Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
Remember when you were in elementary school and the teacher would reward students for good behavior? She/he would give out stickers or stars (or if you’re really lucky, candy) to students who were the most obedient, often as a way to encourage other students to behave the same way. Well, just call John Harbaugh of the Ravens Mr. Harbaugh because the coach has adopted that philosophy with his underachieving team.
According to ESPN.com, Harbaugh is placing “effort stickers” above players’ lockers for extra motivation. You can earn these stickers for going beyond the mantra of “do your job” and for extra-hustle plays. With a record of 2-7 and their season essentially over already, Harbaugh believes something simple like this could help the team get through the rest of the season.
The players seem to be receptive to the idea even if it makes them feel like little kids again. Defensive end Chris Canty who’s in his 11th season admitted as much:
“It kind of feels like we’re back in elementary school a little bit. Certainly, it’s not one of those things to be overlooked, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Effort to the football is very important…I think this is something that he just sprung on us. It’s definitely different. I guess if you stay in this league long enough, you’ll see just about everything.”
Harbaugh is the one who decides who gets stickers and how many they get. Joe Flacco currently leads the team with 32 stickers despite posting one of the worst statistical seasons of his career. But I suppose it wouldn’t look to good to the rest of the team if your quarterback and leader was just middle-of-the-pack in terms of the sticker count.
I think this “reward system” should go beyond just the players. The Ravens fans should get stickers as well for suffering through this season. If Flacco got 32 stickers, then how many would this infamous Ravens fan get for eating a purple crayon for each Ravens’ loss?