Baltimore Ravens: Loads of History in 20 Years Of Football

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I try to keep in mind the young reader that may not have taken the time to learn what they missed by not being around for major NFL historical changes. The Baltimore Ravens are the end result of the city’s background that covers 3 different franchises and the turmoil they have put fans through. The Ravens started the 2015 with the 8th best winning percentage as my book ranks all games played buy all 32 teams since the merger in 1970 regardless of how long a team has been around… It’s based on what percent of the time a team wins when it hits the field. The team’s worst start as a franchise coupled with the start all expected out of the Green Bay Packers means it more than likely will , by the start of 2016, fall in the rankings.

That first post-season after the merged league kicked off in ’70 ended in Miami for Super Bowl V and with the Baltimore Colts beating the Dallas Cowboys. I just finished reading The NFL, Year One by Brad Schultz about that entire first season and it seems that may have been THE worst played Super Bowl games by both teams. A 16-13 game won in the closing minutes on a field goal by a rookie kicker. After that game the Colt’s organization did almost nothing of note on the field up until it crept out of town in the dead of night in 1984 to become the Indianapolis Colts. They did manage to beat out the Cleveland Browns as the 10th winningest regular season team of the 1970’s by a 1/2 game but then dropped to 27th out of 28 teams in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s they bumped that up to 25th but after Peyton Manning showed up in 1998 they went on to average 11.5 wins a season for the 2000’s. What I thought was a safe record of wins for a decade (115) might be steamrolled by the New England Patriots in the 2010’s.

The Cleveland Browns became an NFL team for the 1950 season after they and the San Francisco 49ers ended the run of the rival AAFC league and were the only two teams the NFL adopted in. They are a pretty compelling story and i’ll spare their fans the agony of reading about it in the Raven’s blog. The bottom line is the Browns team ended its existence in 1995 and became the Baltimore Ravens for the 1996 season. The Brown’s reappeared in 1999 as the “expansion team” promised to Cleveland when they were left with no team in ’95. Brown’s players and coaches stopped adding their stats to that team’s history and started the first historical stats of the Raven organization when they open the 1996 season.

The Ravens had four non-winning seasons to start its time in Baltimore but that 5th season in 2000 saw the club go 12-4 and roll through the playoffs as an AFC wild card on the way to handing the New York Giants the only blemish they have on their current 4-1 Super Bowl record. The Ravens went on to have mostly positive seasons after that Title but it took until the 2012 season to reach the Super Bowl again and that time they handed the 49ers the only blemish on its Super Bowl record (5-1). The club has had great success and I wonder if we missed out on being able to talk about the 2-time world Champion Cleveland Browns instead of keeping the Browns paired with the Detroit Lions as the only teams to kick off the 1970 season and not have ben invited to the Super Bowl. For me it’s about wishing a Browns vs. Colts game had an entirely different history from 1984 until today. A Rams vs Titans (Oilers) match-up with Los Angeles & Houston being the hometowns also would be great.

Baltimore is a proud sports town and I feel bad they have had to endure both the loss of a team and the anguish of knowing they root for another fan bases’ team in some ways still today. I wonder if their team will bounce back or be the not so high flying Ravens for the foreseeable future.

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