Baltimore Ravens Helmet

The Baltimore Ravens Helmet History

While the Baltimore Ravens helmet has a short history spanning 24 years, it’s definitely an interesting one. Today, I’m going to fill you all in on the story of the team that abandoned the City of Cleveland for supposedly greener pastures in Baltimore, so I need to bust one myth right off the bat.


A Truth in the Matter

The Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens DO NOT share a history and the Browns franchise that was resurrected in 1999 as a result of the original team moving to Baltimore in 1996 is the same franchise that was founded in 1944, to begin play in 1946.

When the City of Cleveland sued the NFL over former owner Art Modell’s breach of contract in moving the team to Baltimore, Modell agreed to relinquish the Browns’ name, colors, and history behind in Cleveland so a new Browns team could form a few years down the road. Thus, the Baltimore Ravens were technically founded in 1996, simply using the former players and personnel of the old Cleveland Browns.

Therefore, the Cleveland Browns helmet IS NOT part of the Ravens’ helmet history and any blog that states otherwise has not done enough research. As I’m a Browns fan, you can definitely trust me more on this painful subject, having studied the histories of both teams back to front.

However, this only bodes for the Browns and Ravens, so teams like the Tennessee Titans and Houston Oilers will be considered to have the same history, whereas the Titans played as the Oilers between 1960-1996, as well as the Tennessee Oilers in 1997 and 1998.

Now that there’s some clarification out of the way, I’ll start the Ravens’ history at 1996, the year the team first moved to, or started, in Baltimore.


==> Click Here for the Ravens’ Jersey History <==


The Original Helmet

The Ravens’ original helmet consisted of a gold shield with a stylized letter ‘B’ written in black with two raven wings protruding from the top of the shield. The wordmark Ravens appeared at the top of the shield as well.

This helmet was used through the Ravens’ inaugural season in 1996 through 1998. However, an amateur artist named Frederick Bouchat submitted a draft of the design to the Maryland Stadium Authority upon learning about the city acquiring an NFL team for the first time since they lost their beloved Colts in 1984.

When the team selected a logo based on the one Bouchat sketched, he was not awarded credit and sued the team. Therefore, the court ruled in favor of Bouchat and while he received next to nothing in damages, the Ravens were forced to change their logo.


==> Click Here for the Ravens’ Team Profile <==


The New Helmet

A late-1990s-early-2000s rendition of the current helmet.

The new and current helmet debuted in 1999, featuring a purple raven’s head with a ‘B’ written in gold and in the center. This logo has since won two Super Bowls and has become synonymous with success, as the Ravens have seen far more ups than downs since 1999.

While the logo has drawn criticisms from other NFL fan bases due to its cartoonish, outdated look, it remains hot among the Baltimore Ravens’ fan base.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion of the latest Ravens’ helmet, it is a winning look, hands down, and has continued to be synonymous with winning two decades after it first took the field in 1999.


My Take

I’ve always advocated for the Ravens to change or at least update the current logo. When the team debuted in 1996, I was a fan of the logo despite being a fan of the old Browns. Sadly, the old helmet and logo will never return but hopefully a new logo will be in the works soon.

I’d love to see a more realistic raven and preferably without the ‘B.’ Something fiercer would be a good move, too, and perhaps more emphasis on the color black over purple, which will provide the team a more intimidating look.



Baltimore Ravens Helmet

While there are no plans to change the helmet or logo at the present time, the twenty-four-year-old franchise is still looking for an identity as iconic as the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose helmet and logo hasn’t changed since the 1960s except for the gray facemask, which changed in 1978, or the Cleveland Browns, whose logoless helmet stood the test of time and NFL pressure during the 1960s.

Then there are the Cincinnati Bengals, whose tiger-striped look has since become synonymous with the team over the past thirty-eight seasons.

For these reasons, the Ravens are still the odd team out, which becomes even more coupled due to the city’s former love affair with the Colts, and the Canadian Football League’s ill-fated expansion into Baltimore wished to continue the Colts’ tradition. However, the NFL sued when the CFL initially named the team the Baltimore CFL Colts, changing the name to the Stallions despite fans still calling the team the Colts. The Stallions went as far adopting a similar color scheme as the Colts, only adding silver.

The Colts’ tradition lasted into the 1990s, and there have even been rumors that the City even lobbied to gain the Colts’ name for the Baltimore Bombers, a proposed 1995 expansion team. However, the name Ravens was a hot name as well, winning the popular vote despite ownership believing the team would have a helmet logo too much like the Atlanta Falcons.

