PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
Are the 2000 Ravens really the best ever?
Fans almost voted them as such.
In NFL Bracketology, the Ravens went up against the 1976 Raiders for the title of The Greatest Team of All Time.
Brian Billick Thinks Ravens Should Win
The vote closed at 5 p.m. Friday with NFL.com showing a 50/50 split. The league announced it was counting the votes by hand.
The final tally had the Raiders ahead with 50.4 percent of the vote compared to 49.6 percent for the Ravens.
Baltimore’s defensive bullies muscled their way past a number of top teams, however.
The Ravens were given a No. 9 seed in the Don Shula bracket by the oddsmakers.
They first polished off the 2001 New England Patriots with 67 percent of the vote. Then they colossally upset the only team to ever complete a full undefeated season, the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Miami justifiably had a No. 1 seed, and the Ravens won with 52 percent of the vote.
The 2000 Ravens took out the 1991 Washington Redskins in the third round (65 percent). They got John Elway and the 1998 Denver Broncos in the quarterfinals (51 percent). They bumped Joe Montana and the 1984 San Francisco 49ers in the semis (62 percent).
The Ravens had arguably the greatest defense of all time, led by Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis, safety Rod Woodson, defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, linebacker Peter Boulware, defensive end Michael McCrary and more. The list of defensive stars goes on and on.
If they were to win the vote, it would be a clear sign that the public views Baltimore’s defense as the best ever because it clearly led that team. The Ravens’ offense went five games without scoring a touchdown during the regular season.
But they came out of that as a different, special team says former Ravens kicker Matt Stover.
“What most people don’t realize is that the mantra on the team was to play to our strengths,” Stover told BaltimoreRavens.com Friday.
“We identified during the course of our drought where our strengths were. Trent Dilfer managed the offense well. Brian Billick managed the offense. We had a clear identity and we rallied around it. We knew who we were.”
Wide receiver Qadry Ismail got in on the debate as well.
“The 76 Raiders, no offense to them, but head to head they wouldn’t get a lick on our defense,” he said. “I think we’d be strong enough to run it down their throat and we’d still get big plays. This is easy.”