With 100 essential Ravens facts, trivia tidbits, and even activities, this book is perfect for any fan looking to relive the moments of the team’s past while looking forward to the future of the franchise. Recalling the organization’s important moments, milestones, and achievements, it describes the historic 1996 and 2008 drafts, the 2012 championship season, and the conclusion of Ray Lewis’ career. It identifies the highs and lows that naturally come with being a Ravens fan, from two Super Bowl titles to the 2007 regular season that ultimately led to former coach Brian Billick’s dismissal. Detailing the Ravens’ short but memorable history, this treasury of information invites longtime Ravens fans to reminisce about their beloved team and allows new fans to catch up on what they have missed.
About the Author
Jason Butt is a reporter who has covered the Baltimore Ravens for CBSSports.com, the Washington Times, and the Associated Press. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun and the NFL for National Football Post. He lives in Baltimore.
Read an Excerpt
100 Things Ravens Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die
By Jason Butt
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2013 Jason Butt
All rights reserved.
Super Bowl XXXV
It was a unique situation for the Baltimore Ravens to be in, having had this team in Charm City for only five seasons. Yet there they were, poised for a Super Bowl title with a dominating defense, one led by an emerging star at middle linebacker named Ray Lewis. The Ravens were rolling through the 2000 postseason, demolishing each team in their path, even though they possessed one of the most pedestrian offenses in the modern era.
But that's the beauty of defense in football. There's a saying in the sport — offense wins games, defense wins championships. Lewis set the tone. Rod Woodson was the veteran presence at free safety. Chris McAlister and Duane Starks were lockdown cornerbacks, making it difficult on receivers.
Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams were behemoths up front, eating space and creating lanes for negative plays to be made. It was one of those defenses that will go down in history as one of the best to ever line up.
Outside of Week 2's game against Jacksonville, which saw Baltimore surrender 36 points (a 39–36 Ravens win), only two teams put up 20 or more points against the Ravens (Tennessee and the New York Jets) all season.
The city of Baltimore hadn't fielded an NFL championship football team since 1971, when kicker Jim O'Brien knocked in a 32-yard field goal to give the Baltimore Colts a Super Bowl V championship over Dallas.
With the Colts moving to Indianapolis in 1984, Baltimore football fans were hungry for the sport to return. There was a brief stint with the USFL's Baltimore Stars and a short-lived run with the CFL's Baltimore Stallions. The Stallions, which were embraced by the city, did win the 1995 Grey Cup championship. Even so, it wasn't the same kind of glory an NFL title brings.
With the Ravens one game away from bringing Baltimore another championship, the city was buzzing, excited, and optimistic for what was in store.
In the postseason, the Ravens only surrendered one touchdown — to rival Tennessee in a 24–10 victory in the divisional round. Baltimore first dispatched Denver 21–3 in the wild-card round and later took care of business against Oakland in a 16–3 win in the AFC Championship Game.
And then it was on to the Super Bowl, to face the New York Giants, champions of the NFC. The Giants weren't exactly offensive slouches, either. Running back Tiki Barber, in his fourth NFL season at the time, had just run for 1,006 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season. Quarterback Kerry Collins had one of his better NFL seasons, throwing for 3,610 yards and 22 touchdowns, posting an 83.1 quarterback ranking for the year. Ike Hilliard and Amani Toomer were reliable receivers for Collins in what was a fairly balanced attack for the Giants.
But they hadn't seen a defense quite like this. Prior to Super Bowl XXXV, only the Washington Redskins had been able to contain the Giants to single digits in scoring. Otherwise, the Giants' balance had been fairly effective, not to mention they were riding a seven-game winning streak heading into the championship game.
That would all change early in Super Bowl XXXV.
Even with a Sam Adams offside penalty before the first play of the game, the Ravens forced a three-and-out from the Giants without giving up a yard from scrimmage. The Giants punted, though it would take a couple of possessions for the Ravens offense to get started.
The Ravens went three-and-out the first two times it held the ball, but the offense would begin its third possession in good field position, thanks to a 43-yard punt return from Jermaine Lewis that set the ball at the New York 41. After a three-yard run from rookie running back Jamal Lewis, quarterback Trent Dilfer found receiver Brandon Stokley for a 38-yard touchdown and the game's first score. The Ravens would add to the lead with a field goal from Matt Stover with just under two minutes remaining in the first half, giving Baltimore a 10–0 advantage after two quarters.
The Giants were only able to pick up four first downs in the first half and looked shell-shocked offensively. More was to come in the second half.
Late in the third quarter, Collins dropped back to pass and tried to force the ball into Toomer. But Starks stepped in front of the pass, picked it off, and raced 49 yards in the opposite direction for a touchdown. However, on the ensuing kickoff, Giants receiver Ron Dixon went 97 yards for New York's score, cutting the lead to 17–7. Was there a game all of a sudden?
Not quite. Because when the Giants kicked off to Baltimore, Jermaine Lewis fielded the ball at Baltimore's 16-yard line before running 84 yards to the end zone. Just like that, Baltimore had a 24–7 lead over the Giants, with the game wrapped up.
From that point, the Giants would only manage one first down the remainder of the game. Jamal Lewis added a rushing touchdown, and Stover kicked a 34-yard field goal, giving the Ravens a 34–7 victory in the Super Bowl. The Lombardi Trophy would come home to Baltimore.
The Ravens picked off Collins four times, with Jamie Sharper, Chris McAlister, and Kim Herring joining Starks with an interception each. The Giants were only able to manage 152 total yards, which ranks as the third lowest in Super Bowl history. Ray Lewis was named Super Bowl MVP for his performance, which included five tackles and four pass deflections.
"It was amazing the way we came out," Lewis said. "I mean, it was incredible to see the way we came out and played as a team. This defense has been doing this all year and never, never got the credit. This win is something they can't take away from us. We are the best ever, the best ever right now."CHAPTER 2
Cleveland Browns Move to Baltimore
Baltimore fans were devastated when the Colts packed their bags in the middle of the night on March 29, 1984. Fast forward 12 years later, and Baltimore was about to receive a team the way Indianapolis did. Plenty of fans were naturally ecstatic to get a football team back. Business is business in their minds. But there was still a faction that felt odd about welcoming a team that left its city in circumstances similar to those that led the Colts out of Baltimore.
Both situations played out in like fashion. A little bit of ego, a little bit of politics, and a lot of fans wondering why enough measures weren't done to ensure each team stayed in its respective city. The Colts wanted a new stadium in Baltimore, but the city and state governments could never get on the same page. The majority of the citizens, at the time, didn't want a tax increase for a new stadium, which Robert Irsay wanted since Memorial Stadium was becoming increasingly outdated. For a decade Irsay waited on Baltimore to bring him a new stadium, but it never happened. And on March 27, 1984, the city tried to institute eminent domain on Irsay's Colts to force him to stay. Irsay got on the phone with the Indianapolis city government and accepted a loan of $12.5 million, a training facility, and use of the new Hoosier Dome (later renamed the RCA Dome). He called up his buddy, John B. Smith, the owner of Mayflower Transit, and moved the team on March 29. Die-hard Colts fans will never understand how someone could have moved a storied team overnight. But business is business, much as what transpired in Cleveland.
Art Modell had long been the operator of Cleveland Stadium, which housed both the Browns and Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians. However, the Indians didn't receive any stadium revenue from Modell's business, Stadium Corporation, which was running the day-to-day operation. Eventually, the Indians wanted a share of the money and lobbied the city government for their own stadium. This spawned the Gateway Project, which was designed to build new facilities for the Indians and the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers. Though asked to be a part of it, Modell declined, opting to stick with his current situation. Modell didn't realize it at the time, but this turned out to be a mistake. Revenues began to decline now that he didn't have the Indians playing at Cleveland Stadium anymore. Factor in NFL salaries rising each year in the 1990s, and almost overnight, Modell was in financial turmoil.
In 1995 Modell announced the Browns had lost $21 million over the past two years and requested a bill that would bring in $175 million in tax revenue to help cover the recent losses. Learning from its old mistakes, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill in 1986 that created the Maryland Stadium Authority, with the purpose of bringing the NFL back to Baltimore. With Modell needing a revenue generator, Baltimore came calling, letting Modell know he'd have funding secured for a stadium if he chose to move the Browns to Baltimore. It was a tough decision for Modell. For 35 years he was the Cleveland Browns' owner. Perhaps he was prideful, because selling the franchise to keep it in Cleveland wasn't an option. He wanted to keep the franchise in his name to possibly hand it over to his son, David. It was also the family business, Modell's livelihood.
The Cleveland voters would pass the proposed $175 million tax bill, but it wouldn't matter. On November 6, 1995, Modell told the world, from Baltimore's Camden Yards, that the Browns would relocate. Modell would wind up paying the city $11.5 million, to break his lease with Cleveland Stadium, and hand over the Browns' history to the city while taking the current players, coaches, and staffers to Baltimore.
After various focus groups, citywide polling, and a fan vote, the new team in Baltimore became known as the Ravens, named after the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem "The Raven." The city of Cleveland would never forgive Modell for the move, much like the city of Baltimore never forgave Irsay.
The Ravens played in Memorial Stadium in 1996, while Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards was being built. The Ravens played their first game in the new stadium in 1998.
Unfortunately for Modell, the financial problems didn't end. In 2000, Modell sold Steve Bisciotti a 49 percent minority stake in the franchise, with the option to pick up the remaining 51 percent in 2004. Both sales went through, and Modell was never able to hand down the franchise to his son.
Longtime Baltimore fans from the 1980s understand what Cleveland fans went through. It was an odd situation for Baltimore to be in. But one it welcomed once football was finally played. Business is business, after all. Football was back in Baltimore, and the city had the NFL to look forward to again after a 12-year absence.CHAPTER 3
1996 and the NFL Draft
The best NFL teams draft well. Considering the Ravens were in their infancy in 1996 (sort of), they needed a class that could become the foundation for the future. A lot of the draft is scouting skill. Each team must employ those devoutly dedicated to discovering talent across the country. But the majority of the draft is luck. Evaluating the best college athletes is easy when each player has to attend college for a minimum of three years. But predicting which players will pan out for a franchise in the NFL is easier said than done, and requires a lot of intangible measurables that don't show up on a draft board.
Take for instance the Baltimore Ravens' 1996 draft class. Was there any chance Baltimore peered into a crystal ball to discover it would be taking two future Hall of Famers with its first two picks? Not a chance. Front offices put the work in and do their due diligence. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In 1996 it worked. Baltimore put in the necessary work and received the reward.
Baltimore, which had just moved from Cleveland, was coming off a 5–11 season and needed help in the worst way. There was some speculation that Baltimore would take Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, based on the combination of speed and power he possessed. Phillips was regarded as one of the top prospects in the draft, and Baltimore certainly needed a running back. But at what cost?
After a superb sophomore season at Nebraska that saw Phillips run for 1,722 yards and 16 touchdowns, he became a Heisman frontrunner for the 1995 football season and was spectacular early in the season. But Phillips was arrested midseason for assaulting his then girlfriend, Kate McEwen, who was on the women's basketball team at Nebraska. Though Phillips was suspended for a large portion of the season, he returned to the field near the end and was able to start against Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. As a football player, Phillips was one of the best to ever tote the pigskin in college. As a citizen, Phillips had some serious issues, and that's putting it lightly.
Though Phillips was on the radar, the Ravens passed on him and selected UCLA left tackle Jonathan Ogden with the fourth overall pick. It wasn't a sexy selection, but one that did fit a need at the time. Phillips would go to the St. Louis Rams two picks later. Baltimore likely had no idea how much it gained that day by taking Ogden instead of Phillips.
Ogden would go on to start in 176 of the 177 games that he played in. He was named to 11 Pro Bowl rosters and was placed on the All-Pro team four times. He was regarded as one of the league's top left tackles from early in his career until the end.
Conversely, Phillips became one of the biggest busts in draft history. Phillips didn't make it two seasons in St. Louis and bounced around the NFL, the CFL, the Arena Football League, and NFL Europe. He had flashes of brilliance but could never control himself when he wasn't playing football. Phillips was sentenced to 31 years in prison for assaulting another girlfriend and then driving his car into three teenagers following the incident.
