Although the decision may not be made for another week, Ravens appears to be the slight favorite of the people charged with naming Baltimore's new NFL team but that ranking could change quickly.
The name was well-received by focus groups assembled to consider possible names, according to sources familiar with the search who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The name refers to a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe, who lived and is buried in Baltimore.
"There is no consensus among us," said one team official. "We're still going 'round and 'round with the names. Ravens seems the most popular right now, but that could change tomorrow."
Another team official seconded that opinion, saying Ravens apparently has taken the lead but could be displaced. A logo under consideration by the team and NFL Properties, the league's marketing arm, features a raven jutting through a capital "B" and black and purple colors.
The Americans, the name of a locomotive built in Baltimore, also has picked up strong support after weeks of meetings. At least two prominent team officials are pushing the Americans as an expression of Baltimore's role in the development of railroading.
Team vice president and head of marketing David Modell said a decision could be reached within seven to 10 days. He would not comment on any of the names.
"I think we're rounding the bend," he said of the naming process. "We're dotting our i's and crossing our t's."
There is also some support for Bulldogs and Mustangs.
But, said one team official, Mustangs lost some support among the focus groups because it followed too closely in the footsteps of previous teams here: the NFL Colts and Canadian Football League Stallions.
Owner Art Modell has expressed some interest in the Bulldogs. An NFL history aficionado, Modell likes the connection with the Canton Bulldogs, the first dominant team in the NFL. And Canton, Ohio, is where the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located.
But one of the focus groups believed Bulldogs sounded too much like a high school team, and several team officials thought the club needed to get away from its "Dawg Pound" and Ohio affiliations.
The Bombers, the name trademarked for Baltimore had it won an expansion team in 1993, has fallen out of contention because of its association with violence and terrorism. A fallback, the Marauders, the name of a plane built here during World War II, still has some backers but is "not hot, hot" right now, one team official said.
Pub Date: 3/23/96