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The Caw: Ravens Fans Get Married At Rams Game


Thursday night's turnover and penalty-filled fourth preseason game in St. Louis wasn't too pretty. 

But there was romance in the air – specifically in section 147 of the Edward Jones Dome. 

Matt and Sandra Rosenthal ditched the conventional wedding to be married in the stands at halftime by an officiant wearing a referee outfit. They had three official witnesses, including myself. 

Matt emailed me a few weeks back telling me about the couple's plans. It was just too unique to pass up on the invitation to their wedding. After all, who gets married at a football game? 

Matt, 40, grew up in Middle River just outside of Baltimore. He's been a Ravens fans for life, but relocated to Missouri, where he's a mechanic. He's remained loyal to his hometown team, and cried when they won the Super Bowl last year. 

Matt's new wife, Sandra, described herself as a "growing Ravens fan." She's a 33-year-old production worker from Missouri who I've deduced is probably the most understanding woman in the world. 

What woman who isn't even that big a fan trades in a wedding gown for a Ravens jersey? 

"Just seeing the sparkle in his eyes makes me happy," she sweetly said. "A dress isn't me. I'm more of a football jersey gal." 

The couple, who met online and have been together for a year and a half, were originally planning to have a bigger Ravens-themed wedding next June. But they got anxious. 

One night, Matt told Sandra that he had the opportunity to purchase some tickets to the Ravens' final preseason game, about three hours away from home in Marshfield, MO. Sandra came up with the idea that if they won the eBay bid, they should get married at the game. 

They waited about 15 hours to see whether they would win the bid. "When the confirmation email came through at 10:30 at night, we just about both jumped out of bed," Matt said. 

They bought two tickets for themselves, one for the officiant, and two for their witnesses: Matt's 17-year-old son, Zack, and Zack's best friend, Jordan Stalker. It was the second marriage for the both the groom and bride. 

"We did the traditional the first time. We felt this was for us, not the families. It's what we want. That's why we decided on football," Sandra said. "Just being able to watch it together and being able to enjoy the experience is romantic." 

The ceremony started just after Bobby Rainey's 8-yard touchdown run at the end of the first half. They went into marriage with a lead. 

Sandra, dressed in a Ray Lewis jersey and white cotton pants, and Matt, wearing a Ray Rice jersey, joined hands near the railing of the lower deck. Mystified Rams fans broke out their cameras and gathered around. 

"On behalf of Matt and Sandra I want to welcome Ravens fans and Rams fans as you bear witness to the union of these true Ravens fans in the bond of holy matrimony," Minster Andy Leonard read. 

"Matt, do you promise to love, honor and cherish Sandra whether the Ravens win or lose? Sandra, do you promise to love, honor and cherish Matt whether the Ravens win or lose?

"Together, do you Matt and you Sandra promise to love, comfort, honor and support each other in good seasons and in bad, from preseason through the playoffs and Super Bowl? Through bad calls, coaches challenges, penalties, onside kicks, sacks, special teams, offense, defense,  home games and away? Do you promise to be faithful and never stray?" 

They both gave the "I do," then ceremonially changed into customized "Rosenthal" Ravens jerseys to signify their new bond. The giddy couple walked back up the seating bowl as cheering Rams fans threw popcorn at them. 

Matt, who got a little choked up at the ceremony, said the experience was "absolutely incredible." 

"It's beyond what I ever imagined," a beaming Sandra said. 

I asked Matt which he loves more: the Ravens or his new wife. He paused for half a second. 

"I'm going to have to say I love her more," he said. 

Smart man … or he's in the honeymoon phase.

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