Forget logo, copy some NFL success

November 08, 1998|By KEN ROSENTHAL

The NFL is a copycat league, but usually teams duplicate each other's offensive and defensive schemes, not some struggling artist's design for a logo.

The exact culprit in Logo-gate is unclear -- it could be the Ravens; it could be NFL Properties. Suffice it to say that all some poor schlub wanted from the team was an autographed helmet, and now he might get more than $10 million.

And you thought Jesse "The Body" Ventura had a good week.

With Tuesday's guilty verdict, Ravens owner Art Modell is hereby prohibited from fulfilling his promise to write this column, for fear of plagiarism.

Modell predicts the team will win on appeal, but he also predicted an "elite team in '98," a claim that no self-respecting sportswriter would make.

Only the Ravens could rip off a logo that one witness described as memorable only because it was "stupid and not very cool."

Only the Ravens might add to their massive debt for a transgression that didn't even help them win games.

Since this team is forever in need of assistance -- in banks, in courtrooms, in NFL stadiums -- here's a cheat sheet for the entire organization to follow, even its fans.

Cheat sheets are a part of Baltimore NFL lore -- remember Tom Matte writing the plays on his wristband in the 1965 playoffs?

If the Ravens want to steal, they should steal from the best: Art Modell -- New York Giants owner Wellington Mara.

The Giants had not been to the playoffs in 16 years when Mara hired George Young as general manager in 1979. Young hired Bill Parcells as coach four years later, and the Giants went on to win two Super Bowls.

The lesson?

Hire a strong GM.

David Modell -- Pittsburgh president Dan Rooney.

Dan, the son of Steelers founder Art Rooney, has presided over 15 playoff appearances in 23 seasons, and three Super Bowl victories.

That should be sufficient inspiration for David, the next in line to be Ravens owner.

Who else is he going to follow?

Jimmy Irsay? John Kent Cooke?

Ozzie Newsome -- Green Bay GM Ron Wolf.

Of course, Newsome can't wield power that he doesn't have. But if Modell granted him the authority, he could do worse than to pattern himself after the GM who hired Mike Holmgren, traded for Brett Favre and delivered Green Bay's first Super Bowl title in 29 years.

Ted Marchibroda -- former Buffalo coach Marv Levy.

Levy guided the Bills to four Super Bowls after turning 64. Marchibroda, 67, needs to find that magic, and quickly. He was Levy's offensive coordinator from 1987 to '91. A phone call to the old boss couldn't hurt.

Jim Harbaugh -- Buffalo quarterback Doug Flutie.

What, you thought we'd say Vinny? Not so fast, revisionist breath.

Flutie, 36, is enjoying the same kind of charmed season that Harbaugh, 34, was supposed to produce in Baltimore.

It's not too late, Jim. Win a few games and Baltimore supermarkets will start selling Captain Comeback Crunch to rival the Flutie Flakes in Buffalo.

Priest Holmes -- Denver running back Terrell Davis.

Davis, 5 feet 11 and 210 pounds, was the 196th pick overall in 1995. Holmes, 5-9 and 205, was an undrafted free agent in 1997.

Will lightning strike twice?

Probably not, but see below.

Ravens offensive line -- Denver's offensive line.

Yeah, the one with former Raven Tony Jones. Any argument?

Wally Williams and Orlando Brown -- Wally Williams and Orlando Brown, circa 1997.

You remember those guys, don't you? Blocked hard. Earned their money. Led team's best unit.

Those were the days.

Jonathan Ogden -- Jacksonville left tackle Tony Boselli.

Just kidding, big guy, just kidding!

Eric Green -- Ozzie Newsome.

Break out the films, No. 86. Your boss did not fumble in his last 557 attempts.

Michael Jackson -- Jermaine Lewis.

Patrick Johnson -- Jermaine Lewis.

Jermaine Lewis -- Jermaine Lewis.

We predicted that MJ would start complaining in Week 4, but he has been a nonfactor, both on and off the field. It's one thing to be ineffective, but bad copy? Mike, you used to be our go-to guy.

Matt Stover -- Minnesota kicker Gary Anderson.

Anderson, 39, is 16-for-16 on field goals, 31-for-31 on extra points.

Kyle Richardson -- Greg Montgomery.

Richardson's 1998 net average: 36.6 yards.

Montgomery's 1997 net average: 36.6 yards.

All right, Monty was a tad off. But none of his punts last season was blocked.

Duane Starks -- Deion Sanders.

All right, that's aiming high. But Starks has three interceptions in part-time duty, and today he takes over for DeRon Jenkins as the starting cornerback. Can No. 22 become as big in Baltimore as No. 21 is in Dallas?

Rod Woodson -- Rod Woodson.

At the start of the season, we would have guessed, "the old Rod Woodson," but the veteran corner has answered all of his critics, including this one. Gets beat on occasion, but overall has been a terrific addition.

Michael McCrary -- Michael McCrary.

Ray Lewis -- Ray Lewis.

Fans at the new stadium -- Fans at Arrowhead.

Ravens fans have had little to cheer about, considering the team's 1-3 home record, but Chiefs fans should be their model.

Fans at home -- Fans in Cleveland.

Again, there's little reason to watch, but the Jacksonville- Denver and Green Bay-San Francisco games the last two weeks attracted approximately the same number of TV viewers as the Ravens in Baltimore.

The town isn't exactly turned on, is it?

Nope, which brings us to our final copycat suggestion:

Baltimore Ravens -- Baltimore Colts.

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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