As the Baltimore Ravens prepared to take on the Atlanta Falcons on Christmas Eve, fans flocked into the M&T to cheer their favorite team, even as temperatures dropped to freezing on Saturday.
It was the coldest Christmas Eve in Baltimore since 1983, with a wind chill of two degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures may have hit a high of just 16 degrees before 1 p.m.
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But it did not matter to Ravens’ fans, particularly one iconic superfan called Real Fan Dan, the Pasadena man in Section 532 who takes his shirt off to lead the crowd to chant ‘R-A-V-E-N-S’ chant after the team scores.
“Oh, he’ll be there today,” said Jim Bittner, a fan from Bel Air, who was attending the game with a group of friends and family in a heated tent. He added, “I just hope he rips his shirt off.”
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Who is Real Fan Dan?
The real name of Real Fan Dan is Dan Granofsky. He is a 55 -year-old from Pasadena, Maryland who has been leading the R-A-V-E-N-S chant at M&T Bank Stadium since 1998.
He was born and brought up in Baltimore and served 26 years in the Maryland National Guard. He became a Ravens’ season ticket holder in 1997. The next year, he was sitting with the Ravens Roost’s president when he lamented that Big Wheel wasn’t coming to the games anymore. “Get up there and do it, you dumb @&[email protected]#!” he was told.
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Real Fan Dan stood up and started doing the cheer as he contorted his body to spell each letter of the team name. Eventually, he started moving along the stands to spread the cheer. However, he realized that there was something missing. “They weren’t loud enough one day in 1998, so I got mad at them and started yelling at them,” Real Fan Dan said.
Bumping up his antics, he put his hands up to his ears as if he couldn’t hear them. Then he gave them a thumbs down. He also pinched his nose to tell the fans they stink. Finally, he took his shirt and that created a sensation that has continued to this day.
“For whatever reason, with* *my big gut hanging out, the decibels go up 100 percent,” he said. “I get it. They play me and I know it,” Real Fan Dan said with a chuckle. “They hold back on purpose on the first cheer because they want me to get nakkid.”