The Baltimore Ravens are still a relatively young team in terms of how long they’ve been in the National Football League, but they’ve already accomplished a great deal. Known mostly for their fearsome defense, the Ravens first year in the league was 1996 when owner Art Modell moved his Cleveland Browns franchise to Baltimore which had lost the Colts franchise twelve years before that. Because of the deal worked out with the city of Cleveland and the NFL, the Ravens were not considered a continuation of the old Cleveland Browns, but instead were considered a new franchise.
Here is a look at the five best seasons in Baltimore Ravens history.
The first spot on the list is the easiest. The 2000 Baltimore Raven finished the regular season with a 12-4 record. This team featured Ray Lewis on defense and an offense made up of Trent Dilfer at quarterback, Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes at running back, Shannon Sharpe at tight end, and Qadry Ismail and Travis Taylor at wide receiver. The Ravens defeated the Denver Broncos in the wildcard round by a score of 21-3, then beat the Tennessee Titans in the division round of the playoffs 24-10, before defeating the Oakland Raiders in the conference championship by the score of 16-3. The Super Bowl pitted the Baltimore Ravens against the Kerry Collins and Tiki Barber lead New York Giants. The Ravens defense would work over the Giants offense and the team would win the Super Bowl by the score of 34-7.
The 2008 Baltimore Ravens featured a rookie starting quarterback in Joe Flacco and a rookie head coach in John Harbaugh. The team was lead in rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns by Le’Ron McClain who in his only previious season of experience had carried the ball just eight times over the course of a full season. Despite these odds the Ravens put up a record of 11-5 and made it to the playoffs. In the wildcard round the Ravens faced the Miami Dolphins and beat them 27-9. The very next week they defeated the Tennessee Titans 13-10, earning a trip to the conference championship game. In the championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they lost 23-14 and missed out on their second trip to the Super Bowl.
Not much was expected of the Baltimore Ravens of 2006 as the previoius season they had gone just 6-10. With veteran quarterback Steve McNair and running back Jamal Lewis, combined with the always stellar defense that the Ravens are famous for, the team marched through their regular season putting up a record of 13-3. Their impressive record earned them a first round bye, but the promise was not fulfilled as they would lose in the divisional playoff round to the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 15-6.
The 2001 season saw the combination of Elvis Grbac, Terry Allen and the team defense lead the Baltimore Ravens to a 10-6 record after winning the Super Bowl the previous season. The Ravens looked poised to march back to the big game when they beat the Miami Dolphins in the wildcard round of the playoffs by a score of 20-3. They next faced the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round and lost to them 27-10, ending their year.
Kyle Boller would be the primary starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens for more than four seasons, but his first year with the team he would combine with that great defense and running back Jamal Lewis to lead the team to a 10-6 record. The success would not translate into postseason victories as they lost their first and only playoff game that year to the Tennessee Titans.
The Baltimore Ravens are a relatively young NFL team, but are respected by every team in the league thanks to the very consistent play they have exhibited during their first few years in the league. The Ravens appear destined to remain a force to contend with in the National Football League for years to come.