Well, we have to keep hearing about it for another week.
By defeating the Titans, 23-10, the Baltimore Ravens have won their 21st straight preseason game, dating all the way back to 2015. It’s an all-time NFL record. But since it involves games that are inherently meaningless, what meaning does it really have?
Last year, coach John Harbaugh defended the significance of the record when the Ravens got to 19, matching the Lombardi-era Packers.
“There’s going to be people that are going to say this doesn’t mean anything,” Harbaugh said. “There’s going to be people that are going to look at it and say, ‘Wow, that’s something.’ I’m of the belief that everything has meaning in life. . . . All those guys who were a part of that over those years should be proud tonight of that because it’s something only one other team has ever done — the Vince Lombardi Green Bay Packers. I’d say that’s notable.”
It’s a testament to the intensely competitive nature of John Harbaugh. And as long as his competitive nature doesn’t get him to do stupid things, like re-insert starters late in a close game (e.g., Rex Ryan getting Mark Sanchez injured in the Snoopy Bowl), it’s no big deal.
Still, it really is meaningless. Preseason records evaporate as soon as the exhibition games end. The 2008 Lions went 0-16 after going 4-0 in the preseason. Those August wins aren’t any type of silver lining on a season of sewage.
Roughly a decade ago, while folks were complaining about the quality of preseason games, I suggested making preseason record one of the final tiebreakers, just above coin flip. And that made plenty of people lose their minds.
So it’s meaningless. If the Ravens want to give meaning to it, that’s their business. But if they ever let that get in the way of what really matters, they cross the line from competitive into colossally ignorant.