The Baltimore Ravens

By | Sep 7, 2008

When the NFL decided to expand in 1991, the city of Baltimore, who was one of the cities that had lost their NFL franchise when Bob Ersay moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis, went after one of those franchises. They were not successful since the NFL awarded franchises for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers.

This didn’t stop the city and the State of Maryland from moving forward in their bid to have an NFL team in the State. In Cleveland Art Modell, the owner of the Cleveland Browns, was in a battle with Cleveland for improvements to the Stadium as well as the team being drawn further into debt. On November 6, 1995 he announced that he was moving his team from Cleveland to Baltimore. Maryland would soon have two teams playing in Stadiums located in Maryland, since the Redskins were building their new stadium in Landover, Maryland.

After the announcement, the city of Cleveland went on the offensive and sued to keep the team in their city. They filed lawsuits that were settled February 8, 1996. The agreement between the NFL, City of Cleveland and Art Modell allowed Cleveland to keep the Browns’ name, colors and their history with a team that would begin play in 1999. Modell and Baltimore would technically and legally be an expansion team.

After reducing a list of possible names for the team from over 200 to 3, Marauders, Americans, and Ravens, a fan contest selected the name Ravens. The name comes from the poem by Edgar Allen Poe who lived in Baltimore and is buried there. They played their first game against the Oakland, the Ravens won, in September 1, 1996 playing in the AFC Central. They now are part of the AFC North.

The team does not have any retired numbers, but they do have what they call a Ring of Honor. Many of these are former Baltimore Colts. 19 Johnny Unitas, 24 Lenny Moore, 70 Art Donovan, 77 Jim Parker, 82 Raymond Berry, 83 Ted Hendricks, 88 John Mackey, and 89 Gino Marchetti. Those honored as Ravens are 21 Ernest Byner, 58 Michael Boulware and 99 Michael McClary.

In the short life of the team they are already a Super Bowl Champion. They won Super XXXV against the New York Giants. Even though they had won a Super Bowl they did not win a division championship until 2003 and then again in 2006.


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