If you’re a Ravens fan who isn’t in the habit of arriving early to the stadium, or if you’re a fan unlucky to watch at home as pre-game shows take you up to kickoff … you’ve missed the most consistently-outstanding performance in franchise history.
Hint: it wasn’t by Ray Lewis, a future Hall of Famer.
Mishael Miller has sung the national anthem for every pre-season, regular season and playoff game in Baltimore, at Memorial Stadium and M&T Bank Stadium, since the Ravens’ arrival from Cleveland in 1996. The Baltimore Ravens anthem singer belts it out for the last time on Sunday afternoon, before the Ravens play the Patriots.
Miller is a Baltimore institution, so much so that the Ravens have never gone about getting celebrities, contest winners or anyone else to start their game days. His pitch-perfect renditions, never drawn out or theatrical, always with the respectful pause for the fans to shout their traditional “O!” before the final verse – games will not be the same.
The assistant pastor and music minister at Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue AME Zion church, Miller is taking over a church of his own in Birmingham. Otherwise, he’s said, he’d never leave.
Just like when Lewis retired after last season, Ravens games won’t be the same.
Miller is a fantastic story – and to their credit, the Ravens themselves took it upon themselves to tell it on their weekly highlight show and on their official website. Congratulations to them for sending him out the right way.
And here’s a look at one of this anthem performances: