100 Things Ravens Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

100 Things Ravens Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781600789038
Publisher: Triumph Books
Publication date: 11/01/2013
Series: 100 Things...Fans Should Know Series
Edition description: Super Bowl Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 821,212
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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 Books

Copyright © 2013 Jason Butt
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62368-673-4



CHAPTER 1

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.


First-round Picks

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.


(Continues...)

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.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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

Sources 275

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