Bird is the word: Ravens appears to be team's pick NFL club to poll fans one last time

March 26, 1996|By Jon Morgan and Mike Preston | Jon Morgan and Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

There appears to be a new bird on its way to town. Unless it's hit by a train or bombed from above.

The Ravens emerged yesterday as the Baltimore NFL team's likely name -- subject to one final test of fans, according to several sources familiar with the selection process.

The name, which consistently has performed well in local marketing studies and polls, will be put up alongside Americans and Marauders in a public test of fan preference, probably a phone-in poll.

Arrangements began yesterday for a noon news conference Friday at Harborplace to announce the name, pending the outcome of the poll and the availability of key state and city officials. "We want to see one more affirmation," said one club source. "We want to do it right."

Within the team's organization, several officials said the prevailing assumption is that Ravens will win and will be the name of the franchise.

But, said the club source, there is some dissent within the team, and officials are willing to listen to the fans.

Ravens was the overwhelming favorite in a 1993 write-in poll by The Sun.

Ravens honors Edgar Allan Poe, writer of haunting, often macabre stories and poems such as "The Raven." Poe died in Baltimore in 1849 and is buried here.

Americans were a type of locomotive built in Baltimore, the birthplace of the nation's railroad industry. Camden Station, where the team will play when its stadium is built, was once the largest train station in the United States.

The Marauder, also known as the B-26, was a medium-weight bomber built in Baltimore by the thousands immediately before and during World War II.

Team owner Art Modell said last night: "Ravens is one name, but there are other thoughts as well."

He said NFL Properties, the league's marketing arm, is "checking on several names."

Team spokesman Kevin Byrne said: "Nothing is final yet."

The team is moving to Baltimore after 50 seasons in Cleveland, where it was known as the Browns. As part of a settlement of legal challenges from the city of Cleveland, the franchise agreed to turn over the rights to the name to the NFL for use by another team that will be placed in Cleveland by 1999.

Pub Date: 3/26/96

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