But that wasn't the end of the first round for Baltimore in that 1996 draft. After Ogden, the Ravens had to monitor the draft board for its next selection at No. 26. This pick came courtesy the San Francisco 49ers in a trade during the 1995 draft. The Ravens were looking to draft a linebacker, with one falling seemingly into their lap.
His name: Ray Lewis.
Lewis was a star at the University of Miami, earning All-America honors in both his sophomore and junior seasons. He decided to forego his final year of eligibility for a shot at the NFL. Ultimately, he was the fourth linebacker selected during that draft.
Again, there was a lot of luck involved in getting Lewis. The No. 1 linebacker on Baltimore's board was Reggie Brown out of Texas A&M. But the Detroit Lions jumped on Brown with the 17 pick of that draft, meaning the Ravens checked down to their next option, which was Lewis. On top of that, if Baltimore hadn't selected Lewis, he might've become a member of the Green Bay Packers, which were looking to take Lewis at pick No. 27.
Brown's NFL career lasted just two seasons and ended in tragedy. While attempting a tackle against the Jets in 1997, Brown suffered a severe spinal cord contusion and nearly died on the football field. Emergency surgery saved Brown's life and kept him from being confined to a wheelchair, but his football career was over.
Ogden became a member of the Hall of Fame in 2013, the first year he was eligible for it. Lewis won't be eligible until the 2018 class, though he's a lock to enter the Hall as a first-ballot entry. In 17 seasons, Lewis accounted for 2,643 total tackles, 41/2 sacks, 31 interceptions, and 67 pass deflections. He's arguably the greatest middle linebacker to ever play the game.
The Ravens rarely miss when it comes to the draft, especially in the first round. The organization has made it a focal point to build its roster through the draft, realizing the long-term value is better than in free agency. Here's a look at Baltimore's first-round picks and how they've fared within the organization:
1996 Jonathan Ogden (fourth overall) and Ray Lewis (26overall) — Ogden is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Lewis will be in when he's eligible. This was the best draft tandem in team history.
1997 Peter Boulware (fourth overall) — Boulware sacked quarterbacks 70 times during his career and earned a spot in the franchise's Ring of Honor.
1998 Duane Starks (10 overall).
1999 Chris McAlister (10 overall) — McAlister was Baltimore's first shutdown cornerback in the back end. He received a Pro Bowl invite three times and played 10 seasons in Baltimore.
2000 Jamal Lewis (fifth overall) and Travis Taylor (10 overall) — Lewis became the fifth running back in NFL history to enter the 2,000-yard club in 2003, finishing 16 games with 2,066 rushing yards. Taylor played five seasons with the Ravens but never posted a 1,000-yard receiving season.
2001 Todd Heap (31 overall) — Heap was a reliable option for the slew of quarterbacks Baltimore trotted out there during his 10 years with the Ravens. Heap caught 41 touchdowns in a Ravens uniform.
