Written by: Peter Coolbaugh
The Baltimore Ravens as a franchise are over the .500 mark dating back to 1996. Not a lot of professional teams can say that they are in the black in terms of wins.
Looking back on the past decade, the one thing that the Ravens are known for around the league, aside from defense, was the inability to keep the franchise moving in the same direction. Credit Brian Billick for getting the city back on the map by winning Super Bowl XXXV in only his second season, but also blame him for failing to keep the ship going steadily in the same direction. Look below at Billick's record:
2000 (12-4) - won Super Bowl
2001 (10-6) - lost to Steelers in 2nd round of playoffs
2003 (10-6) - lost to Titans in wild card round
2006 (13-3) - lost to Colts in playoffs after 1st round bye
The man did win a Super Bowl with the greatest defense of the modern era, but how many more titles could we have won had he not been the coach? The pattern of ping-ponging back and forth from a good team to a lousy one got old fast. The core of the Ravens had basically been the same over several years (aside from the revolving QBs), so why is it that this franchise did not accomplish more?
This is where my jealousy of Pittsburgh really rises. They are the model of consistent winning in the NFL. How many AFC title games have they been too? How many playoff appearances have they had? While I certainly do not like that team, I do respect them for their ability to always be in the hunt.
The questions of what might have been will always linger. Should we have kept Dilfer? Should Billick have been canned sooner? As we move forward in the off season and reflect on a wonderful 2008 squad, we should be proud of our beloved franchise and use the mistakes of the past as motivation for the future.
Most of us expect to be in the playoffs next year too, which is certainly attainable. Kudos to Mr. Biscotti, the front office, and Coach Harbaugh for turning a 5-11 team and a depressed fan base into happy campers.
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