What are the best moments for each NFL franchise? Yahoo Sports provides our opinion, which you are free to disagree with (and we’re sure you will).
5. Art Modell moves the Browns to Baltimore
Not so affectionately referred to as “The Move” by Cleveland fans, Browns owner Art Modell unceremoniously announced his intention to move the franchise to Baltimore during the 1995 season. Officially regarded as an expansion team by the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens began play in 1996. This moment makes our list, as it was the decision by Modell to move the team out of Cleveland that started the era of the Baltimore Ravens and paved the way for two Super Bowls and counting.
4. Mile High Miracle
Trailing the Denver Broncos by seven points in the fourth quarter with 40 seconds to play in the 2012 AFC divisional round, Joe Flacco connected with Jacoby Jones down the sideline on a 70-yard touchdown pass, a play that came to be known as the “Mile High Miracle.” The Ravens would go on to win the game in double overtime thanks to a Justin Tucker field goal. A few weeks later, the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers to claim their second Super Bowl victory, something that wouldn’t have happened without Flacco to Jones.
3. Jamal Lewis runs for 295 yards
Before facing the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 14, 2003, running back Jamal Lewis said that if he were given the ball 30 times he would break the single-game rushing record. Lewis was not wrong. On the back of an 82-yard run on the second play of the game, Lewis rushed for 118 yards in the first quarter alone. He would finish the day with 295 yards on 30 carries, breaking the single-game record of 278 yards held by Corey Dillon in 2000. And it could have been a lot more, had a 60-yard touchdown run in the first quarter not been called back for a holding penalty. The record would stand for four years until Adrian Peterson broke it by one yard in 2007. Lewis would finish the season with 2,066 yards, becoming just the fifth person in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season.
2. One draft, two Hall of Famers
Following their move from Cleveland, Baltimore was set to participate in their first draft as the Ravens in 1996. They had no team colors or logo yet, but they did have two first-round picks. Heading their personnel department was Hall of Fame player Ozzie Newsome, who drafted not just one but two of the cornerstones of the Ravens franchise. With the fourth overall pick, Newsome picked offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden out of UCLA. Ogden would be the cornerstone of the Ravens’ offensive line for over a decade. He earned 11 trips to the Pro Bowl, four first-team All-Pro selections and in 2013 was a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 2013. But Newsome wasn’t done. With the 26th overall pick he selected Lewis out of Miami. Just like Ogden, Lewis was a force, collecting over 2,000 tackles in his 17-year career. A 13-time Pro Bowler, 7-time First-Team All-Pro, and 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, Lewis helped lead the Ravens to two Super Bowl titles and will undoubtedly be another first-ballot Hall of Famer when the 2018 class is announced. That 1996 draft, on the night of April 20, set the Baltimore Ravens up for more than a decade of success. Newsome would go on to be named the general manager of the Ravens in 2002, becoming the first African-American to occupy the position in the NFL.
1. The best defense of all-time
Led by Ray Lewis and what many consider to be the greatest defense of all-time, the Ravens captured their first championship, defeating the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV. The 27-point margin is tied for the seventh largest in Super Bowl history. Becoming just the third wild card team to win the Super Bowl, the Ravens held the Giants offense to 152 total yards, the third-lowest total ever in a Super Bowl. In fact, all 16 of New York’s offensive possessions ended in punts or interceptions. The historic Ravens defense recorded four sacks and five turnovers, as Ray Lewis became only the second linebacker to be named Super Bowl MVP.