Ravens Ring of Honor Needs a Redo

Photo Credit: darkroom.baltimoresun.com
Photo Credit: darkroom.baltimoresun.com

Every time a new inductee to the Ravens Ring of Honor is named it’s like nicking off an elbow scab – again!


Because inevitably the topic of Earnest Byner surfaces and his ridiculous inclusion in the ROH.

Ask casual football fans to talk about former Raven Earnest Byner and they’ll sound like that GEICO owl.


Those who remember Byner remember him as a Redskin or as the guy who fumbled for the Browns. They easily forget his pedestrian two seasons, 947 yards, 4TD’s and 3.9 yards per carry while donning the purple and black. Even Errict Rhett (remember him?) had more career yards as a Raven (1,032) during his two campaigns in Baltimore.

So when your standard is so low, it’s hard to deny fine players like Todd Heap, Michael McCrary, Peter Boulware and Jamal Lewis.

And if you ask me, none of those players belong in the ROH.

Not one!

The ROH should represent players who have Hall of Fame potential, players whose numbers you would consider retiring. Not one of the aforementioned players will ever sniff the hallowed halls in Canton, Ohio unless they buy a ticket.

This isn’t meant to dismiss the accomplishments of these solid retired Ravens (Byner excluded, although he was a very good pro before his arrival in Baltimore).

But if we set the bar so low, in 15 years there will be so many plaques spread across the M&T Bank Stadium façade that they’ll need a new façade or be forced to make the plaques smaller and they certainly won’t be able to double up on each name the way they do now.

There should currently be only four names (and no the Baltimore Colts don’t belong there either) in the ROH: Art Modell, Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis and Matt Stover.

That’s it!

I understand my colleague Andrew Stetka’s argument for Brian Billick’s inclusion but he wouldn’t be in my ROH either. He was a solid but inconsistent coach who at times fueled the asylum instead of managing it and his failure to win a single playoff game between 2002 and 2007 with THAT defense is inexcusable.

Now if you’ll excuse ME, I need to hit the first aid kit.

My elbow is killing me.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

41 Raves on “Ravens Ring of Honor Needs a Redo

  1. Steve Hasler on said:

    The Orioles give out their Herb Armstrong Award to people like Julie Wagner and Chuck Thompson and Ernie Tyler. That puts these honorees in their Hall of Fame but in a category that recognizes off the field contributions.

    Rather that booting Earnest they need to create a special type of award. Perhaps it becomes the OJ Brigance Award someday.

    That doesn’t exactly fix your issue with iffy players making the ROH. I agree about Boulware and McCrary. Longevity needs to come into play. I disagree about Jamal Lewis — he belongs in my book, ahead of Stover in fact. I don’t buy into the idea that Stover is a “Mt Rushmore” guy, I just don’t. He was a good kicker for a long time in a league full of good kickers. He benefits from playing on teams with terrible offenses who couldn’t score touchdowns so he could come in and consistently rack up made field goals from 30-40 yards out. Great guy but no where close to being in the same league as Ray and JO and Reed.

    There, now there’s a better debate.

  2. Dave on said:

    Hey Tony,

    I definitely agree with you on this. Sooner or later we will need another ring around the stadium for all the names that we currently have on the roster, Rice, Flacco, Reed, Suggs.

    Would Torrey also be a candidate in the current ring of honor?

    It’s like the “Elite” talk. If ur a HOF potential then yes. Otherwise no way.

  3. JWS on said:

    TL, It should be hard for anyoneto diaagree with you on these points. The RINGshould be for afew chosen ones not any player that played a feww good years here.

  4. Kevin on Shore on said:

    Tony, I would humbly submit that Ozzie Newsome should be included in a Ravens Ring of Honor, at least once he’s done in the front office.

