After the controversial relocation of the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens were established as an expansion team on February 9th, 1996, using players and staff from the 1995 Browns. The Raven struggled, failing to win more than eight games per season from 1996 to 1999.
However, the 2000 Ravens finished the season at 12-4 behind a mean, nasty, and dominant defense, en route to their first Super Bowl Championship over the New York Giants. This win brought controversy since the bulk of the players on the 2000 team was built via moves while the original Cleveland Browns existed.
Players like Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden, for example, were drafted in 1996 with what would have been the Browns’ picks had they remained in Cleveland. Craig Powell, Rob Burnett, and Matt Stover remained from the 1995 team.
This set off a decade of dominance and fierce competition between the Ravens and their chief rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the two trading barbs, divisional titles, and even appearing in the Super Bowl on four more different occasions (Pittsburgh 2005, 2008, 2010, Baltimore 2012) throughout the decade and into the next. The two teams also combined for ten division titles (Baltimore 2003, 2006, 2011, 2012, Pittsburgh 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010).
The Ravens and Steelers also met in the postseason during this time, including the 2001, 2008, and 2010 playoffs, with the Steelers winning all three matchups. The Ravens, however, exerted revenge, defeating the Steelers in the 2014 Divisional Playoffs.
The Ravens would win their second Super Bowl in 2012 before facing instability between 2013 and 2017, making the playoffs just once in that timespan.
Upon drafting Lamar Jackson with the 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Ravens benched and subsequently traded longtime quarterback Joe Flacco, inserting Jackson into the starting lineup in Week 11 when the team sat at 4-5. Jackson led the Ravens to a 6-1 record during the latter half of the season, clinching their first AFC North Title in seven seasons before losing to the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Wildcard Playoffs.
In 2019, Jackson duplicated his rookie success and led the Ravens to a 14-2 record before the Tennessee Titans knocked them out of the playoffs.
Baltimore Ravens Quick Hits
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
Black, purple, metallic gold
Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jamal Lewis
Current Marching Band marched for the old Baltimore Colts.
Main Article: Baltimore Ravens Helmet History
Main Article: History of the Baltimore Ravens Jersey