And it might snake right through the Fulton school’s gymnasium, where Ann Rager and Jamie Davis — friends and neighbors in the southeastern nook of Howard County for more than 15 years — recently discussed the passion that divides their 20723 zip code.
“I grew up a Redskins fan, and I’ve always been a Redskins fan,” said Rager, 50.
“I was thinking about getting a Ravens tattoo this week,” interjected Davis, 49.
As the Ravens prepare for Sunday’s Super Bowl — their second championship game appearance and 21st playoff game over the past 13 seasons — fans and media members have revived the nearly annual debate about whether Redskins fans should cheer for a Baltimore team in the postseason. The Ravens’ long run of success has coincided with an extended downturn for the Redskins, who have played just four playoff games in that span, but who enjoyed an on- and off-the-field resurgence in 2012 behind rookie quarterback
Robert Griffin III
While the Redskins struggled and the region’s suburbs expanded in recent years, the Ravens openly courted suburban Washington fans, holding a 2012 practice in Anne Arundel County, putting preseason games on Washington television and regular season games on 1500 AM radio, and beefing up their presence on Comcast SportsNet, which sent 22 people to New Orleans for the Super Bowl.
“I think we’re still growing in the Washington market,” said Ravens President Dick Cass, himself a Montgomery County resident. “I think there are a lot of fans in both markets that will follow the other team with interest. If you’re a Redskins fan, you’re not going to be a Ravens fan, but I think you could follow us with interest.”
‘It breaks down by family’
But in the swath of land running from northern Montgomery and southern Frederick counties southeast through Laurel and beyond, the question is less whether to support a rival city off in the hazy distance than whether to support your next-door neighbor’s favorite team.
“It breaks down by family,” said Carl Hedgren, a Ravens season-ticket holder who lives in North Laurel’s Cardinal Forest development. “You don’t have many split families within one house — you have a Redskins family next to a Ravens family.”
Plenty of suburban areas, of course, have split sporting loyalties. Connecticut has the Yankees and Red Sox, New Jersey the Flyers and Devils, and the Bay Area the 49ers and Raiders.