- The Washington Times
Thursday, August 25, 2022

ASHBURN — If the Washington Commanders do it and finally put an end to the Baltimore Ravens‘ years-long, record-setting preseason winning streak, then Cornelius Lucas might celebrate … by eating some chicken wings. Maybe a celebratory dance or two.

The left tackle hasn’t given it much thought. 

“Let me think about that,” Lucas said, pausing when asked what a win would mean. “It would be great.” 

The Baltimore Ravens, as you may know, have won 22 straight preseason games heading into Saturday’s exhibition finale against Washington. And if Baltimore wins again, it’ll mark six consecutive preseasons the Ravens will have gone without a loss. But this week, as they did last year, players and coaches have largely shrugged off the streak as most indicated they were unaware of the fact or didn’t care. 

There are certain kinds of records in sports that are memorialized, streaks that are trumpeted in glory and rarely forgotten. And then are the others — the kind that draw a pause and an, “Oh that’s interesting.” But rarely are they important. 

The Ravens’ preseason streak arguably falls in the latter, joining a slew of wacky, eyebrow-raising bits of trivia and arcana that make for good banter and maybe a fun piece of trivia. 

The Commanders’ version of this may be the “Redskins Rule,” which, on second thought, probably warrants a new name after the former moniker was retired.

For the uninitiated, the rule states that for every presidential election, the result of the Commanders’ last home game before the election tends to correctly predict who wins the presidency.  If Washington wins, the theory goes, the incumbent party retains the White House. A Washington loss meant a victory for the opposition party. 

The only problem? The rule seems to have run its course — four of the last five elections have had no correlation with whether Washington won or lost.  But hey, the rule held up from 1936 to 2000. Hang the banner(s). 

Across town, the Washington Wizards had an odd streak that, while amazing in some ways, over the long haul didn’t add up to much. At one point, the Wizards had lost an NBA-record 11 straight games whenever star guard Bradley Beal scored at least 40 points. 

The streak was finally snapped in March 2021 when Beal had 43 — and Washington beat the Utah Jazz.

“The only reason I’m aware of that is because you all make me aware,” Beal said, referring to the media. “So yeah, it’s great to cut that streak off.” 

Beal brings up a valid point. Trends like the Ravens’ 22 straight preseason victories are magnified because of the discourse. How many records like that would fly under the radar if someone hadn’t noticed? 

Just ask the Oakland A’s. In Major League Baseball, the A’s currently have the longest streak of avoiding a no-hitter as the franchise has gone more than 31 years without being no-hit. That ultimately hasn’t made a difference in the team’s standing — Oakland is a lowly 46-79 this year — but the streak is now a source of pride.

The Ravens, it seems, also take pride in their preseason accomplishment. After Baltimore tied the record last season with 19 straight, coach John Harbaugh dismissed critics who viewed the streak as meaningless. “I’m of the belief that everything has meaning in life,” he told reporters. 

His contemporaries, on the other hand, don’t seem to put much value in it. Asked about the streak this week, Commanders coach Ron Rivera said it was still his team’s job to go out and make sure they’re “playing, growing and getter better as football players.”

“Good for them,” Rivera said of the Ravens. “It’s their thing. It’s what they’re doing. They come out and play a specific way. Good for them.” 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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