  5. JayBee on said:

    I do agree that the ROH is diluted in its standards. However I do think it should include players that were great players for the team, that might not have the criteria to get into Canton. I’m not going to argue every players merits, but since this is brought up due to the Heap announcement I’ll give my two cents on him. Heap is still the leading receiver in team History, was on the team for a decade, and in a world without either Gonzalez on the Chiefs and and Gates on the Chargers he would have been the perennial pro bowler from the AFC. Its players that just miss Canton that individual teams HOF players are truly for.

    • Mill on said:

      I agree HOF caliber players have the HOF. Some of the best players in team history would never be honored if HOF induction was the criteria. Lewis and Heap both deserve their spots. For years those two guys were our offense. Can you imagine how much worse those Billick offenses would have been without those guys? The Ravens are not just adding guys on a wimb. Thought goes into it. If every really good Raven was included Cmac would be in. There is something more considered.

  6. Rob on said:

    Thank you Tony. I think this is exactly what I was saying yesterday. This sums up my immediate reaction to the last two entries being J Lewis and Heap. You said it perfectly with it needing a re-do. Great piece as usual.

  7. Scott on said:

    ROH is a perq of team ownership. If the worst thing Biscotti ever does is put Todd Heap in the ROH, I’ll take him over 95% of the NFL owners every time. I loved Todd Heap as a player. It’s not his fault the QBs throwing to him were horrible and the team suffered a number of key injuries during his tenure (particularly 2007). He was probably a top 3 TE during his prime. Perhaps more importantly, he personified the toughness this city identifies with when he would go over the middle, get whacked, then get up and do it again. And again.

  8. Chris on said:

    I agree that it’s probably too late to raise the bar for the Ravens Ring of Honor. One possible fix could be to have some sort of higher, elite group of the RoH. You could call it the Hall of Fame or whatever name you want to attach to it. Limit that to the cream of the crop, only the absolute pinnacle of Baltimore football. At this point the members would include Ray, Art, JO, Stover (in the future Ed and Ozzie) along with the elite Colts such as Johnny Unitas and others. Steve could have a Ravens Hall of Fame room inside the stadium, a memorial to Baltimore’s elite.

  9. BorrowedMan on said:

    Completely agree on almost all points. It’s hard, however, not to love seeing Heap get in. While not HOF worthy, his accomplishments despite having no decent QB until Flacco, love and loyalty to the city/fans, charitable causes, insane sacrifices to his body, and overall character may make him more worthy than any of the other honorees that don’t necessarily belong (Byner, JL, Boul, McC). Again, while not HOF worthy this one guy, we can all likely agree on, may really deserve it for meeting every single ROH criteria over and over again. I don’t think that you essentially have to be HOF worthy to be ROH worthy if that person is as beloved as Heap and checks all the other boxes so easily. Rice would likely be in the exact same category as Heap if it had not been for the obvious. Unless he goes on some run for the next 5 years Rice is not HOF worthy but I am sure he will be in the ROH…will he be as worthy because he is no longer to unanimously loved by every Raven fan? I think Rice is a class act you made a bad mistake but I can see why, at the end of his career, he wont still be as loved by everyone as Heap. I can see why you may want to make an argument against Heap getting in the ROH but I think at the end of the day he is very worthy. I dont want to go just go putting in every player we all just love but I think there exceptions and Heap is one of those.

  10. Steve on said:

    I see your point, Tony, and I could make an agrument to defend it. However, I don’t know if I agree totally. The RAVENS ROH is not the Hall of Fame, and it should consist of players who were special to the fans and the team.

    Boulware, Heap, Jamal, The Colts, McCrary, etc are players who will never sniff the HOF in Canton. Why not preserve their memory in the stadium? I don’t agree with Byner, but Art wanted it. Makes another story to pass along…

    They will likely need to change the design of the signs, and I hope to hell that they continue to have players that are Very Good, and the ring is overflowing by the time I bring my grandkids to the game!

