The Baltimore Ravens are the second youngest franchise in the NFL. In 2016 they’ll play their 21st season. Barely old enough to gamble, and finally get rid of that vertical driver’s license.
But, in that time span, they’ve done more than some franchise’s that have been playing since the early stages of pro football. Kind of like real life. The Ravens are sort of like Mark Zukerberg, or some other college dropout who created a website or smartphone app and became a millionaire, while your sixty-five year old uncle, who is the family clown, still can’t figure out how to adult while on marriage number three.
The Ravens have won two Super Bowls (XXXV, XLVII), 4 AFC North division titles, and made the playoffs 10 times. As you see, very well accomplished since they returned pro football back to “Charm City” after late team owner Art Modell moved them from Cleveland, Ohio. The Ravens have been known as a defensive first franchise their entire existence, and have had several all time greats to lead them. That’s why unlike most of the expansion franchise in my Mount Rushmore exercise, this one wasn’t as difficult to compile. So, here is my Mount Rushmore for the Baltimore Ravens. By the way, as a Steelers fan, it made me sick to do this because these guys have on more than one occasion made many a fall Sunday’s extremely frustrating.
- No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
- Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
- Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.
Ray Lewis (1996-2012) is a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer–he’ll be eligible in 2018–and is the Ravens all-time career leader in tackles (1,562), and was the driving force behind the franchise two Super Bowl tiles (XXXV, XLVII), winning MVP of Super Bowl XXXV. Lewis is also the Ravens career leader in fumble recoveries (20), 2nd in forced fumbles (19) and interceptions (31). #52 in black and purple holds the NFL record for most Pro Bowls for a Linebacker with 13, is tied with Lawrence Taylor for most All-Pro selections for a Linebacker with 10, and collected the most tackles in a single postseason with 51. He was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2000, 2003), a 13-time Pro Bowler, 7-time 1st-team All-Pro, 3-time 2nd-team All-Pro, 3-time AFC Defensive Player of the year (2000, 2001, 2003), 2-time NFL Alumni Linebacker of the Year (1999, 2003), and a member of the NFL’s 2000’s All-Decade team. He was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2013.
Ed Reed (2002-2012), is the Ravens career leader in interceptions (61), defensive touchdowns (7), and holds the NFL records for most career interception return yards (1,590), longest interception return (108 yards) and tied for 1st with 9 career postseason interceptions. Reed is a 9-time Pro Bowl selection, 5-time 1st-team All-Pro, 3-time 2nd-team All-Pro, 2004 AP NFL & AFC Defensive Player of the Year, 2-time NFL Alumni Defensive Back of the Year, 3 times he led the NFL in interceptions and twice led in interception return yards. He’s a member of the NFL’s 2000 All-Decade team and was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2015.
Jonathan Ogden (1996-2007) was the first ever pick in the franchise history and a key member of the Super Bowl XXXV winning team protecting the blind side for mediocre QBs, while opening up holes for a record setting running back. He’s an 11-time Pro Bowler, 5-time 1st-team All-Pro, 4-time 2nd-team All-Pro, 2002 NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year, and a member of the 2000’s All-Decade team. Ogden was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2008, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
Jamaal Lewis (2000-2006) is Baltimore’s all-time leader in rushing yards (7,801), rushing attempts (1,822) and rushing touchdowns (45), and he did that with very inconsistent quarterback play. Jamaal Lewis was the tone setter on offense the way Ray Lewis was for the defensive unit. Jamaal was the only offensive threat on the Ravens Super Bowl XXXV winning team, and for his entire 6 seasons he played there. He made the Pro Bowl in 2003, the same season in which he won NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year, NFL Alumni Running Back of the Year and AFC Player of the Year. He’s a member of the 2000’s All-Decade team, and a member of the 2,000 rushing yards (2,066) in a single season club (2003). He was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2012.
So there you have it Ravens fans. Let me know what you think. I want to hear your opinion.