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Baltimore Ravens

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The History of Baltimore Ravens

1984-1993: After the Mayflower vans packed up and moved the Colts to Indianapolis, the city of Baltimore began efforts of landing an NFL team. Even when the Orioles moved to Camden Yards the city maintained historic Memorial Stadium so that it could be used as a temporary home when they landed a new team. In 1993 the NFL began to select teams for an expansion that was to follow two years later. Going into the process Baltimore was considered a heavy favorite to land a team as even a nickname (Bombers) and logo was developed. However, owners decided to award Charlotte and Jacksonville with teams leaving Baltimore in the cold again.

: After being rejected for expansion, Baltimore landed a CFL team they called the Colts. However, Robert Irsay filed a lawsuit and the team changed its name to the Stallions. In its two years of existence it made the Grey Cup Final winning in 1995. However, despite the success of the Stallions, Baltimore wanted the NFL, and that meant doing to another city what had been done to it when the Colts moved to Indianapolis. In October of 1995 they finally struck a deal with Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell to bring the Browns to Baltimore. The city of Cleveland went into a legal scramble to save their team. However, in court they knew they would likely lose, which led to a settlement between the city of Cleveland, the NFL, Art Modell and Baltimore. The deal allowed Modell to bring his team to Baltimore. However, they left behind their history and nickname to be used by an expansion team in 1999. This meant that the team playing in Baltimore would be an established roster with the clean history of expansion team complete with a new nickname. Eventually the name Ravens would be chosen in honor of Edgar Allen Poe's famous book he wrote in Baltimore.

: On September 1st the NFL finally returned to Baltimore as the Ravens coached by former Colts coach Ted Marchibroda took the field at Memorial Stadium against the Oakland Raiders. Led by Quarterback Vinny Testeverde the Ravens would beat the Raiders 19-14 before 64,124 rowdy fans. However, the joy would not last as the Ravens finished with a 4-12 record, despite holding the lead in 11 out of 16 games. Testeverde would have a solid season earning a trip to the Pro Bowl with 4,177 yards passing.

: The Ravens get off to a solid start in their second season winning three of their first four games. However offensive struggles would catch up with them as they won just one of their next nine games. Along the way the Ravens fought the Philadelphia Eagles to a 10-10 tie, which was the first game to end deadlocked in eight years. Coming down the stretch the Ravens would win two straight including the final game at Memorial Stadium in which they beat the Tennessee Oilers 21-19 in a day in which Baltimore heroes past and present were honored. The Ravens would go on to finish with a 6-9-1 record, as Linebacker Pete Boulware won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors with 11.5 sacks.

: On September 6th the Ravens opened their new stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers by losing 20-13. The Ravens would continue to struggle as newly acquired Quarterback Jim Harbaugh and back up Eric Zeier played mediocre football all year as the Ravens got off to a 2-6 start. On November 29th the Indianapolis Colts returned to Baltimore, as the Ravens overcame two 14-point deficits and scored 25 second-half points to win a 38-31 thriller. On December 13th the Ravens and Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record with three kickoff returns for Touchdowns, all in the 1st quarter. Ravens Corey Harris and Patrick Johnson along with Vikings David Palmer all scored Touchdowns on returns in a Vikings 38-28 win. The Ravens would go on to finish the season with a 6-10 record, as Ted Marchibroda was fired at the end of the season. The Ravens would go on to hire Vikings Offensive Coordinator Brian Billick to replace him. Also needing replacement was the Ravens shield logo, which was the focus of a court case that said the team used it without permission of a bank security guard who claimed he came up with design.