    Just my 2 cents…

  11. Danny P. on said:

    Byner shouldn’t be In the ring of honor. What about Jermaine Lewis? My favorite all time Raven and key player for the Super Bowl run along with Stover. He is one of the greatest late round picks the Ravens ever have had. He had 8000 all purpose yards and 23 TDs. A local guy that developed into a game changer!!! So I say what about 2x All Pro 2xPro Bowler with 5 franchise records Jermaine Lewis 84 WR/KR/PR

  12. Joe Pup on said:

    They might need to make a Ravens Hall of Fame for the elite ravens and keep the Ring of Honor and use it like the Orioles use their Team Hall of Fame. Ravens Hall of Fame would Include Ogden, Lewis and Reed…that’s it for now Suggs maybe

  13. Bill S. on said:

    I disagree that the Baltimore Colts names (John Unitas, Lenny Moore, Jim Parkers, Art Donovan and others) should not be part of the Ring of Honor. They are a part of Baltimore and part of the football lore of Baltimore. If they are not to be part of the ROH, the Ravens should do what the Orioles did and put placques out with their pertinent information (stats) and what they meant to Baltimore. Many of these Baltimore Colts not only made the HOF but they were part of Baltimore (living in the area, working in the area, and being part of the community). There should be some type of recognition for our Baltimore Colts before they get swallowed up by Indianapolis!

  14. Voice of Reason on said:

    The bar was set way too low from the beginning. I have no problem with the Hall of Fame Colts as they represented the first 30 years of Baltimore Football history. After Art Modell, it should only be Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and maybe Matt Stover, but only if he is elected to the Hall of Fame. However, it is water over the bridge now and nothing can be done about it.

  15. jimjim5 on said:

    It’s called the Ring of HONOR. – Not the Ring of Fame, or Ring of Potential Hall of Famers. It honors the contributions that the player or associated organizational person made which affected the team in a positive, honorable way. With that said, I think they all fit except Byner.

  16. Nater on said:

    I agree about the Earnest Byner bit. But Heap SHOULD be in there. He was a monster. He didn’t have inflated just numbers because Kyle Boller checked down a lot. It’s because he would get open. AND he would catch the ball, in traffic, and pick up YAC. Watch some highlight videos of Boller (and Flacco), and you’ll see a lot of these circus catches and one handed grabs of his. If he didn’t have garbage QBs for most of his career, he WOULD have been in consideration for the HOF. Heap belongs in our ring of honor, at the very least.

  17. Tony Bozo on said:

    Almost every team in every sport has a ring of honor that honors it’s local heroes who had a positive impact on the team and/or the community served by the team. Travel to other stadiums and look at their rings of honor. You will probably not recognize many of the names. Because they are important to the local community not necessarily the national fan. It is important for the Baltimore ring of honor to include the players who are there now. Grandparents will tell their grandchildren of the exploits of local heroes. They can take them to Canton to see the busts of the national all-time greats. Back off Tony.

  18. JPP on said:

    Byner’s selection did set the bar too low. But to take away an honor like that would lack class, so it is what it is at this point. While the honor flatters and elevates some, the great players are distinguished more by inclusion in the HOF, an honor that requires an elite level of accomplishment to achieve. When they cast you in bronze like Unitas and soon to be with Ray, both are in any discussion about the GOAT (IMO Ed fits the GOAT criteria). I think another level of honor would muddy the water.

  19. Ed from Bel Air on said:

    Tony, you had me at Ernest Byner. You lost me at the Baltimore Colts. As for the others (excluding Ray and eventually Ed), reasonable people can argue over a cold adult beverage (preferably Guinness, of course) as to whether the others belong. Art chose to set the bar pretty low with his first inductee. God bless him but he was too generous with his selection. If you want to say Art was guilty about being a loving, caring and generous human being who had the audacity to select a friend (who was responsible for Art’s most painful football moment during his ownership) as his first member of the RoH, you would be correct.

    But it doesn’t surprise me that Steve made the same mistake. Yes Steve is also guilty of being a loving, caring and generous human being. Want proof? See how Steve treated Art after Steve took control of the Ravens. He could have tossed him aside, and said good riddance . The Modell name could have faded away in the same manner Dan Snyder swept all remnants of Jack Kent Cooke’s legacy in DC under the rug. Eventually the Modell name could have disappeared (just like Raljon).