It’s definitely safe to say the Ravens’ only resemblance to the Falcons is the black helmet, and perhaps it explains why the team has decided on adopting purple and gold helmet logos throughout its existence instead of black, which is the true color of the raven.

It will be interesting to see if the team decides to go in a new direction but since the current helmet and entire uniform as seen two Super Bowl Championships plus numerous division titles and playoff runs, it might be tough to convince a passionate fan base that has been through a lot that the Ravens are need of a makeover.

Yet for us traditionalists, we’d love to see what a more traditional Ravens’ helmet and uniform might look like someday and until such speculation becomes a reality, we can only wonder.

There’s an interesting history in Baltimore regarding team names and even tradition, and it’ll be even more interesting if the Ravens ever decided to move in that direction.

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  1. I don’t think 25 years is a short period, but a long one if you ask me. Also I like the look of the previous helmet. Though I am not a sporty fan but I would like to keep a piece of history in my house occasionally.

    But, I love your post really, it is a very insightful and educating one.

    1. I never did until I turned twenty-five! I would do anything to get my hands on a mini-helmet featuring the old logo, but it’s a tough find. One day, I’ll get to it!

  2. You had me at Ravens! I happen to be an avid purple pride Baltimore Ravens die hard fan. As a native of Baltimore, I can assure you that you are absolutely correct in this fan being an avid supporter of the current logo. The cartoonish aspect of the logo is further displayed in our mascot(s) – Edgar, Allan, and Poe. Like all mascots, they get silly (as cartoon characters do) during the game. We love Edgar, Allan, and Poe for very obvious reasons. On another, rather purple, note – purple is not so fierce as you say. I can agree with that, but understand that Baltimore bleeds purple. We have purple pride, so our beloved Ravens’ logo can not loose the purple for a more “fierce” black.

    For now, let’s just get along (with your Browns) and agree to take the black and gold down. Deal?

    1. Hi, Rachael! I do like the purple, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve always thought of the raven as a darker entity, much like the Atlanta Falcons, who’ve since 2003 have incorporated way too much red. As a secondary color, purple will definitely work. And yes, I can definitely agree to take down the Steelers in 2019! With two young up and coming quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson, our teams will own the AFC North in due time.

  3. Interesting to know the history behind helmet and logo changes to such iconic teams. I love football and even though I am a Jaguars fan as well as a Texas boy I can appreciate your angst as a former Houston fan displaced for another city until the Texans brought a new name to South Texas. I like the Ravens purple, but agree the logo needs an update and being a contact sport it should strike fear into small children… OK, maybe not fear but should be BOLD!

    1. The purple and black color combo is one of the most epic in the NFL, but a cartoon-like caricature is something long since gone in pro sports leagues. The logo definitely needs an update, even if it’s just the ‘B’ logo. 

  4. Great article – I love finding out the backstory behind decisions to change logos or uniforms.  I actually completely forgot about the original Ravens helmets, and hadn’t heard the story about the artist and the lawsuit.  Fascinating stuff.

    I agree that the current logo could use a makeover, the bird doesn’t look nearly as ominous as you would think a raven should.

    Going to read the helmet histories of some other teams – I’m sure there’s a lot more interesting stories.

    1. Thanks, Jordan, and yes, they’re part of an almost forgotten history! The current logo is so cartoon-like for a team whose name should strike fear into opponents. The color scheme is fantastic, but the logo is subpar. 

  5. There’s nothing wrong with the current uniform. I wouldn’t change one thing! Remember the gold pants? You don’t? They were ugly. Change isn’t always for the best. I will say I was happy when they, the Ravens, changed the jersey style. That’s when the shoulder ravens “flew away,” replaced with the state shield. I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, that was in 2000. That’s the same year the Ravens went to the playoffs/Super Bowl. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Therefore, in my opinion, no fixin needed. Thank you!

    1. Actually, Gary, I do remember those horrendous pants. So glad they’re one and done. What I mean by change is to get rid of the helmet logo – I feel as if it’s dated – and go with black as the primary colors rather than purple. Something like their alternate black jerseys with the white pants – a dark, sick look. I can’t quite say off the top of my head when the team went with the shield over the logo, but I do know it was roughly around that time.

      I’ll give you credit in the ‘not broke, don’t fix it’ line – when a uniform wins games, it’s likely to stick around. To my misery, it means the Seahawks’ and Patriots’ current duds aren’t going anywhere. To my liking, however, it means my Browns are getting overhauled in April – man, I hope the Haslams don’t screw this up like they did in 2015!

      As for the helmet logo – imagine something like this. I might just have to consider migrating my loyalty from Cleveland to Baltimore!

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