The Baltimore Ravens have a lot of valuable history trailing behind them. In 1984 through 1993, the Mayflower vans decided to leave and transport the Colts to Indianapolis. The city of Baltimore fought hard to getting NFL team. Even when the Orioles moved to Camden Yards the city kept the Memorial Stadium so that it could be used as a acting home when they got a new team. In 1993, the NFL began to pick teams for an opening out that was to happen to years from later. Beginning the project Baltimore was known as a desired favorite to get a team. They even obtained a nickname called the Bombers and then logo was created. Nevertheless, the owners decided to award Charlotte and Jacksonville with teams leaving Baltimore in the cold once again. That blows huh!
In 1994 through 1995, after they had been turned away for growth Baltimore landed a CFL team. They called this team the Colts. To everybody's surprise, Robert Irsay filed a lawsuit and the team has to change their name to the Stallions.
They were only playing for two years and they made the Grey Cup Final winning in it in 1995. Despite the achievements of the Stallions Baltimore wanted the NFL badly, and that so they had to do to another city what had been down to it when the Colts moved to Indianapolis. In 1995 in the month of October, they finally struck a contract with the Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell to bring the Browns to Baltimore. Yeah! The city of Cleveland went into a legal jumble to save their team. In court, they knew they would likely suffer defeat, which led to a deal between the city of Cleveland, the NFL, Art Modell and Baltimore.
The deal gave Modell permission to bring his team to Baltimore. They had to say goodbye and left their history and nickname to be used by an expansion team in 1999. This intended 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 Raves would be elected in respect of Edgar Allen Poe's famous book he wrote in Baltimore.
In 1996 in the moth of September, the NFL finally came back to Baltimore as the Ravens coached by former Colts coach Ted Marchibroda. He took the field at Memorial Stadium against the Oakland Raiders. He was led by QB Vinny Testeverde the Ravens would beat the Raiders 19-14 before 64,124 boisterous fans. The excitement would not last as the Ravens finished with a 4-12 record, in spite of holding the lead in 11 out of 16 games. Testeverde would have a rock-hard season earning a trip to the Pro Bowl with 4,177 yards passing.
In 1997, the Ravens get off to a rock-hard start in their 2nd season winning three of their first four games. Offensive struggles would catch up with them as they won just one of their next nine games. Along the way, the Ravens played the Philadelphia Eagles strong to a 10-10, which was the first game to end deadlocked in 8 years.
Approaching down the stretch the Ravens would win 2 straight including the final game at Memorial Stadium in which they win 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 LB Pete Boulware won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors with 11.5 sacks.
In 1998, on September 6 the Ravens opened their new stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers by losing 20-13. The Ravens would carry on to fight back as newly acquired QB Jim Harbaugh and back up Eric Zeier played mediocre football al 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 game.
On December 13, the Ravens and Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record with three kickoff returns for TDs, all in the 1st quarter. Ravens Corey Harris and Patrick Johnson along with Vikings David Palmer all scored TDs on returns in a Vikings 38-28 win.
The Ravens would go on to end the season with a 6-10 record, as Ted Marchibroda was let go and told to vamonous at the end of the season. The Ravens would go on to use Vikings Offensive Coordinator Brian Billick to replace him. In addition, needing stand-in was the Ravens shield logo, which was the focus of a court case that said the team used it without consent of a bank security guard who claimed he came up with design.
In 1999, the Ravens would get off to another sluggish beginning losing five of their first seven games. On the other hand, as the season continued the team got stronger winning 6 of 8 including 4 in a row to enter the final week of the season with an opportunity to make the playoffs. The Ravens would fall to 8-8 by losing their final game to the Patriots 20-3 in New England.
In 2000, the Ravens get off to a strong beginning winning three of four games in September including two shutout victories over division opponents. In October, they were persistent to win their first two games in spite of not scoring a TD, while posting another shutout. The Ravens offensive struggles caught up with them as they lost three straight closing the month of October without a TD.
Sitting at 5-4 the Ravens had a stellar defense, but QB 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 4 times and allowed less then 10 points 9 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 at 10 going into the 4th Quarter. The Titans appeared on the threshold of taking the lead as PK Al Del Greco set up for a short Field Goal.
The Ravens defense would step up and steal the game away as Anthony Mitchell blocked and returned the kick 90-yards for a go ahead TD. 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 stole the power early as Trent Dilfer hit TE Shannon Sharpe on a96-yard TD 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.
They made it to the Super Bowl XXXV! They were playing against the New York Giants in Tampa, the Baltimore Ravens found themselves in a doubtful Super Bowl match up. 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 TD.
On the resulting kickoff, the Giants would get on the board as Ron Dixon returned the kickoff 97 yards for a TD to get the Giants back into the game at 17-7.
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 count of 3 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 10 points in the 4th Quarter for an impressive 34-7 victory as Ray Lewis was named Super Bowl MVP.
In 2001, even though they were undefeated in seven starts QB Trent Dilfer is released as the Ravens sign Elvis Grback. The offense would take a tremendous punch 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 carry their strength with them. They won six of their first nine games. The team resent Grback, and in public criticized him in the press. After splitting their next six 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. Turnovers and mistakes would cripple them in a 27-10 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The Ravens in 2002 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. 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 in 2003, entered the season with rookie QB Kyle Boller under center, meaning the Ravens defense was going to have be stronger then ever, to help keep the young team competitive. 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. 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 in 2004, 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 then half the total from the previous season. Without Lewis, putting up the same output the Ravens had one of the worst offenses 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 LB 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 9 interceptions enroot to earning Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Now in 2005, The Ravens fight to show their fans that they do not just look like monsters with their huge should pads. With a few games left, they are out to prove that they can play like vicious monsters too. The Ravens have a good defense, but an offense that is a horror show. RB Jamal Lewis spent the summer in prison and QB Kyle Boller makes fans cringe every time he throws the ball. Look for a disappointing season from the Ravens who by the end of the year will be Quarterback shopping.