Key dates in Baltimore Ravens history


Nov. 6, 1995: Browns owner Art Modell, angry with Cleveland city officials over the failure to approve a new football stadium, says he can't stay financially afloat in Cleveland and announces his intention to move the franchise to Baltimore for the 1996 season. Design work again begins on a football-only stadium to be built at Camden Yards.

Dec. 24, 1995: The Browns finish the season with a 5-11 record after a 24-21 loss to Jacksonville. The team loses 10 of its last 12 games, including seven of eight after reports of the team's move surface.

1996   Football returns to Baltimore | Photos

Feb. 9, 1996: NFL owners approve the franchise's move to Baltimore.

Feb. 15, 1996: Ted Marchibroda, who had coached the Indianapolis Colts to the AFC championship game in 1995 and who coached the Baltimore Colts for five seasons in the 1970s, is named new coach of the Baltimore franchise.

March 29, 1996: The team is officially named Ravens after a telephone poll conducted by The Sun. Of 33,288 votes, 21,108 pick Ravens, 5,597 choose Americans and 5,583 select Marauders.

April 20, 1996: The Ravens conduct their first NFL draft. Their top selections include offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and linebacker Ray Lewis (both first round), cornerback DeRon Jenkins (second) and wide receiver Jermaine Lewis (fifth).

June 3, 1996: Final design begins for a 68,000-seat, football-only stadium at Camden Yards. Excavating begins soon after, clearing industrial areas and parking lots south of Oriole Park, including the nightclub Hammerjacks.

July 15, 1996: Groundbreaking takes place at the stadium site. Excavation of the area would take until November to complete. The hole dug is 800 feet wide, 900 feet long and 18 feet deep.

July 19, 1996: The Ravens begin their first training camp at Western Maryland College in Westminster, where the Baltimore Colts held camp from 1949 to '71.

Sept. 1, 1996: The Ravens win their first game, 19-14, over the Oakland Raiders in the regular-season opener before 64,124 at Memorial Stadium.

Oct. 27, 1996: Vinny Testaverde throws a 22-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jackson with 10 seconds left in overtime as the Ravens defeat the St. Louis Rams, 37-31, at Memorial Stadium and raise their record to 3-5.

Nov. 24, 1996: The Jacksonville Jaguars defeat the Ravens, 28-25, on a field goal with 5: 54 left in overtime at Memorial Stadium. It was the Ravens' second loss to Jacksonville and their fourth overall, dropping their record to 3-9.

Dec. 12, 1996: Quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who would finish the season with 4,177 passing yards and 33 touchdowns, is named to his first Pro Bowl.

Dec. 22, 1996: The Ravens end their first season in Baltimore with a 24-21 loss to the Houston Oilers at Memorial Stadium. The team finishes 4-12 and has the worst defense in the NFL.

1997   Ravens show improvement in second season | Photos

April 1997: Steel construction begins at the stadium site.

April 19, 1997: The Ravens participate in the second NFL draft. Their top picks include linebacker Peter Boulware (first round), linebacker Jamie Sharper and safety Kim Herring (second) and running back Jay Graham (third).

May 15, 1997: Cranes begin to place the large concrete busts of the seating deck as the stadium bowl begins to take form.

July 9, 1997: Work begins on the stadium's brick facade. Owner Art Modell and offensive linemen Orlando Brown and Wally Williams help lay the first brick. More than 100 bricklayers would use 1.2 million bricks to build the facade.

July 14, 1997: Ravens begin their second training camp in Westminster, as the team steadily begins to get its own identity. Free agents Tony Siragusa and Michael McCrary are signed to help shore up the defensive line. Of the 80 players reporting for camp, only 18 are former Browns. One player missing is holdout Peter Boulware, the club's first-round pick.

Aug. 16, 1997: Just before a preseason game in Philadelphia, the Ravens announce they have agreed to terms with Boulware on a six-year contract worth $18.5 million, including a $6 million signing bonus. Boulware does not play against the Eagles.

Aug. 31, 1997: The Ravens open their second season with a 28-27 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars before 61,018 at Memorial Stadium. The team had rallied from a 14-0 deficit to tie, but the comeback ended in the final minute when Vinny Testaverde's fourth-down pass to Michael Jackson was ruled a trap.

Sept. 8, 1997: Workers begin outfitting the new stadium's locker rooms and other basement features.

Sept. 21, 1997: The Ravens defeat the Tennessee Oilers, 36-10, in Memphis, Tenn., to win their third straight game and improve to 3-1.

Oct. 5, 1997: The Ravens blow a 21-point lead and lose, 42-34, to the Pittsburgh Steelers in what many call the low point of the season.

