Quarterback Joe Flacco (Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com)
The Baltimore Ravens are one of the youngest NFL franchises, having played their first game in 1996. The Ravens play in the American Football Conference (North) division of the National Football League (NFL) and play all of their home games at the M&T Bank Stadium whilst being headquartered in Owings Mills.
The Ravens were originally set up in 1996 when the then owner of the Cleveland Browns, Art Modell, announced his plans to move the franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore. However, as part of the settlement with the league and the city, he was required to leave the heritage of the Browns in Cleveland whilst taking the team’s personnel to Baltimore. Since their inception, the Ravens have been a successful NFL franchise, making the playoffs ten times since 2000 and winning the Super Bowl twice.
- Full Name: Baltimore Ravens
- Conference: American Football Conference
- Division: North
- Location: Baltimore, Maryland
- Stadium Name: M&T Bank Stadium
- Year Established: 1996
- Owner: Steve Bisciotti
- Head Coach: John Harbaugh
- Manager: Ozzie Newsome
- Nickname: None
- Mascot: Poe
- Team Colours: Purple, black, metallic gold
Daniel M. Silva / Shutterstock.com
The history of the Baltimore Ravens begins in 1996 when the then owner of the Cleveland Browns decided that he wanted to relocate his team to Baltimore. As part of the settlement, Cleveland could keep the Browns name, history, colours and history for use with a future replacement team with everything (and everyone) else going to Baltimore.
The early years for the Ravens were not spectacular and they posted a losing record for the first four seasons. However, their first draft selection was inspired. Linebacker, Ray Lewis, gradually became one of the best players in the NFL and helped to forge the Ravens eventual reputation as a team with an effective and dominant defense.
2000 was the year that the Raven really broke through. They had the league’s best ranked defense and won 12 games during the regular season and eventually met the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. The Ravens cruised to victory, recording four sacks and forcing five turnovers in their 34-7 win. The team at this time was full of such NFL superstars like cornerback, Rod Woodson, tight-end, Shannon Sharpe, and offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden. For the next ten years, the Ravens were competitive and they managed to qualify for the playoffs six times between 2001 and 2010.
2011 saw the Ravens win the division title and advanced to the championship game where they were narrowly beaten by the New England Patriots. 2012 saw them take revenge over the Patriots in a title game rematch and then went on to claim their second Super Bowl with a win over the San Francisco 49ers. The Ravens returned unsuccessfully to the playoffs in 2014 and, in 2015, the Ravens were valued at $1.5 billion which makes them the 24th most valuable sports franchise in the world despite a poor season that saw them post a 5-11 record.
Super Bowl Appearances
2012 Super Bowl XLVII Baltimore Ravens 34 – San Francisco 49ers 31
Known as the Harbaugh Bowl thanks to the fact it saw brothers John and Jim Harbaugh as head coaches for the respective sides. Played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, the game was watched by over 70,000 fans and over 108 million on TV. The Ravens were the big underdogs in the game but thanks to a fantastic team performance led by Ray Lewis who was named Most Valuable Player, the Ravens eventually won 34-31 in what was a close and exciting game vs the 49ers.
2000 Super Bowl XXXV Baltimore Ravens 34 – New York Giants 7
Super Bowl XXXV was played at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida and saw the Ravens take on the New York Giants. The game was watched by over 70,000 in the stadium and more than 84 million TV viewers who also saw the Backstreet Boys sing the National Anthem and a spectacular halftime show featuring Aerosmith, Britney Spears, and Mary J Blige.
The Ravens dominated the game from the start and outscored the Giants in every quarter and became the third ever wildcard team to win a Super Bowl. Ray Lewis was the Ravens player named Most Valuable Player and became only the second line-backer to be awarded this honour. The Baltimore Ravens beat the Giants by 34-7, which is the seventh largest margin of victory in Super Bowl history.
M&T Bank Stadium (Daniel M. Silva / Shutterstock.com)
The Baltimore Ravens play all of their home games at the M&T Bank Stadium, which is situated at 1101 Russell Street, Baltimore. It is situated immediately next door to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is the home of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles. The stadium is often referred to as the Ravens Stadium and was opened officially in 1998. Because it is one of the most modern stadiums in the NFL, it is one of the most commended stadiums for its amenities, access, and other features.
When originally built the stadium featured a natural grass surface, however, it was decided in 2003 to install an artificial surface made by Sportexe. This is now to be replaced by a natural grass surface from the 2016 season onwards. The capacity of the stadium is 71,008 and seating is on five levels. As well as hosting the Ravens, it has also played host to a wide variety of college and high school football, as well as other sports, such as soccer, with English Premier League teams such as Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur playing preseason games there.
The stadium has also played host to some of the biggest names in music including Metallica, Billy Joel, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and One Direction. It has also featured in several films including 2000’s The Replacements starring Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves and 2002’s The Sum of All Fears starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman.
Ray Lewis (1996-2012)
Not only one of the best players ever to play for the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis is one of the best ever linebackers in the NFL. Winning the ADP Defensive Player of the Year twice, he was also a First Team All-Pro in every one of his first five seasons. The longest serving and most decorated player in Baltimore’s history, Ray Lewis is the most popular player ever to play for the Ravens.
Jonathan Ogden (1996-2007)
Jonathan Ogden was the Baltimore Ravens first ever draft pick and was the first ever Raven to be make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Making the Pro-Bowl every year from 1997-2007, he also made his mark off the field, establishing the Jonathan Ogden Foundation for Disadvantaged Youth.
Ed Reed (2003-2012)
The all-time leader in interception return yardage (1541) in the NFL, he also has the two longest interception returns in the history of the NFL. An exciting and dynamic player, he remains a fan favourite.
Jamal Lewis (2000, 2002-2006)
Jamal Lewis is one of the best running backs to have graced the NFL and one of the best ever players to play for the Ravens. During his time at the Ravens he averaged 1300 rushing yards and 7.5 rushing touchdowns every year. His career stats and achievements are made even better when you consider that he had a torn ACL and sprained MCL in his early career, injuries that have ended many people’s careers.
Did You Know?
- The Baltimore Ravens have the record for the best defense ever, giving up just 165 points in the 2000 regular season.
- Celebrity fans of the Baltimore Ravens include actor Josh Charles, New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, former WWE wrestler Stacy Keibler and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.
- The Baltimore Ravens are named after the famous poem ‘The Raven’ that Edgar Allen Poe wrote whilst living in Baltimore.
- Other potential names considered include the Baltimore Americans and the Baltimore Marauders.
- Between 1998 and 2001, no running back gained more than 100 yards against the Baltimore Ravens defense.