March 29, 1996 is a day that Baltimore football fans should never forget.
On that cloudy Friday morning, the Baltimore Sun released the results of a poll taken by fans to decide the name of the city’s new football team.
In an landslide vote, fans from around the state opted to name the franchise the Baltimore “Ravens.” The name beat out two other finalist candidates – the Marauders and the Americans.
“This is a good way for all of Baltimore to get involved in the selection process, for the fans to help us,” said team owner Art Modell in an interview with the Baltimore Sun on the eve of the fans’ vote.
The Sun reported that over a three-day period, over 14,249 fans called into Sundial, The Sun’s phone-in service, to vote on the poll. It was a new Sundial record, the previous of which had been set over a three-day period in 1993, when fans were polled to name a potential expansion NFL team.
The name that won in 1993? Ravens.
“We wanted to generate a name that would be instantly recognizable and appreciated by the fans and we wanted it to have a historical tie to the community and exemplify the team,” stated David Modell, the team’s marketing chief, who coordinated the name selection to the Baltimore Sun following the vote.
Named for a mysterious bird in a poem by Baltimore’s own Edgar Allen Poe, the Raven seemed like a perfect fit. While the other top names in the poll were significant to the Baltimore area, none captured the hearts and imaginations of Charm City like “Ravens.”
Long live the Ravens.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
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