomore journalism major, Matt Present, a Redskins fan.
For the most part, fans get along with those who support the other team. Friendships are not strewn over which team is having a better season.
“We go back and forth a couple times in arguments, just to prove which team actually is the Maryland team,” said senior sociology major Allan Gonzalez said.
Last fall, Wilkinson shared a room with a Redskins fan.
“We had our disputes, especially because the Redskins beat the Ravens last year on their Super Bowl run before the playoffs,” he said. “We trash-talked before games, but it was fun,” he said.
Perhaps the Redskins and the Ravens fan bases get along so well because they have bigger rivals to worry about. The two teams compete not only in separate divisions, but also separate conferences, thus creating more of a fan rivalry than a franchise rivalry. According to freshman mechanical engineering major Zachery Hopkins, the Redskins/Ravens rivalry is “made-up.”
Despite pledging allegiance to different sides, the fans of either team are essentially the same. The Redskins and Ravens do not have the bitter in-state rivalry one might expect, and, with what seems to be an even mixture on campus, this may be the best for everyone.