Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Washington Redskins football vs. Baltimore Ravens football

Michigan Stadium photo from Wikipedia.

I am not really interested much in professional sports--going to the University of Michigan and witnessing students get into fights when the football team would lose turned me off on team sports for the most part.

My joke about it--"whether or not they win or lose, I still have to take my finals"-- put into perspective how much or little the team mattered to me on a day to day basis.  (Of course, I admit to still preferring that Michigan win football, basketball, and hockey games rather than lose them.)

But I am interested in the political, economic, and organizational implications of professional and college sports, especially in terms of how local jurisdictions get pressured to put out lots of money for sports stadiums and arenas.

And of course, in terms of organizational implications, how teams succeed or fail and are run as organizations and the insights this may offer to the study of organization behavior.

My biggest concern about the Washington Redskins is my fear that they might move back to DC, taking up land that could have a much greater public return on investment if it were used for something else (subject of a post within the next few days).

But I think it's kind of interesting that the team is such a failure (given I am from Detroit and how the Detroit Lions, owned by the Ford Family, were so bad for so many decades makes this somewhat familiar) while the Baltimore Ravens are not.

Yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens moved forward in the playoffs, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Joe Flacco, the quarterback for the Ravens, from a small school (Delaware), has led the Ravens into the playoffs six out of his seven seasons as team quarterback.

Over the same period, the Washington Redskins have been a mess, with the exception of the outlier season of Robert Griffin's first season in 2012.

But it's not just the players, it's the team management, it's the approach by the ownership which shapes the management and culture of the organization.  The Ravens aren't perfect sure, witness the issues with players like Ray Rice or Ray Lewis.

Still, in terms of successful performance, the Baltimore Ravens have something that the Washington Redskins lack.  And that's interesting, even if I am not compelled to watch their games, in a stadium or on television.

when I worked briefly at the Baltimore County Office of Planning in FY2010, I shocked the staff by not participating in the weekly football pool.  I told them I had no interest and lacked any real knowledge that would help me participate successfully.   They were always very happy when the Ravens won.

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