Baltimore Ravens Team History
an 11-year absence, pro football returned to Baltimore, Md.
in 1996 in the form of the new Baltimore Ravens."This is
a new beginning and a new era for us," Ravens owner Art
Modell told fans at the team naming ceremony.
With fans playing an integral role, the selection of the nickname
"Ravens" was inspired by the poetry of former Baltimore
resident, Edgar Allan Poe. From a list of more than 100 possible
nicknames presented by NFL Properties, club executives narrowed
the list to 17. Focus groups of 200 people from the Baltimore
area trimmed the list to six. A telephone survey of 1,000 fans
shortened the list to Ravens, Marauders and Americans. Fans
were then invited to participate in a phone-in poll conducted
by the Baltimore Sun. Of 33,288 voters, nearly two-thirds (21,108)
"Ravens gives us a strong nickname that is not common to
teams at any level, and it gives one that means something historically
to this community," Modell stressed.
Although the team does indeed bring "a new era" of
pro football to Baltimore, many of the on-the-field "growing
pains" a new team typically endures may be escaped by the
Ravens. A veteran team that had already played as a unit, the
Ravens hired head coach Ted Marchibroda. The popular veteran
coach was head coach of the Baltimore Colts from 1975 to 1979.
In his first year at the Colts' helm, Marchibroda took a club
that had posted a 2-12 mark in 1974 and engineered the then
greatest seasonal turnaround in NFL history by producing a 10-4
record in 1975. The turnaround was the first time in league
annals that a team moved from last to first in one season.
The Ravens wasted no time earning their first victory in franchise
history. In their inaugural regular season game, the Ravens
defeated the Oakland Raiders, 19-14, on September 1, 1996. A
Memorial Stadium record crowd of 64,124 witnessed the historic
Under the direction of Ozzie Newsome, General Manager &
Executive Vice President of Player Personnel, the team built
a solid foundation on offense and defense through free agency
and the draft.
Then in 1999, the team hired long-time NFL assistant coach Brian
Billick to handle the coaching reins. In just his second season,
Billick, helped by a defense that allowed the fewest amount
of points during a season in NFL history, guided the Ravens
to a thrilling 34-7 victory in Super Bowl XXXV.