Byrne Identity: Sunday Can't Come Fast Enough


The clocks seem slow.

It's only Friday. C'mon, man. This has to be the slowest week of the year.

Tick, tick, tick… tick……. tick………. tick.

Please hurry.

Let our season begin. Let us get our game clothes on. Let's place the people and the furniture in the proper places. Get the right food for the best karma. How much time before kickoff – and we have to wait until 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday before Jim Nantz proclaims: "Here's the kickoff!"?

I'm kind of a wreck before every game. A little more nuts before a first playoff game. At my worst for the season opener.


We kind of know. We're encouraged by what we see and what we hear. But…

In Denver vs. Peyton Manning and that offense in the opener. That pass rush. That secondary. That stadium. That mile-high air. New head coach. New defensive coordinator. What will they do?

I swear the clock's not moving.

This is when I need Ozzie Newsome to put his arm around my shoulder and calmly say: "We're good, too, Kevin. We have good coaches and players."

Okay…kind of.

I'm going to break that clock if it doesn't start moving faster.

What They're Saying…

Since Oz has not stopped by my office, I re-read some stuff to ease my nerves. Sports Illustrated* picks us to win Super Bowl 50. "The Patriots needed total health and some well-timed trickery to get past a beat-up Ravens team in the divisional playoff* *game. If Baltimore has health on its side, this team has the toughness to march through a wide-open AFC," wrote Greg Bedard, *SI's lead NFL writer who has us beating Seattle in the Super Bowl.

Monday Morning Quarterback's Peter King starts his prediction with a disclaimer: "I'm never right." And, then he wrote the Ravens would make the Super Bowl and lose to Green Bay. Others, like former Head Coach Brian Billick and Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, have us winning the AFC.

Coach Billick added: "John Harbaugh has more wins in his seven years as a head coach than anyone else in that same span not named Bill Belichick – and he will out-coach Pete Carroll in another heartbreaking last-second loss for the Seahawks."

Elliott Harrison, a reporter for and a guy who historically has the Ravens rated lower than most others, believes Baltimore will win the AFC North with an 11-5 record. starts the season with us ranked No. 2 in its first poll, and then both of its reporters predict we will fall to the Broncos on Sunday.

Oh boy.

I found another piece King wrote last Sunday that addresses why the Ravens are annual championship competitors. "The Ravens have undergone a massive makeover since their Super Bowl win in February 2013, but have stayed solid where it matters most – with an owner, GM, coach and QB all committed to the same goal and on the same page," wrote King. "An owner who empowers his staff and gives the personnel side and the coaches the resources to win. A general manager who can take the slings and arrows of change, who can keep his front office together and who can work well with a strong-minded coach. 

"A coach who doesn't have to buy the groceries, but who wants to at least push the cart down the aisle, and who can keep good assistants together and command a room, year after year. And a quarterback in mid-prime. Flacco is 30, has started every Ravens game since 2008 and looks to be immune to injury. Plus, Joe laughs at distractions."

Well, that makes me feel a little better.

Is it still Friday? C'mon man!

Baltimore's best and most respected columnist, John Eisenberg, formerly of The Baltimore Sun and now with, explained the rush to pick the Ravens as one of the NFL's elite for 2015. "The biggest reason that knowing analysts are on the bandwagon is, quite simply, they trust the Ravens. After seeing them make the playoffs six times in the past seven years, they trust Ozzie Newsome to put a winning framework in place, and they trust head coach John Harbaugh to keep his players grinding through the inevitable ups and downs and eventually land in the right place."

Jamison Hensley, formerly of The Sun and now with, has covered the Ravens longer than any daily reporter. He sees us every day, and he has been very good at predicting how we will do in games and seasons. Jamison says the Ravens will produce an 11-5 season. But, he doesn't believe we'll beat the Broncos. Damn.

Flacco Speaks The Truth

What does it all mean? Joe Flacco put it best on Wednesday when he was asked about all the optimism surrounding the Ravens: "It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't matter. It's a bunch of nothing."

No doubt, Joe is always blunt and to the point.

USA Today had seven reporters who cover the NFL pick the winners for this weekend's game. Only two selected the Ravens. The Sun, with five reporters who cover us daily, had that quintet and two more predict the Ravens/Broncos' battle. Only one said Baltimore would win.

Like Joe said, "It doesn't matter. It's a bunch of nothing."

When we get off our buses in the bowels of Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium a few hours before Sunday's kickoff, I'll look around and have my confidence boosted. Walking down that tunnel to the Ravens' locker room with Oz and Harbs, will be tough accomplished men like Joe, Steve Smith Sr. and 'Sizzle,' Elvis Dumervil, Justin Forsett and Marshal Yanda … great competitors like Daryl and Jimmy Smith, C.J. Mosley and Jeremy Zuttah. Justin Tucker and Kelechi Osemele … young studs like Brandon Williams, Crockett Gillmore, Timmy Jernigan, Kyle Juszczyk, Rick Wagner and Maxx Williams.

"We're just the men for the job," Coach Harbaugh said earlier this week.

Can't wait. Just wish that damn clock would move quicker. Tick… tick…… tick……… tick…………

Let's beat the Broncos. Talk with you next week.


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