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Ravens Will Take A Ship To London Game

Posted Apr 1, 2017

The Ravens will set sail from the Port of Baltimore immediately after their Week 2 game and arrive on the other side of the Atlantic well rested, better bonded, and ready to face the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Baltimore Ravens stop at nothing to give their players the best chance to perform at a high level.
 
That's why they will be the first team in NFL history to ditch the airplane and instead set sail for England.
 
The Ravens will charter a cruise ship and sail across the Atlantic Ocean for their Sept. 24 game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
 
The team will launch from the Port of Baltimore immediately after its Week 2 game. The trip takes just under seven days, and will put the Ravens in London in time for kickoff at Wembley Stadium.
 
"We're really looking forward to this," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "This is different, this is something that's never been done before. We try to be on the cutting edge. We try to study the best ways to keep our team as competitive as we have."
 
A primary reason for the decision to sail is to help the players' bodies make the adjustment to such demanding travel.
 
The team has been researching international travel ever since its game was announced in December. The Ravens commissioned studies on the effects it has on athletes' bodies, and the results were conclusive enough to deviate from the norm.
 
A flight from Baltimore to London takes about 7 hours and 20 minutes, and the time zone change is a leap forward five hours. While it may not seem like much different from a flight to the West Coast, which takes about six hours and is a three-hour time change backwards, the effects on a finely-tuned athlete can be profound.
 
Studies found that going West to East is more difficult on the body. The longer flight and exaggerated time change can take more than a full week to recover from. Athletes often experience lethargy, sore and stiff joints and anxiety – all of which can have a major impact on performance.
 
Taking a ship across the Atlantic will allow players' bodies to gradually adjust to the time zone changes, and get more rest than a flight would allow. Plus, there's no dealing with those pesky neck pillows.
 
"Maybe more than anything is the sleep studies have proven that we'll have a chance to adjust our guys, day by day, all the way across the Atlantic," Harbaugh said. "So by the time we get to London, our guys will be fully acclimated to the time schedule and ready to go out there and play their very best."
 
There are unique challenges to taking a ship across the Atlantic, but the Ravens are making heavy investments to ensure the project not only runs smoothly, but works to their benefit.
 
The cruise liner will have a regulation-size football field on board, offering state-of-the-art facilities. If there are rough waters, the swaying of the boat could help the players as they work on their balance. It's also a time to get acclimated to what weather could be like in cloudy, rainy London.
 
"It fits our work week perfectly," Harbaugh said. "We're going to have a chance to practice on board, which is amazing to me. We have a full 100-yard field on board – full weight room, full training room, the meals are going to be incredible."
 
The trip will also be a great opportunity for team bonding, which should be especially valuable so early in the season.
 
Since the team left training camp at Westminster's McDaniel College in 2010, Harbaugh has been looking for another way to simulate the experience the team had staying together in the hotel. There will also be entertainment, such as a large wave pool and mini-golf, on board to keep the players engaged.
 
"One of the most important things to building a team – especially a championship team – is the unity part of it," Harbaugh said.
 
"The way it's changed now with training camps not being away, you don't get a chance to do that like you used to. Just think of the opportunity. We're going to be on a ship for a whole week together – nowhere to go. We'll be together bonding our team all the way across the Atlantic Ocean."
 
An added bonus is the Ravens have wide receiver Keenan Reynolds, who is a Naval Academy graduate.
 
Harbaugh joked, "What an asset he's going to be. With his Navy background, he should be able to help navigate us over there – make sure we get there, we don't get lost or anything on the way."

(April Fool's)

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