Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/4/13

SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 20: Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 20, 2009 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
I was 13 years old when the Ravens came to Maryland.  Prior to that time, my National Football League exposure came largely through my family's allegiances (Eagles) and local television (Redskins).  Naturally, I became a fan of the 49ers.However, my fandom for a team across the country should be taken with a grain of salt.  Kids are front-runners and the 90s were when the Bay Area team put on for their region.  Also, as anyone who doesn't have a local team (As with a majority of people from the Baltimore-Metropolitan area, I do not consider Washington, D.C. teams local.  There are too many, semi-logical reasons to be detailed here) can tell you, another cities champion can never really truly be yours.  There's nothing compares to a team gaining national recognition with your hometown on their banner.  For the past 17 years, Ray Lewis has done that and more.I don't remember the day, but I remember the year I shed my San Francisco-loyalty.  It was 1999.  The 49ers were in decline and ...
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