Overnight, the Baltimore Ravens painted the town purple — and black, and on two memorable occasions, yellow.
Rush hour commuters and pedestrians woke up this morning to find that literally hundreds of logos had been spray-painted under cover of darkness on sidewalks from Baltimore's City Hall to Padonia Station, from the Elkridge Library to Perry Hall Middle School in White Marsh.
The designs — the familiar, fierce-looking fowl, rendered in lavender, over bold, black letters spelling out W.I.N. ("What's Important Now") — were painted on public properties by two dozen exuberant Ravens' staff members.
"They're here with their family members and their friends and anyone else who has nothing better to do at 2 a.m.," says Megan Collins, who was leading one of 11 separate teams. "Who needs sleep?"
The stealth stenciling is designed to get fans revved up for the playoffs. The Ravens take on the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in the AFC wild-card matchup.
Each team was provided with a bag of supplies which included: four cans of black chalk spray, two cans of purple chalk spray, a scrub brush, three rags, a bottle of all purpose cleaner, one flashlight, eight hand warmers, and — most importantly — legal documents.
The papers explained that team members had permission from the respective municipalities to carry out an activity that under most other circumstances would end with a ride in the back of a squad car.
"This is the first time I've ever spray-painted graffiti," team member Mike Duffy said, "at least, as far as my parents know."
Two of the roughly 250 logos — one in the city of Baltimore, and one in Baltimore County — depart from the purple and black color scheme and are rendered entirely in gold.
Fans who find these sunnily-hued stencils are encouraged to document their find with a snapshot, and to enter it on the Ravens' Facebook page (facebook.com/baltimoreravens). All the correct entries will be placed into a lottery, and one fan chosen at random will win a pair of tickets to Sunday's game in Kansas City, and a ride to and from the game on the team's charter plane.