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Former Baltimore cornerback turned Redskin Josh Wilson stirred the “Battle of the Beltway” pot a bit this week, saying the Redskins’ fan base tops the Ravens’.
While having some perspective, Wilson is a bit biased. He grew up a Skins fan and is now playing for them. But he has one valid argument – history.
Ravens Head Coach Harbaugh laughed off the words after Tuesday’s practice. While many fans put a lot of stock into it, the Ravens’ head coach didn’t make a big deal of the inter-conference rivalry.
“The Redskins have been around for 100 years or something like that… 70 or 80?” Harbaugh said. “That’s the difference. We’ve only been around since 1996, so I think that was the context of that quote. We won’t take offense to that.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal. We’re going to compete against them on the field Thursday night – that’s all. All that other stuff is fun; it’s fun for the fans.”
The Ravens have become one of the strongest franchises in the NFL, the only team to win a playoff game each of the past three years.
Less than an hour south resides the Washington Redskins, who haven’t had the same winning ways as of late, but are laden with 64 more years of tradition.
Both teams have stadiums in Maryland (Baltimore and Landover), and have a whole lot of fan crossover as well.
Harbaugh says he’s still trying to convince the coach of his daughter’s softball team, a Redskins fan named Grady, to come to his side of the fence.
“I think, finally, after three years of coaching Alison, my daughter, we may have swayed him to the Ravens,” Harbaugh joked. “So that shows you how tough it is.”
Harbaugh is looking to gain more traction in the market, which the Ravens have done over the past few years. And that doesn’t just mean in the state of Maryland. Harbaugh wants control of the whole area.
“We’ve got to, I think over the course of time as we grow as a franchise, is keep growing our fan base into this whole Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region,” Harbaugh said.
“That is really not my area, but I am told that there are a lot of young people that really like the Ravens in this area. We want to build on that. We can take all help we can get from the fans. We want as many fans as we can find.”