Oct. 10, 1997: Workers begin to outfit the suite and club areas of the new stadium.

Oct. 29, 1997: The Maryland Stadium Authority approves the contract for the purchase of high-tech video scoreboards, measuring 24 feet by 100 feet -- the biggest in sports. The price: $8.7 million.

Dec. 11, 1997: Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden is named to his first Pro Bowl as a starter. He is joined by fellow second-year player Ray Lewis, who would lead the NFL with 210 tackles. Lewis was selected as an alternate and would play in the game.

Dec. 14, 1997: The Ravens edge Tennessee, 21-19, before a sellout crowd of 60,558 in the final NFL game at Memorial Stadium. Several ceremonies are held at the game, including salutes to former Baltimore Colts and members of the Armed Forces.

Dec. 21, 1997: The Ravens lose, 16-14, to the Bengals in Cincinnati to end their season with a 6-9-1 record, including 1-4-1 in games decided in the last quarter.

1998   New stadium opens at Camden Yards | Photos

Jan. 1, 1998: The first seat is installed at the new stadium. Over the course of the next seven months, more than 69,000 purple, plastic-molded seats would be attached to the seating bowl, and on each isle is the bust of a Ravens logo. Also, the first air-conditioning units are installed into the suite and press levels.

Jan. 12, 1998: Running back Bam Morris, the team's leading rusher in 1996 and '97, is given a 120-day jail sentence in Rockwall, Texas, for violating terms of his probation for a 1996 marijuana possession conviction.

Jan. 27, 1998: After an eight-hour meeting among front-office personnel, coaches and scouts, the team announces it will not re-sign Morris. The team says instead that it is might pursue 37-year-old quarterback Jim Kelly.

Feb. 14, 1998: The Ravens acquire quarterback Jim Harbaugh from the Indianapolis Colts, swapping their third- and fourth-round draft picks in 1998 for Harbaugh and the Colts' fourth-round '98 pick.

Feb. 17, 1998: The Ravens trade a third-round pick in the 1999 draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for running back Errict Rhett.

Feb. 20, 1998: Seventy-thousand square feet of SportGrass, a blend of synthetic and real Bermuda grass, begins to be pulled out of Memorial Stadium and placed onto the Memorial Stadium parking lot. The grass would be transplanted to the new stadium, saving the project $1 million by using the same turf.

Feb. 20, 1998: Five-time All-Pro cornerback Rod Woodson, after being released by the San Francisco 49ers, agrees with the Ravens on a four-year deal worth $11.5 million, including a $3 million signing bonus.

Feb. 26, 1998: Free-agent fullback Roosevelt Potts agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens, after stints with the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

April 18, 1998: The Ravens' conduct their third NFL draft, selecting cornerback Duane Starks with the 10th overall pick and wide receiver Patrick Johnson in the third round.

May 9, 1998: Three hundred people try out for the Ravens' first cheerleading squad at Towson Center. After two days of tryouts, the field is narrowed to a 20-person stunt team and a 22-person dance team.

June 2, 1998: After months of speculation that he would be released, quarterback Vinny Testaverde is waived by the Ravens before the start of minicamp.

June 13, 1998: One-hundred thousand square feet of SportGrass is laid at the new stadium, more than half of it taken from Memorial Stadium.

June 15, 1998: The Ravens conduct a dry run of the new stadium's scoreboard, playing the movie "Space Jam" across one side and Ravens season highlights across the other.

June 26, 1998: Workers begin the process of aiming 612 field lights on the light towers.

June 27, 1998: The Ravens send 60 of their 2,000 game-day personnel to the Disney Institute in Orlando, Fla., to take a crash course in guest service.

July 4, 1998: The Baltimore Colts' Band makes one of its final appearances under that name at area Fourth of July parades. The band would change its name to Baltimore's Marching Ravens on Aug. 8.

July 14, 1998: The Ravens' organization moves into the new stadium's offices.

July 15, 1998: More than 600 fans participate in a "Super Flush" at the new stadium. As a test of the septic system, fans flush and run the stadium's 1,074 toilets and 668 sinks simultaneously twice. The event receives national attention.

July 21, 1998: The Ravens begin their third training camp in Westminster. First-round pick Duane Starks and center Wally Williams are holdouts.

July 21, 1998: A final census is completed, showing the stadium has 69,426 seats, about 1,000 more than planned. The discrepancy is due to variations in construction.

July 30, 1998: The stadium is unveiled to the public for the first time, as a crowd of 36,016 shows up for an open house. Ravens players also test out the facility, conducting an hourlong practice.