Excerpted from 100 Things Ravens Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Jason Butt. Copyright © 2013 Jason Butt. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
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Table of Contents
Foreword Aaron Wilson ix
1 Super Bowl XXXV 1
2 Cleveland Browns Move to Baltimore 4
3 1996 and the NFL Draft 7
4 Ray Lewis, Baltimore's Hero 11
5 Jonathan Ogden, the First Raven 14
6 Super Bowl XLVII 16
7 Art Modell: Forever Loved in Baltimore 22
8 Picking a Team Name 25
9 The Inaugural Season 27
10 Go to Training Camp 30
11 Peter Boulware, the Sack Master 33
12 Ray Lewis' Crossroads 35
13 Ravens-Steelers Rivalry 38
14 Fourth-and-29 41
15 Firing Cam Cameron 45
16 2000 and 2012: Some Similarities, Yet Different 48
17 Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and the 2008 Draft 50
18 The Historic First Game 53
19 Hiring Brian Billick 54
20 Firing Brian Billick 57
21 John Harbaugh and "the Team, the Team, the Team" 59
22 "In Ozzie We Trust" 62
23 Ravens Uniforms through History 65
24 Joe Flacco's 2012 Postseason Run 67
25 Dominance: The 2000 Defense 73
26 Steve Bisciotti Buys the Ravens 75
27 Baltimore's First Postseason Game 77
28 Jamal Lewis, Baltimore's Bell Cow 78
29 From Trent Differ to Elvis Grbac 83
30 "Heeeeaaapppppp" 86
31 Matt Stover, the Reliable One 90
32 Ray Lewis in the Community 93
33 Ravens Honor the Baltimore Colts 95
34 Ozzie Newsome's Right-Hand Man, Eric DeCosta 97
35 Ravens Get Lucky Drafting Terrell Suggs 99
36 The Kyle Boiler Era 102
37 Ed Reed: The Greatest Safety Ever? 106
38 Derrick Mason, Baltimore's Best Receiver 109
39 Jamal Lewis Runs for 295 against the Browns 112
40 From Willis McGahee to Ray Rice 114
41 Jacoby Jones Dances into Super Bowl Lore 117
42 Heartbreak in Foxborough 120
43 Vinny Testaverde vs. St. Louis in 1996 124
44 Torrey Smith Breaks Out against St. Louis 127
45 Steve McNair to the Rescue 129
46 Billy Cundiff vs. Justin Tucker 132
47 Cursed Quarterbacks 135
48 Anquan Boldin, Strictly Business 137
49 Haloti Ngata: Another Piece to an Elite Defense 139
50 The Ravens vs. Peyton Manning 141
51 Ray Lewis Announces His Retirement 144
52 Matt Cavanaugh, the Scapegoat 147
53 Jim Caldwell's 2012 Run 149
54 Joe Flacco Assumes Control 152
55 O.J. Brigance's Battle with ALS 154
56 The 2000 Offense: Enough to Get By 156
57 Overlooked Contributors 159
58 Super Bowl XLVII's Goal-Line Stand 161
59 Priest Holmes, the One That Got Away 165
60 2006: The Ravens' Best Regular Season Squad 167
61 2007: What Happened? 169
62 Jamal Lewis Joins the 2,000-Yard Club 172
63 Jarret Johnsons Iron Man Streak 174
64 Michael Oher: From Blind Side to Prime Time 176
65 The Baltimore Coaching Tree 179
66 Michael McCrary Plays with Heart, Passion 182
67 Jermaine Lewis, a Super Bowl Hero 184
68 Earnest Byner, the First Ravens Running Back 185
69 Bryant McKinnie's Tumultuous Time in Baltimore 188
70 Lardarius Webb Becomes a Shutdown Corner 190
71 Ray Lewis Recovers from Triceps Tear 193
72 Revenge in New England 197
73 Harbaugh Bowl I 200
74 Ray Rice Runs Wild vs. Patriots 202
75 Qadry Ismail vs. Pittsburgh in 1999 205
76 Home-Field Advantage in 2011 207
77 Torrey Smiths Brother's Unexpected Death 210
78 Ed Reed's Eight INTs in 10 Games 214
79 Ravens Win John Harbaugh's First Playoff Game 216
80 92 Yards 218
81 First Game at M&T Bank Stadium 222
82 The Band of Baltimore 224
83 Ted Marchibroda Returns to Baltimore 227
84 1999's Building Blocks 229
85 Cornhole: A Budding Ravens Locker Room Tradition 231
86 A Near "Mutiny" 233
87 Join a Chapter of the Baltimore Ravens Roosts 235
88 Ray Rice vs. Bullies 237
89 Bernard Pollard, Patriots Killer 240
90 Comeback vs. the Cardinals 243
91 Chris McAlister: Baltimore's First Shutdown Corner 246
92 Baltimore's Hall of Fame Fans 249
93 The Early Veterans 252
94 Take the Polar Bear Plunge 254
95 Ravens-Titans: The First Rivalry 255
96 Johnny U 260
97 Battle of the Beltway 262
98 Baltimore-Jacksonville in 2000: The Turning Point 264
99 The 2002 Season: Brian Billick's Best Coaching Job? 268
100 Anthony Wright to Marcus Robinson 271
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