Jan 29, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of Super Bowl XLVII championship ring to commemorate the Baltimore Ravens 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on February 3, 2013 on display at the NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sport
The Baltimore Ravens fan base is going to have a tough Sunday. Whether we like it or not, one of the Ravens rivals is going to the Super Bowl. With this frustration fully brewing, it seemed like a good time to cheer up fans of the purple and black.
Sunday is going to be a tough pill to swallow. The announcers will do the Steelers bragging for them during the game. Fans of the New England Patriots will do plenty of bragging on social media. Meanwhile, we’re looking ahead to free agency and the NFL Draft here in Ravens country. It’s not the best time for Baltimore football fans, not by a long shot.
The Ravens have had their fair share of glory though. In the age of the salary cap it is hard to sustain constant success. The Ravens have won two Super Bowls since 2000. Only the Patriots have more than two in that time period. Ravens fans have seen plenty of good times.
This is not only going to be a long Sunday, its going to be a tough offseason. It’s easy to be angry. We certainly cannot be content with an 8-8 season. We’re going to need the occasional mood booster. That’s why I want to remind the Ravens Flock, of all the things we have to brag about.
Jan 29, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of Super Bowl XXXV championship ring to commemorate the Baltimore Ravens 34-7 victory over the New York Giants on January 28, 2001 on display at the NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sport
1. Super Success
The Baltimore Ravens have won two Super Bowls. The team came to Baltimore in 1996, opening a new history and a new beginning. The Ravens have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, in all it’s glory twice. The Detroit Lions were established in 1930. They have never won the Super Bowl, the last championship they won was in 1957. The Arizona Cardinals have had several homes in their history going back to 1920, but no Super Bowls. The history of the Minnesota Vikings started in 1961. They’ve knocked on the door a couple times, but they have two less Super Bowl wins than the Ravens.
The Steelers constantly announce the fact that they won six Super Bowls. The fact is that four of those Super Bowls happened before the Ravens existed. Since the Ravens have come to Baltimore, both rivals have two championships. The Ravens have been one of the most successful teams in the NFL. No team is immune to bad seasons, but the Ravens have had less bad seasons than many teams.
I was 11 years old when the Ravens won the first Super Bowl. I was 22 when they won their second. Do you know how lucky I am? Being a sports fan is all too often a heartbreaking thing. Every loss feels like the end of the world. The sun comes up the next day, but you’re still annoyed and agitated until the next game. Wins feel like a thrill ride. The Super Bowls make all the times you lose your voice at the stadium worth it. They make everything worth it.
Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis (52) reacts after a fourth down stop against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
2. Hall of Fame Talent
Jonathan Ogden is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are surely going to be inducted when their time comes. The Ravens have had three of the best players of all time. Ogden is arguably the best left tackle of all time. Ray Lewis is probably the best linebacker of all time; and if Ed Reed isn’t the best safety of all time, he certainly is the best ball hawk of all time. Three legends have been on one team, at one point at the same time.
There are other Ravens who will have a strong argument for induction into Canton’s hallowed halls. Terrell Suggs and his 114.5 sacks clearly has a case. Suggs is one of the best outside linebackers of this generation. More importantly, he is not just a pass rusher. Suggs is a do it all player on the edge. Jamal Lewis is one of seven players to have a season with 2,000 yards rushing. Lewis rushed for over 10,000 yards, and in his prime he was unstoppable. Haloti Ngata was a once in a lifetime kind of player and Marshall Yanda is a legend.
The Ravens have given their fans plenty of great football players. In fifty years, we will talk about these Baltimore sports heroes, the same way we remember Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry and Gino Marchetti. Baltimore football fans have an awful lot to brag about here.
