Baltimore Ravens Team History

The Baltimore Ravens history is relatively short considering their inception was in 1996. They are a part of the AFC North Division and were established via a move of the Cleveland Browns team to Baltimore in 1995. Art Modells intentions were to move the team along with their name, players and equipment to Baltimore. The NFL commissioner at the time arranged for Modell to leave all names, colors, uniforms, and franchise information in Cleveland. The commissioner's decision kept the option open for a new Cleveland Browns team to be re-established sometime in the future. Thus, Art moved his team to Baltimore and began playing in 1996, hence Baltimore Ravens history began as an expansion team. Eventually, a new franchise was created for Cleveland in 1999, keeping their name and colors.

The Baltimore Ravens history is unique considering their transition from their former town Cleveland. Unlike other NFL franchises that moved to another location, the Ravens established a new team name, new colors, and an entire new franchise. This loss left many Browns fans feeling abandoned and angered. The Cleveland Browns fans had always been diehards and the move was not taken kindly. The move, however, created a new fan base for the team, and most of the original Browns players were traded, retired, or moved on to other endeavors.

Art Modell initially hired Ted Marchibroda as the coach; he was highly regarded for his work with the Baltimore Colts in the 1970s and the Indianapolis Colts through the early 90s. Ozzie Newsome, former Browns tight end, gradually worked through the management ranks, first being named director of football operations, and then promoted to the Vice President and General Manager position subsequently. Throughout Baltimore Ravens history, they have played in Memorial Stadium, until 1998 when the newly built Raven Stadium was commemorated in Camden Yards. This same year the team lost their quarterback Vinny Testaverde to New York Jets and was replaced by Jim Harbaugh initially and then Eric Zeier later.

Rod Woodson joined the team soon after, but the Ravens went on to have three losing seasons, which caused a new head coach to be named. Brian Billick became the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 1999, and they also acquired Tony Banks as the quarterback for that season. Model sold his team due to financial troubles in 2000, giving 49% ownership to Steve Bisciotti. In 2004, Bisciotti became sole owner by purchasing the other 51% of the team for $325 million.

For the first time in Baltimore Ravens history and after a formidable season with a 12-4 record in 2000, they chalked up a Super Bowl win! Their defense played a major role in their success in 2000, ranked as the best the league. They played in the Super Bowl in Tampa against the New York Giants, winning 34-7 and clinching the Super Bowl XXXV title. This win made them the fourth pro football team from Baltimore to win a championship, following in the shoes of the NFL Colts, the USFL Stars, and the CFL Stallions. The team didn't have much to note after this season, aside from financial problems, which required them to get rid of many key players in the 2002 season. The 2004 season brought the final transfer of ownership into the hands of Steve Bisciotti, ending Art Modell's 40 year career as an NFL owner. Modell still acts as a consultant for the team, and still has his own office at the Baltimore Ravens headquarters.

Looking back in the history of Baltimore Ravens, they have had slow starts to their seasons. This changed in 2006; the Ravens began with a 4-0 record, to the credit of Steve McNair's performance that year. They ended up with a 13-3 record that season, and won the AFC North title. They faced the Indianapolis Colts in the second round playoff game, where they lost to the future Super Bowl champions that year, the Indianapolis Colts. 2007 was a challenging year, ending with 5-11 record, losing 9 out of their last 10 games that year. After that losing season, Brian Billick was dismissed. John Harbaugh was recruited to coach the team in 2008, which led the Baltimore Ravens team back to the playoffs. They lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers in the final round of the playoffs of 2008. Defense has played a major role in the Raven's success. With the leadership skills of a veteran like Ray Lewis, their defense is consistently ranked among the top 5 in the NFL. The Ravens continue to show dominance in 2009 by battling their way into the post season, their notable running game and relentless defense helped them trounce the Patriots to move closer to another Super Bowl appearance.

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