John Harbaugh wants locals to embrace the Redskins and Ravens


(Nick Wass/Associated Press)

 

For reasons that completely elude me, John Harbaugh is continuing his one-man quest to get Redskins fans to root for the Ravens. Maybe it’s a bit. Or maybe he just really cares about my page views.

“We’re trying to take control of this whole area,” he said in early 2011. “We’ll take over Washington, D.C., while we’re at it.”

“We want to appeal to that group down there,” he said several months later. “We welcome them on board, man.”

“We want to be [Redskins fans’] AFC team,” he said during last season’s playoffs. “That’s all we’re asking.”

“Let us be your AFC team, and you can be our NFC team,” he said this summer. “We can be fans of more than one team. It’s a great sports area, and the Ravens are a big part of that.”

Well, WUSA’s Derek McGinty recently interviewed Harbaugh about a bunch of topics, and he asked whether the Redskins and Ravens have a budding rivalry. This was not a question about sharing fan bases. And yet Harbaugh went there yet again.

“Well, I mean, I hope so,” Harbaugh said of the rivalry stuff. “To me, that’s the beauty of it, that’s the fun of the whole thing. But I’d like to see the fans in the whole area kind of embrace both teams.

“You know, you’ve got an AFC team, you’ve got an NFC team,” he continued. “There’s two great programs. You’ve got a storied tradition down there; Baltimore’s got a storied tradition with football too, and even the old Browns franchise that Art Modell brought here. There’s a lot of great tradition in this whole deal, so I would like for the fans to embrace both teams, but part of that is definitely a rivalry. Part of that is going against each other and having great games, and we really look forward to it.”

Now, I know that there are some local sports fans who actually do embrace both teams. But it’s a small group, by my estimation. And pleas from the coach will not likely change that.

“I guess we’re pleased we don’t have to play him every year, so that works out,” Harbaugh said of Robert Griffin III. “We admire him. We’re right down the road. We kind of share the same fan base and the same population around here, so you kind of get to cheering for him a little bit, too.”

Really? You do? That just seems weird to me. Anyhow, as for game-planning against RGIII, Harbaugh seemed impressed.

“To me, his greatest strength is playing quarterback,” the coach said. “He embodies the position. He’s able to manage the game, he makes good decisions, he’s a leader for his team. All the things that make a quarterback a quarterback are things that he does well. Then you add into that the talent factor. He can run obviously. He can throw. He’s a playmaker. So he’s the total package.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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Dan Steinberg · December 5, 2012