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Ravens year by year

Breaking down the team's first nine seasons

By Brent Jones

Sun Staff

September 11, 2005

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1996
Record: 4-12-0
Finish: 5th in AFC Central
Playoffs: Did not qualify

Exciting but unsuccessful football returns to Baltimore. The Ravens win their inaugural game against the Oakland Raiders. Vinny Testaverde throws for 4,177 yards and 33 touchdowns but produces just four wins.

1997
Record: 6-9-1
Finish: 5th in AFC Central
Playoffs: Did not qualify

Strong start and finish but little in between. The Ravens win three of their first four and two of their last three but register just one win in October and November. Linebacker Peter Boulware, the eventual franchise leader in sacks, is named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

1998
Record: 6-10-0
Finish: 3rd in AFC Central
Playoffs: Did not qualify

Coach Ted Marchibroda's final season produces a 1,000-yard rusher in the undrafted Priest Holmes. A three-game losing streak in December seals Marchibroda's fate and has the organization planning to hire a new coach toward the end of the year.

1999
Record: 8-8-0
Finish: 3rd in AFC Central
Playoffs: Did not qualify

Offensive guru Brian Billick arrives and goes through three quarterbacks, none of whom is a long-term answer. The team wins four of its last five games, and the defense starts to take form, allowing only two touchdowns in its final three games.

2000
Record: 12-4-0
Finish: 2nd in AFC Central
Playoffs: Won Super Bowl

The team shocks the NFL by winning the Super Bowl, setting a league record for allowing the fewest points (165) in a 16-game season. The Ravens win their final 11 games, giving up only one defensive touchdown throughout the playoffs.

2001
Record: 10-6-0
Finish: 2nd in AFC Central
Playoffs: Lost in 2nd round

Quarterback Elvis Grbac is signed to a lucrative contract to replace Trent Dilfer, but he lasts just the season. The champions lose Jamal Lewis to injury in training camp and Holmes to free agency, leaving the running game to Terry Allen, who proves to be past his prime.

2002
Record: 7-9-0
Finish: 3rd in AFC North
Playoffs: Did not qualify

A salary cap purge results in the demise of the Super Bowl team. The Ravens are the youngest team in NFL history but still make a spirited run at the playoffs before dropping the final two games. Linebacker Ray Lewis misses most of the season with a shoulder injury.

2003
Record: 10-6-0
Finish: 1st in AFC North
Playoffs: Lost in 1st round

The Ravens win their first division title. Rookie Kyle Boller is named quarterback, beating out Chris Redman in a training camp competition, but he gets hurt in his ninth game and doesn't play the rest of the season after Anthony Wright proves capable. Jamal Lewis rushes for 2,066 yards, second most for a season all time.

2004
Record: 9-7-0
Finish: 2nd in AFC North
Playoffs: Did not qualify

This is perhaps the most disappointing season in franchise history. The team talks Super Bowl before the season but fails to develop a passing game. Heavily criticized offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh isn't retained after six seasons.