: The Ravens get off to a solid start winning three of four games in September including two shutout victories over division opponents. In October they continued to win winning their first two games despite not scoring a Touchdowns, while posting another shutout. However, the Ravens offensive struggles caught up with them as they lost three straight games closing the month of October without a Touchdown. Sitting at 5-4 the Ravens had a stellar defense, but Quarterback Tony Banks struggles were hurting the team. This led to backup Trent Dilfer getting the starting nod for the rest of the season. Statistically Dilfer was not much better, but the Ravens won all seven games he started to finish with a 12-4 record and qualify for a Wild Card berth. In their final seven games the Ravens outscored their opponents 193-63 as their defense led by Ray Lewis who overcame an off-season in which he faced murder charges to win Defensive Rookie of the year set a16-game record with only 165 points allowed. Along the way the Ravens defense shut their opponents out four times and allowed less than 10 points nine times. In the first playoff game at PSInet Stadium the Ravens defense continued to overwhelm the opposition shutting down the Denver Broncos 21-3. A week later in Tennessee the Ravens were heavy underdogs facing the Titans in the Divisional Playoffs. The Titans controlled the game most of the way but the Ravens defense held the game tied 10-10 going into the 4th Quarter. However, the Titans appeared on the verge of taking the lead as Kicker Al Del Greco set up for a short Field Goal. The Ravens defense would step up and snatch the game away as Anthony Mitchell blocked and returned the kick 90-yards for a go ahead Touchdown. The Ravens would seal the game 24-10 on a 50-yard Interception return by Ray Lewis moments later. In the AFC Championship at Oakland the Ravens were heavy underdogs again facing the Raiders. The Ravens grabbed control early as Quarterback Trent Dilfer hit Tight End Shannon Sharpe on a 96-yard Touchdown pass. It was all the points the Ravens would need as the defense smothered the Raiders in a 16-3 win to earn a trip to the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XXXV
: Facing the New York Giants in Tampa, the Baltimore Ravens found themselves in an unlikely Super Bowl matchup. In the first half the Ravens defense was dominant holding a 10-0 lead. Late in the 3rd Quarter the Ravens defense scored again, as Duane Starks returned an interception 47-yards for a Touchdown. However, on the ensuing kickoff the Giants would get on the board as Ron Dixon returned the kickoff 97 yards for a Touchdown to get the Giants back into the game at 17-7. However, the Ravens would respond in the blink of an eye as Jermaine Lewis returned a kickoff of his own 84 yards to give the Ravens a 24-7 lead. In total a record three consecutive returns for touchdowns were made as fans got whiplash in the most exciting 36 seconds in Super Bowl history. The Ravens would go on to score ten points in the 4th Quarter for an impressive 34-7 victory as Ray Lewis was named Super Bowl MVP.

: Despite going undefeated in seven starts at Quarterback, Trent Dilfer is released as the Ravens sign Elvis Grback. The offense would take a huge hit in training camp as Jamal Lewis suffers a season ending knee injury as cameras rolled for a HBO reality show. The Ravens defense continued to be strong s they won six of their first nine games. However, the team resented Grback, and publicly criticized him in the press. After splitting their next 6 games the Ravens needed to beat the Minnesota Vikings in a Monday Night season finale to qualify for the playoffs as a Wild Card with a 10-6 record. In the Wild Card game in Miami the Ravens returned to their previous playoff forum in a dominating 20-3 win over the Dolphins. However turnovers and mistakes would cripple them in a 27-10 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

: The Ravens would enter the season without several of their top players from the Super Bowl team as they are forced to let them go due to salary cap concerns. The decimated Ravens would get off to a bad start losing their first two games by a combined score of 35-7. However, the Ravens spurred by key play by Chris McAlister on special teams would stun the Denver Broncos at home on Monday Night. A week later the Ravens would improve to 2-2 with a 26-21 win over the Cleveland Browns on the road. The Ravens would stay competitive most of the season despite being unable to find a proven Quarterback as they were in the race for a playoff spot most of the season before losing three of their last four games to finish with a record of 7-9 that landed them in 3rd place in the newly formed NFC North.

: The Ravens entered the season with rookie Quarterback Kyle Boller under center, meaning the Ravens defense was going to have be stronger than ever, to help keep the young team competitive. With Boller learning under fire it meant a greater role in the offense for Running Back Jamal Lewis who boasted he could break the single game rushing record going into the second Week against the Cleveland Browns, after losing their first game to the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-15.  Lewis's boast was backed up as he galloped for a record 295 yards in a 33-13 Ravens win in the home opener. For much of the season the Ravens would alternate wins and losses, but in the weakest division in the NFL they were at or near first place all season. Boller's season would end early due to injury as Anthony Wright stepped in and keyed a dramatic 4th Quarter rally as the Ravens who trailed the Seattle Seahawks 34-17 late in the 3rd Quarter won 44-41 in overtime. With Wright under Center the Ravens offense began to click on a high level as they won three straight games, including a 31-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14 to surge to the top of the division. The Ravens would go on to win the AFC North with a record of 10-6, as Jamal Lewis won the Offensive Player of the Year award by rushing for 2,066 yards the second highest total in NFL history. While Jamal ran led the team on offensive Ray Lewis again led on defense winning his second career Defensive Player of the Year award while newcomer Terrell Suggs won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.  However in the playoffs the Ravens offensive weaknesses would catch up against the Tennessee Titans who held Jamal Lewis to just 35 yards rushing in a 20-17 win, which ended the Ravens season in disappointment.

: It was a bad off-season for reigning Offensive Player of the Year Jamal Lewis as he faced Federal Drug Trafficking Charges. Eventually Lewis would plead guilty and would serve a sentence following the season while being suspend two games by the NFL. With the distraction along with nagging injuries he would rush for only 1,006 yards less than half the total from the previous season. Without Lewis putting up the same output the Ravens had one of the worst offense in the NFL. However, thanks to one of the best defenses the Ravens were in the playoff picture all season before missing out by just one game with a 9-7 record that landed them second in the AFC North. On defense the spotlight shifted from Linebacker Ray Lewis to the secondary as Deion Sanders came out of retirement to play for the Ravens while Ed Reed benefited from his presence with nine interceptions en route to earning Defensive Player of the Year honors.

