SPORTS

Redskins and Ravens fans celebrate pre-season

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FULTON, Md. (WJLA) -- If such a thing exists as a dividing line between Redskins country and Ravens country, Route 216 in southern Howard County may be it.

Looney's Pub in Fulton was packed Thursday night as both the 'Skins and Ravens played their first preseason games at the same time. The loyalty of not just the customers but also the staff was divided.

Montgomery County-bred Russ Jensen is the bar manager; Baltimore-bred Jeff Greggs is a bartender. Both were wearing their teams' respective jerseys Thursday night. They talked about the breakdown of fans from both sides that Looney's usually sees.

"It's close to 50/50," Greggs said. "Maybe a shade more to the Ravens side. He'd probably answer differently."

"If the 'Skins are at home, it's Ravens fans everywhere," Jensen said. "If the 'Skins are on the road, it's wall-to-wall Washington in here."

Since moving to Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996, the Ravens have won two Super Bowls and have gained a huge following in and around Baltimore. After the Colts left Baltimore in 1984, the city's metro area had largely become Redskins country until the Ravens arrived.

"I would ask them who they liked before 1996. That's what I would say," diehard Redskins fan Elizabeth Payton of Laurel jokingly said as a message to Ravens fans.

Ravens fans say any time Redskins fans give them a rough time, they just bring up last season's Super Bowl, which Baltimore won by defeating San Francisco.

Geographically, the Ravens are the clear favorites when you head south from Baltimore until you reach Columbia, which has a lot of Redskins fans. Head a little further south down Route 29 to Fulton, and you've got just about a 50/50 split, at least at Looney's. Head about a mile south of that into Montgomery County, and you are definitely in Redskins territory.

One thing fans of both sides agreed on Thursday night -- they are happy football is back.

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