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Ravens Roundup: Joe Flacco not worried about Sports Illustrated curse

The Ravens have beaten the odds this posteason, but this weekend they’ll face two tough opponents at once: the Patriots and the Sports Illustrated cover jinx [1].

Joe Flacco [2] is featured on a regional issue of SI this week, raising talk of the famous “curse” that the magazine itself studied in 2002. That study concluded that out of 2,456 cover subjects, 37.2 percent went on to “play poorly, lose games, injure themselves or even die” after being featured.

The significance of that study can be debated — Mark Glickman, a statistician and research professor at Boston University, told The Baltimore Sun that a baseline number on how many good athletes fail each game in general would be necessary to determine whether 37.2 was higher than usual. Still, numerous athletes have suffered mishaps after their covers, and the perception lingers.

Flacco graced the cover once before, on Sept. 19, 2011. The Ravens lost the next game after that cover ran. He and Ravens coach John Harbaugh [3] said they’re not concerned, though.

“I’m not superstitious. I don’t believe it,” Harbaugh said.

“I sure hope not,” Flacco said when asked if he thought the curse existed. “It just depends on how we go play on Sunday.”


The Ravens have the apparent advantage of having Dean Pees [4], their defensive coordinator and a former Patriots coach under Bill Belichick [5], on staff to advise them on how to stop Tom Brady [6]. However, Pees joked to The Baltimore Sun [7] that containing Brady by traditional on-field methods might not be enough.

“Hire Tonya Harding,” Pees said. “If they were getting off the bus, I’d spray outside the bus and hope it freezes.”

Joking aside, the fact remains that Brady was sacked just once against Houston while throwing for 344 yards and three touchdowns. If any team is a match for him, it could be the Ravens, who sacked Peyton Manning [8] three times Saturday and picked off two of his passes, but Pees said it won’t be easy.

“He’s as competitive a person as I’ve ever been around,” Pees said of Brady. “He can give you this little boyish look on TV, but he is a very, very competitive guy. He doesn’t even like losing in practice. The more we rode him on defense ‘€” because I had a couple of trash-talkers ‘€” the harder he played.”


Corey Graham joined the Ravens last offseason after playing mostly special teams for five years with the Bears. But injuries pushed him into the Baltimore starting lineup, and last week he stepped into the spotlight when he picked off Manning’s passes twice in Denver.

“From my rookie year I was put in the special teams and I felt like I did well at it,” Graham told USA Today [9]. “When they label you as a special teamer, it’s tough to get that label off of you, no matter what you do.”

After Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith [10] and Chris Johnson [11] went down with injuries, Graham took over as Baltimore’s starting cornerback and has held onto the job since Week 10.

“There wasn’t as much to look at, because he hadn’t played that many snaps on defense in Chicago,” Harbaugh said of moving Graham to defense. “But the thing that was interesting about Corey is when he did play on defense, he played really well. Corey knew that if he came in here and he earned the playing time, he would get it. And that’s what’s happened.”


They might lack the pure passion of this fan [12], but these Ravens fans clearly put some effort into “Bring on Brady,” their pro-Ravens parody of “Call Me Maybe.”