: The Ravens started the season behind the eight-ball as Jamal Lewis was not in good shape at the start of the season, after off-season knee surgery, in which his rehab was limited by four month prison sentence. In the season opening Sunday Night loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Ravens had another setback as Kyle Boller was lost to a toe injury. Without a healthy Jamal Lewis and Anthony Wright as their quarterback the Ravens already questionable offense was downright anemic as they got off to a terrible 2-6 start, while failing to reach 20 points in any one game. Boller would return in Week 9, but would not do any better as the Ravens lost to the Jaguars 30-3, as injuries began to take their toll on the overworked defense as Ray Lewis was limited to just six games while Ed Reed missed six games. Despite missing two defensive stalwarts the Ravens did play a solid game in Week 10 stunning the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime on a 44-yard game winning Field Goal by Matt Stover. However at 3-7, there would be no saving the Ravens season as they ended up finishing in 3rd place and were not a factor in the playoff race with a record of 6-10. Despite finishing the season strong the Ravens appeared to be giving up on Kyle Boller as they acquired Quarterback Steve McNair in the off-season demoting Boller to the role of back up.

: The Steve McNair era in Baltimore began with the Ravens using their defense to earn a road win as they blanked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-0. A week later the defense was just as strong in the home opener allowing just two field goals in a 28-6 win over the Oakland Raiders. It would not be as easy the following week as they needed a 52-yard Field Goal by Matt Stover with 20 seconds left to beat the Cleveland Browns 15-14. A week later they needed 4th Quarter magic again, as McNair found Todd Heap in the end zone from ten yards out for a dramatic 16-13 win over the San Diego Chargers with 34 seconds left. A week later there would be no magic as their offense sputtered in a 13-3 road loss to Denver Broncos. A week later there would be more frustration as the Ravens lost Steve McNair to an early concussion then lost the game to the Carolina Panthers 23-21. Steve McNair would return a week later, and would pass for two touchdowns and run for another in an impressive 35-22 win over the New Orleans Saints, over the next four weeks the Ravens would take a stranglehold for the NFC North winning five in a row. After a frustrating 13-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens second ranked defense continued to lead the way as they would close the season with four straight wins, winning the division championship and earning a first round bye with a record of 13-3, their best regular season ever. In the playoffs the Ravens faced the ghosts of Baltimore as they faced the Indianapolis Colts with a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line. Once again the Ravens defense rose to the occasion, not allowing a Touchdown and intercepting Peyton Manning twice. However, the Ravens would have their own offensive struggles as the surging Colts held the Ravens to just two field goals, while the Colts with Adam Vinatieri hit five field goals and won the game 15-6, on the way to winning Super Bowl XLI. Following the season the Ravens would say good bye to Jamal Lewis, as they acquired Running Back Willis McGahee from the Buffalo Bills.

: The Ravens started the season with championships aspirations, however from the start of the season their season was doomed by series of injuries. The first injury to bite them was to Quarterback Steve McNair was banged up in a 27-20 season opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. With Kyle Boller under center the Ravens would recover to beat New York Jets in their home opener 20-13. McNair would return in Week 3 as the Ravens saw a 17-point lead evaporate against the Arizona Cardinals. However, Matt Stover would save the day for Baltimore as he kicked the Ravens to a 26-23 win, with a 46-yard field goal as time expired. However, against the Cleveland Browns there would be no saving the Ravens as they lost 27-13. McNair and the Ravens offense continued to struggle a week later on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, but the defense saved the day as the Ravens won 9-7. Kyle Boller would start the following week as the Ravens beat the winless St. Louis Rams 22-3 to hit 4-2, little did anyone know that the season was about to spiral out of control. After Boller started again in the Ravens 19-14 loss on the road to the Buffalo Bills, Steve McNair returned and looked out of sync as he was removed in both games as the Ravens lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. It would be the last football Steve McNair would ever play, as the one time MVP sat out the rest of the season with a series of injuries that would also lead him to retire. With Kyle Boller starting at home against the Browns, the Ravens who trailed 27-14 staged a fourth quarter rally to take a 30-27 lead on a 47-yard field goal by Matt Stover with 26 seconds left. However, the Browns would quickly get down the field for a tying field goal by Phil Dawson. At first the 51-yard field goal was called no good as it hit the support beam of the goal posts, but as the Ravens celebrated a win, the officials huddled and ruled the kick good. The stunned Ravens never had a chance in overtime as the Browns quickly drove down the field and won the game 33-30 on a kick by Dawson. With four straight losses the Ravens continued to fade as they lost to the San Diego Chargers 32-14. Against the unbeaten New England Patriots on Monday Night Football the Ravens finally showed up to play again, as they led throughout. However, the Patriots drove down the field in the final minute of the game and won the game 27-24 on a Tom Brady to Jabar Gaffney eight yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds left. What made the loss extra painful is that the Ravens appeared to have stopped the Patriots drive twice, only to commit penalties on fourth down to keep the drive alive. The losses continued to mount as the Ravens lost their seventh straight to the Indianapolis Colts 44-20. Things would go from bad to worse a week later, as the same team that nearly beat the unbeaten Patriots, lost to the winless Miami Dolphins 22-16, after Coach Brian Billick decided to kick a game tying field goal, rather than attempting to win the game on fourth and goal from the one yard line. With former Heisman winner Troy Smith starting at quarterback the Ravens losing streak hit nine as the Ravens were crushed by the Seattle Seahawks. Smith would start again in the finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers who were on the way to the playoffs rested most of their starters and were beaten 27-21 as the Ravens finished the season with an awful record of 5-11. Following the season Brian Billick would end taking the blame for the Ravens collapse, as the Coach who led the Ravens to a Super Bowl, was fired, and replaced by John Harbaugh.