    You’re right. The Ring of Honor should be more selective. It should be almost (but not quite) as hard to get into the Hall of Fame. You remember the Hall — that great, historically accurate monument to the greatest football players of all time. The one that shows Unitas, Moore, Parker, Berry, Mackey an Donovan as the greatest Indianapolis Colts of all time?

    If Baltimore can’t properly honor the BALTIMORE Colts, then who will?

    I’m okay with what Art and Steve have done. They are great folks who have treated us extremely well. They can be forgiven for being a little generous in their selections.

  20. Cdaddy on said:

    Ed from Bel Air– I 100% agree with you. Never should the Baltimore Colts be forgotten.Baltimore has to honor them and if it is by the ROH then so be it.

  21. Cheri on said:

    Tony even though I agree with you 100 percent about the Earnest Byner debate it would be opening up a can of worms. I guess what I mean is unless a guy does a OJ Simpson, once he is in I don’t think you can take a guy out it would seem like a kind of slimmy kind of thing to do. Here is the biggest problem I have with taken him out at this point, EB was Art’s guy and was Art’s choice to put in the Ring of Honor are we now to take him out after Art has left us it would be one of those “over my dead body” kind of things. If you know what I mean. So in honor of Art and how much he cared for Earnest and considering Ernest as never done anything to disgrace his name or the NFL I say just let it be but I do agree it just seems really really weird to see is name up there with other Raven greats.

  22. Cheri on said:

    One other point if you think the Ravens set their bar low My God has anyone ever look at the guys the Orioles put in their Hall Of Fame now that is worth having a conversation about someday if this wasn’t a football only forum.I think in 20 years your see Tommy Hunter in their Hall of Fame. lol :)

  23. Rick S on said:

    The name of the Baltimore football team is the Ravens only because one POS took the Colts name under a legal claim. But they cannot steal the Colt’s football history in Baltimore unless we allow them to do so. The Baltimore Colts are part of Baltimore’s cherished football history. The Baltimore Colts players were Baltimore players, not players for some other city that they never played in. The Baltimore Colts are our players and we should not abandon them merely because some owner chose to move a football franchise. A franchise is merely a legal document giving the right to an owner to a football team. We give up the history of our Baltimore Colts players only if we abandon them. It is bizarre and should be embarrassing for another city to claim history to players that only played in Baltimore.

  24. royg on said:

    in the security world, we have Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)
    in the Raven’s world, we have Pretty Good players (PGP)

  25. Korgie on said:

    I don’t agree that you have to be HOF worthy to be in the ROH. There are plenty of football players with outstanding accomplishments that will never be considered for the HOF, but did so many great things for their teams that the teams surely would’ve been different without them. The ROH is our own private way of honoring those people. I loved Todd Heap and was very sad to see him go, but realized with all his injuries he just didn’t play the same in his older age. All the above mentioned names who are apart of it, except Byner, deserve every right to be there because they were at one time instrumental to the success of the team. I feel like a few more names from the Ravens first Superbowl team should be in there honestly because that team was and is irreplaceable and was such a force to be reckoned with. So what if our stadium is covered with the plaques or banners showing recognition for those in the ROH. I think as a retired player who knew I did an outstanding job for my team but wasn’t quite HOF worthy, being inducted in to their own ROH would bring much honor and pride knowing they recognized my accomplishments.

  26. Basil on said:

    My ring of honor includes:
    1. Ray Lewis
    2. Jonathan Ogden
    3. Baltimore Colts
    4. Art Modell
    5. Peter Boulware
    6. Jamal Lewis
    7. Todd Heap
    And will include upon retirement:
    1. Ed Reed
    2. Ozzie Newsome
    3. Terrell Suggs
    4. Joe Flacco
    5. Haloti Ngata

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