When Bobby Ray Chesney was watching the Ravens game on television Sunday evening, he thought to himself, "I'm going to be really busy."
You see, Bobby Ray is one of the many behind-the-scenes workers at the Under Armour Performance Center. And Bobby is one of the many who does laundry.
Oh boy that quagmire in Chicago did a number on Bobby Ray and the Ravens laundry unit.
Because Soldier Field is natural grass instead of turf, and because of the rain and wind, mud was on everything. And of course, the Ravens were wearing their white jerseys.
"I've never seen it this bad – not this bad," Bobby Ray said. "The suds in the washer window were like hot chocolate."
Normally it takes about half a day to clean the Ravens uniforms after a game. This time the process began late Sunday night and didn't finish until about 3 p.m. Tuesday.
After the game, the road crew packed up the jerseys to be flown back on the team plane so that they could start cleaning them as soon as possible. The team has three 60-pound washers and they spun overnight. Problem is, one of them broke during this laundry marathon.
Some of the jerseys took three or four washes to get completely white again. The worst belonged to left guard A.Q. Shipley. I guess that's why they call it "the trenches."
"Shipley, you couldn't even tell it was his," Bobby Ray said. "Shipley's jersey might still not be done."
You know those Gatorade towels players use on the sidelines? Got washed twice – with bleach – and were still brown. They all had to be thrown out.
The jackets players wear on the sidelines had to have their liner separated from the shell and each washed individually.
Between each of the washing cycles, the clothes had to be taken out and a quick cycle started just to flush the dirt out of the system.
All the helmets had to be painstakingly rinsed out and different pieces soaked. Many had to be taken apart to get the gunk out. Even the white boards coaches draw plays on had to be taken apart and cleaned because mud was caked around the frame.
There was a crew of five guys working on the laundry the past couple days. The crew of 15 (all of which are current or retired firemen) is led by Team Services Manager Bud Reinecke.
Bobby Ray retired from the Baltimore County Fire Department Franklin Station No. 56 three years ago after 30 years of service. He's been working with the Ravens for eight seasons.
"It was like getting done with a fire when you have to clean everything up and get ready for the next call," he said. "We had to wash all the tools, wash all the hoses, wash the gear. We were all in that kind of a mode. This is old hat for us."
After a few long days of work, guess what Bobby Ray gets to do when he goes home?
"I'm now the laundry king at home too," he said. "On my days off, my wife goes, 'You know there's laundry upstairs?'"