: It was an era in Baltimore, as a rookie Coach, Jim Harbuagh, and a rookie Quarterback, Joe Flacco led the Ravens into the season. In their opener, the Ravens jumped out fast thanks to a 42-yard run by Receiver Mark Clayton on a double reverse. Flacco, would take care of the ball just fine, and would add a touchdown run of his own of 38 yards as the Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals 17-10. The Ravens would end up getting an early rest a week later, as damage from Hurricane Ike in Houston, forced the Ravens to reschedule their game against the Texans to Week 10. After beating the Cleveland Browns in Week 3, Flacco and the Ravens faced their first test as they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday Night Game on the road. The Ravens played well early, holding a 13-3 lead at the half. However, the Steelers clawed their way back into the game as a Joe Flacco fumble led directly to a Steelers touchdown, as the Steelers won the game in overtime 23-20. The Ravens would see another game slip through their fingers a week later, as the Tennessee Titans scored ten unanswered points in the 4th Quarter to stun the Ravens in Baltimore 13-10. After a 31-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts dropped them to 2-3, Flacco and the Ravens went to Miami, and came up with a big win, as Terrell Suggs returned an interception 44 yards to lead the Ravens to a 27-13 win over the Dolphins. The win would be turning point for the Ravens, as they won seven of eight games, entering a rematch with the Steelers at home. Once again the Ravens controlled the game early, only to see the Steelers rally late winning the game 13-9 with ten unanswered points in the 4th Quarter. Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive the Ravens played spoiler to the Dallas Cowboys in the final game ever at Texas Stadium, winning 33-24 behind to dazzling 4th Quarter Touchdown runs, one by Willis McGahee who streaked 77 yards down the field, and the other by Le'Ron McClain who galloped 82 yards down right through the heart of Texas. Entering the final week of the season controlling their own playoff destiny the Ravens jumped out early and never looked back as Joe Flacco passed for 297 yards to lead the Ravens to a 27-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars to clinch the Wild Card with an 11-5 record. While his number were not overwhelming, Flacco was good enough to take care of the football and let the Ravens running game and defense lead them to a playoff berth. Facing the Miami Dolphins again in the Wild Card round the Ravens defense led the way as Ed Reed returned a Chad Pennington pass 64 yards for a touchdown to give the Ravens the lead, as they picked off the Miami Quarterback four times on the way to a solid 27-9 win. In the Divisional Round the Ravens were underdogs facing the Tennessee Titans, who secured home field in the AFC with a 13-3 record. However, the Ravens defense held the Titans in check all game, as a 48-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Derrick Mason enabled the Ravens to answer the Titans only touchdown quickly in the 1st quarter. Still tied 7-7 entering the 4th Quarter the Ravens took the lead for the first time with a 21-yard field goal from Matt Stover. After Rob Bironas tied the game, with a 27-yard kick, it was Stover again with the game winner, nailing a 43-yarder with just 53 seconds remaining to give the Ravens a 13-10 win, to send them on to the AFC Championship Game where they would get another shot at the Steelers. This time it would be the Steelers jumping out early, as the black and gold led 13-0 early in the 2nd Quarter. The Ravens would finally get on the board late in the half as Willis McGahee scored from three yards out. After the Steelers added a field goal in the 3rd Quarter, McGahee again got the Ravens on the board with a 1-yard run in 4th Quarter to get the Ravens within two points. However, it would get no closer as Joe Flacco had a pass intercepted by Troy Polamalu who returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach, as the Steelers advanced to Super Bowl XLIII with a 23-14 win.

Ted Marchibroda 1996-1998
Brian Billick 1999-2007
John Harbaugh 2008-Present

Hall of Famers
Rod Woodson S 1998-2001
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