This past season was historic for the Baltimore Ravens. They peaked at the right time en route to winning the Lombardi Trophy, which is one of the greatest things to happen in Baltimore sports history. It’s arguably at the top.
One could make the argument that during the last five years, this team might have been the weakest the Ravens have fielded. It speaks to the character and will that the team had as a collective whole. As the Ravens won it all, I think between the 2000 Ravens and 2012 Ravens, this one is much more exciting because of the path the Ravens had to take on their way to a Super Bowl XLVII victory.
But nobody should lose sight of the fact that the Ravens won in a way that was out of character. They won with a defense that underachieved. If anyone would have told you before the season started that the Ravens would be the NFL’s No. 17th ranked defense, you would have said the Ravens have some tough sledding ahead. I would have said the same thing.
Defense is what this team’s foundation has been for years. Joe Flacco is coming into his own as an NFL quarterback, and is nothing short of greatness, just in time as Ray Lewis retires. But when all is said and done, this team has the pedigree of being a physical group.
Flacco and the offense stepping up in the playoffs gives Ravens fans assurance that it can be relied upon, something we have not seen since the days of Vinny Testaverde quarterbacking the franchise.
The offense, which has become a stable unit, should not overlook what the Ravens are all about. Sometimes, in sports, teams are able to create an identity that resembles a person. It’s like a person being someone they are not when they go the opposite direction. Certain teams are built on high scoring offense and some are built on defense, like Baltimore. It’s like a person being someone they are not.
Now that is not to say Flacco isn’t capable of handling the job as the leader of the team. He is more than ready to be the leader of the team. This is a time for the team to know what it is evolving into and to let the offense grow into its foundation.
You know, all those years pundits outside of Baltimore saying, “What would the Ravens be if they had an offense to go with their defense all those years?”
Looks like those pundits are going to get his or her wish.