• Team Name: Baltimore Ravens
  • Year Established: 1996
  • Stadium Name: M&T Bank Stadium
  • Stadium Capacity: 71,008
  • Conference: AFC
  • Division: North
  • Super Bowl Appearances: 2
  • Super Bowl Victories: 2

Baltimore Ravens – Where It All Began

The Baltimore Ravens got their name after the team ran a fan contest before they were ready to play in the NFL as the representatives of the city of Baltimore. The contest had over 33,000 entries and the name that was eventually agreed on was the Ravens. This name is in honour of the poet Edgar Allan Poe and his poem simply named ‘The Raven.

The poem tells the story of a man drifting off to sleep whilst reading and lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore, only to be woken by a knock at the door. When he opens the door there is no one there. He tells himself it’s just the weather at the window. Upon opening the window in flies a raven that perches on a statue above the door. The man talks to the bird who just keeps replying with the word, “Nevermore”. The man decides to keep asking his questions which get deeper and more personal due to the state of his emotions due to the loss of his love. The raven continues with the same answer throughout which, understandably I suppose, slowly drives the man insane………basically. Although why you’d keep talking to a raven that could only say one thing I’ll never know. Maybe it’d be a novel thing to start with but it’d soon get boring. 😉

The team’s name honours Edgar Allan Poe because he lived in Baltimore for a time and died there of unknown causes in 1849 at the age of just 40. He was also buried in the city.

The original and later headstones of Edgar Allan Poe

The Baltimore Colts

The city of Baltimore used to have the Colts as their hometown team but lost them to the city of Indianapolis, Indiana in a controversial move by then-owner Robert Irsay, prior to the 1984 season. The Colts still play in Indianapolis to this day. The move took place without any announcements or thought for the fans or the cities community as a whole. Many are still bitter about the whole affair to this day. The reason for the move was because the franchise had been trying to get a new stadium to replace the ageing Memorial Stadium that hadn’t been up to the job of housing an NFL team, as well as the cities baseball team the Orioles, for years. The franchise’s lobbying of the city had fallen on deaf ears every time.

Memorial Stadium was the home of the Baltimore Colts

After the Colts left for Indianapolis, the city of Baltimore tried several times to bring a team back. Rumour has it that then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue played a large part in influencing the votes, in a negative way for Baltimore, whenever an opportunity came up for the city to get a new team. It has been claimed that he and his longtime friend Jack Kent Cooke, who owned the Washington Redskins, didn’t want a team in Baltimore due to it’s proximity to Washington D.C.

During the 1995 NFL expansion, Baltimore had been thought of as a favourite to get one of the two proposed teams, with Charlotte, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida being the other candidates. Jacksonville actually pulled out of the running, leaving Baltimore and Charlotte looking like definites to get a team each. The commissioner, Tagliabue, is said to have stepped in again and persuaded Jacksonville to re-enter the running, which they did, and they ended up being awarded a franchise along with Charlotte, North Carolina. Surely something stinks when a city that’s not sure they even want a franchise beats out a city that’s desperate to have one?

 

1995 Hall of Fame game between the two new expansion teams - Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers

Baltimore Finally Gets Its Team

The city did finally get its team, after its many years of failed attempts, when Art Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, was seemingly struggling financially and couldn’t get help from the city of Cleveland to allow for the needed improvements to their home venue, the Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Sounds familiar.

In 1996 the Browns moved to Baltimore to became the Ravens and, finally, their legacy could begin. Despite this being a relocation of a franchise, the Ravens are considered to be an expansion team as all the official history and records as well as the name, uniforms and team colours would remain in Cleveland with a promise from the league that the city of Cleveland would have an expansion team by no later than 1999.

For the first couple of seasons, the Ravens played at the old stadium of the long since departed Colts – Memorial Stadium but soon moved into the new purpose built stadium of their own.

Rivalries

The Pittsburgh Steelers are considered to be the biggest rivals of the Baltimore Ravens as they play in the same division – AFC North – and meet twice during the regular season. Both teams have a reputation for playing hard, aggressive football and the games between them are usually close affairs. They often meet in the playoffs as well as both have been successful over recent years.

Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens ready to clash in the trenches.

Due to the way the Baltimore Colts were shipped out of the city and relocated to Indianapolis during the mid-80’s, there is a rivalry in effect off the pitch by the fans and the organisation rather than the players on it. During their games, when the Ravens are playing at home, the scoreboard and PA announces will not display or mention the Indianapolis Colts by their full name and instead just refer to them as “Indy” or “Colts” or even just “away team”.

Due to the Ravens being born of the Cleveland Browns it could be considered there is a rivalry there. This rivalry has been very lopsided as the new Browns (who returned to the league in 1999) have, basically, been pretty awful and constantly prove to be no competition to the Ravens. Because of this, the Ravens don’t acknowledge any rivalry here, but the Browns fans hate Baltimore for taking their team.

Cleveland Browns fans protest the news that their team will be moving to Baltimore.

Outside of their AFC North division, the Ravens have a rivalry with the New England Patriots. This is due to them meeting often in recent seasons during regular and post-season games. These games have had some controversy and are always hard fought close football showcases.

I will continue with my series on the Baltimore Ravens with a look at their new stadium as well as their Super Bowl history, their logo and uniforms and some legends of the franchise.

Be sure to check back as I will be doing this for all the teams who’ll be playing at Wembley or Twickenham stadiums in the NFL London 2017 series of regular season games.