Aug. 5, 1998: First-round pick Duane Starks, after a two-week holdout, signs a four-year contract worth $7 million.

Aug. 8, 1998: The Ravens play their first preseason game at the new stadium, gaining 197 rushing yards en route to a 19-14 victory over the Chicago Bears before a crowd of 65,938

Sept. 5, 1998: The new NFL Stadium at Camden Yards was the backdrop for an opening gala that included fireworks, a Stevie Wonder/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert and a spectacular laser show.

Sept. 6, 1998: The Ravens opened their new NFL Stadium in downtown Baltimore before a host of dignitaries, a packed house and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens lost, 20-13.

Nov. 29, 1998: The Colts returned to Baltimore for the first time since 1983. The Ravens overcame two 14-point deficits and scored 25 second-half points to win a 38-31 thriller.

1999   Billick era begins in Baltimore | Photos

Jan. 26, 1999: PSINet Inc., the first and largest independent commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP), announced an innovative partnership with the Ravens to develop a global Internet-based network for the Ravens that will significantly enhance outreach between fans and the team, as well as establish a new business model for sports marketing. Under the 20-year agreement, the NFL's new downtown stadium at Camden Yards was named PSINet Stadium.

Jan. 30, 1999: Ravens' Vice President of Player Personnel Ozzie Newsome was selected to go into Pro Football's Hall of Fame, along with Lawrence Taylor, Eric Dickerson, Tom Mack and Billy Shaw. Newsome is the NFL's all-time leading tight end in pass receptions.

Feb. 4, 1999: Art Modell, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Baltimore Ravens, named David Modell as the Ravens' President and Chief Operating Officer and John Modell as Vice President of Special Projects.

Sept. 12, 1999: Brian Billick's debut as head coach was spoiled in the regular season opener, as the St. Louis Rams defeated the Ravens 27-10 in the TransWorld Dome. Little known QB Kurt Warner, who went on to become the league's MVP, threw three TD passes in his first NFL start.

Sept. 26, 1999: Billick notched his first win as an NFL head coach, 17-10, over the expansion Cleveland Browns. Stoney Case started at quarterback, replacing Scott Mitchell.

2000   Ravens savor Super Bowl victory | Photos

March 27, 2000: NFL owners approved the sale of 49 percent of the Ravens for $275 million to Anne Arundel County business executive Stephen Bisciotti. Bisciotti has an option to purchase the remaining 51 percent for $325 million in 2004.

2001   History fails to repeat itself | Photos

Jan. 28, 2001: The Ravens defeated the New York Giants, 34-7, to capture their first-ever World Championship in Super Bowl XXXV played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Ray Lewis was named Super Bowl MVP and only Ron Dixon's 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown averted a shutout for the Giants. A Super Bowl record was set when three touchdowns were scored in a span of 36 seconds, including Duane Starks' 49-yard interception return and Jermaine Lewis' 84-yard kickoff return.

Jan. 30, 2001: Over 200,000 people turned out on a cold, gray, rainy day to attend Baltimore's Ravens Victory Parade. "This is the thrill of my life," exclaimed owner Art Modell.

July/August 2001: The Ravens opened training camp as defending World Champions under the scrutiny of the entire nation, as HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Baltimore Ravens" debuted with the Ravens as the feature team.

2002   Ravens get glimpse of their future | Photos

May 15, 2002: The Ravens and McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College) announced a three-year contract extension to keep Ravens training camp in Westminster, MD through the 2004 season. The team has trained at the Westminster campus since the 1996 inaugural season.

Nov. 25, 2002: Ozzie Newsome named general manager of the team, becoming the first black GM in the NFL.

2003   Ravens return to playoffs | Photos

May 5, 2003: Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T Bank buys naming rights to Ravens Stadium for 15 years.

2004   High hopes end in major disappointment | Photos

April 3, 2004: Ravens and McDaniel College announce the team will hold its training camp at the Westminster campus through 2010.

April 9, 2004: Steve Bisciotti takes over as team's principal owner, completing the purchase with $325 million. Former owner Art Modell retains 1 percent of club.

April 13, 2004: Ravens name Dick Cass team president, replacing David Modell.

July 28, 2004: Brian Billick, team agree to multi-year contract extension.

Oct. 2004: Ravens move into a new $31-million training complex in Owings Mills. The state-of-the-art facility sits on 32 acres and features three outdoor football fields, the NFL's largest weight room, 32-inch high-definition televisions in nearly every room and a full-length indoor practice field.

--Additional information provided by the Baltimore Ravens

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