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September,01,2014 M&T Bank Stadium (Football)
Based in Baltimore , Maryland , the Baltimore Ravens are a professional American football team and they compete in the AFC North Division of the National Football League. On November 6, 1995, Art Modell, the then owner of the Cleveland Browns, announced his plan to move the team to Baltimore . Because of his large amount of debt and the inadequacy of the Cleveland Stadium, he believed this to be the best decision. Representatives of Cleveland and the NFL reached a settlement on February 8, 1996 and it stated that the Cleveland Browns' name, colors, and history of the franchise were to stay in Cleveland . A 'reactivated' Cleveland Browns team would then begin play in 1999, while Modell's 'relocated' club would technically and legally be an expansion team, called the Ravens. However, some still consider the Ravens and the pre-1995 Browns organization as one continuous unit. The 1999 season showed a noticeable improvement, especially when quarterback Tony Banks came to Baltimore from the St. Louis Rams and had the best season of his career with 17 touchdown passes and an 81.2 pass rating.
The 2000 season started strong with a 5-1 record but then the team struggled through the mid-season and at one point they went five games without scoring an offensive touchdown. However, the Ravens regrouped and won each of their last seven games, and finished the regular season 12-4 and made the playoffs for the first time. The Ravens played in the wild card round and defeated the Denver Broncos 21-3 in their first game. In the divisional playoff, they squared off against Tennessee and won 24-10 which put the Ravens in the AFC Championship against the Oakland Raiders which they won easily, 16-3. Baltimore then went to Tampa for Super Bowl XXXV where they faced off against the New York Giants. The game was also dominated by the Ravens. They recorded four sacks and forced five turnovers. The Ravens became champions with a 34-7 win, and became only the third wild card team in history to win a Super Bowl championship. They also broke other records during the 2000 season. The Ravens defense held opposing teams to 165 total points and the team had 187 points for a 16 game season, both new records.
However, the following few seasons proved to be difficult for the Ravens as they were not able to advance to the playoffs in 2004 and 2005. The 2006 season started off much better when the Baltimore Ravens began, for the first time in franchise history, with a record of 4-0. In fact, the Ravens ended the regular season with a franchise best, a 13-3 record. The Ravens were set to face off against the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the playoffs. It was the first meeting of the two teams and the fans saw this match up as a sort of "Judgment Day" with the new team of Baltimore facing the old team of Baltimore . In one of the most bizarre playoff games in NFL history, both Baltimore and Indianapolis could only score field goals as the two defenses battled it out. The Ravens lost, 15-6, and the Colts went on to win the Super Bowl.
In 2007, the Ravens finished the season with a record of 5-11 and they are looking to improve on that record in 2008. Head Coach Brian Billick was fired after the less than impressive 2007 season and John Harbaugh was hired as the new head coach. Harbaugh looks to bring a tougher attitude and a much firmer grip to a team that, in recent years, rarely seemed unified. In addition to a new head coach, there have been many other changes to the Ravens team. Quarterback Steve McNair retired which leaves the Ravens without a legitimate starter. Joe Flacco was drafted as the new quarterback but he has yet to be tested on the big stage of the NFL. Pro Bowl left tackle Jonathan Ogden, a longtime anchor of the Baltimore offensive line who has suffered through many injuries, retired as well.
One can only expect some growing pains with the Ravens as Harbaugh tries to build a roster with older veterans and new young players. The AFC North is up for grabs but the Ravens will need many things to go right for them to advance.
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