Jan 12 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) reacts to his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos of the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
3. Amazing Moments:
The 2012 Divisional Playoff game against the Denver Broncos is perhaps the greatest game not only in Ravens history, but the NFL. It had everything you could ask a game to have. The Ravens were cast in the role of the underdog, the Broncos were the mighty giants, the number one seed in the playoffs. It was Ray Lewis vs. Peyton Manning on the biggest possible stage. The roller coaster of a game featured every possible emotion. The Ravens were victorious in double overtime, but it took a 70 yard miracle from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones, just to get to overtime.
In 2003, the Ravens beat the Seahawks 44-41 in overtime. The Ravens had to come back from a 17 point fourth quarter deficit. Ed Reed blocked a punt and all the magic started to happen. I have been to many Ravens games, including the 2010 playoff battle against the Houston Texans. The comeback against Seattle sparked the loudest moment the stadium has ever seen. It was one of the most magical moments I have ever witnessed. If you ever wonder why I love football so much, that game has a lot to do with it.
Then there was the 2000 Divisional Playoff game against the Titans. The Titans were supposed to roll over the Ravens and get to their second Super Bowl appearance in a row. Ray Lewis and the Ravens didn’t let that happen. When Ray Lewis stole the ball in mid air from Eddie George, I was the most excited kid in the world. The Ravens have had some of the greatest games in the history of the sport. There have been so many moments that make Ravens football special. They don’t go away, we keep these moments near and dear.
Sep 22, 2014; Owings Mills, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti speaks during press conference at Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
4. A Great Stadium, A Great Owner, A Great Place
Maryland rocks. We put Old Bay on everything, we know football and the Chesapeake Bay is gorgeous. Baltimore has the greatest set up for their two stadiums. You walk right through Orioles Park at Camden Yards to get to Ravens Walk and M&T Bank Stadium. Both stadiums are beautiful, taken care of and most importantly filled with loud fans. Going to a game in Baltimore is the best.
The Ravens are owned by a self made Baltimore man, Steve Bisciotti. He loves the state of Maryland, he loves Baltimore. Bisciotti is a class act, a visionary and a wise business man. He seems to care about his franchise from top to bottom, and he shows great affection for the fans. With the Chargers relocation, we have seen how villainous NFL owners can be deemed. We never have to worry about that with Bisciotti. His intentions are pure and his efforts are strong.
The Ravens are a great organization. That’s just a fact. When you think of Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Dick Cass, you think of humble men who are class acts. Bisciotti keeps the right people around him. One thing that is awesome, is the connection to history in Baltimore. The Ravens don’t have any ownership of the Colts history, but the fans do. The Johnny Unitas statue in front of the stadium is a nice touch. Having statues Unitas and Ray Lewis connects the two greatest legends in Baltimore sports.
Jan 28, 2001; Tampa, FL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis (52) celebrates with teammate safety Kim Herring (20) against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XXXV at Raymond James Stadium. The Ravens defeated the Giants 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
5. An All-Time Great Defense:
If you are a regular Ebony Bird reader, you understand how I feel about the 2000 Ravens defense. I believe it was the greatest defense of all time. Ray Lewis, Jamie Sharper and Peter Boulware combined to be a freakishly athletic linebacker group. Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams clogged the middle of the defensive line. Rob Burnett and Michael McCrary were ferocious defensive ends. The secondary was awesome as well. Rod Woodson, Chris McAlister, Duane Starks and Kim Herring, man that defense was good.
They allowed the fewest points ever in a 16 game season, a record that seems safe looking at the offensive driven league the NFL has become. They won a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer as the quarterback. The Ravens offense went five games without scoring a touchdown in the regular season, yet the Ravens went 12-4. The Ravens defense was legendary, and it will never be forgotten. Most importantly it set the stage for the Ravens to be dominant defensively, for an entire decade.
The Baltimore Ravens have a ton to be proud about. This is important to remember, especially when our rivals are fighting for a spot in the Super Bowl. Ebony Bird will be with you every step of the way. From opinion and analysis to covering the news of the day, while giving you the occasional trip down memory lane, Ebony Bird is everything Ravens fans need.