The Debate Continues…2000 Ravens or 2012 Ravens?

Shannon Sharpe (2nd L) of the Baltimore Ravens out

With Super Bowl Sunday upon us, it got me thinking about the two Ravens championships… 2000 and 2012. Which one is your favorite? (Vote here)

The 2000 Ravens team finished 12-4, but it still wasn’t good enough to win the division. However, before realignment, the top Wild Card got a home playoff game. Though they didn’t win the old AFC Central that year, their first playoff game was at home against Denver. After that, they went on the road to Tennessee and Oakland before facing the Giants in Tampa for the Super Bowl.

The 2012 Ravens finished 10-6, but that was good enough to win the division. They took down the Colts at home in Ray Lewis’ final home game, then won the Instant Classic in Denver in double overtime before beating the Patriots in New England. Then they beat the 49ers in New Orleans for the Championship.

In just their 5th season of existence, the Ravens made a remarkable run to the Super Bowl in the 2000 season. Their defense was relentless. After starting the season 5-1, which included three shutouts, the offense went away. The Ravens went five games without scoring an offensive touchdown, but still won two of them. A QB change mid-season (from Tony Banks to Trent Dilfer) proved to be important. There were a number of memorable plays from that season that stand out, especially those during the playoff run…

Ray Lewis’ 50-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Titans.

The 96-yard touchdown pass from Dilfer to Shannon Sharpe, which still stands as the longest scoring pass in NFL postseason history.

In the Super Bowl, I’ll never forget Brandon Stokley’s 38-yard touchdown catch and drag of Jason Sehorn, nor the three consecutive TDs (Duane Starks’ Pick-6, The Giants’ 97-yard kickoff return, followed by Jermaine Lewis’ 84-yard kickoff return).

The 2012 Ravens had six Pro Bowlers and featured a number of distinct plays that will stand out forever as well.

4th and 29 in San Diego in Week 12 is a biggie. If they don’t make that play, they may not make the playoffs.

Then, obviously, you had the “Mile High Miracle” as Jacoby Jones caught a pass from Joe Flacco with :41 seconds left to tie up the game and send it to overtime.

You also had the power outage and kick-off return in the Super Bowl as memorable events.

The 2000 Ravens had the greatest defense in NFL history. This year’s Seahawks team is trying to stake a claim at that crown, but the 2000 Ravens and 1985 Bears are better than this year’s Seattle team. The ’00 Ravens were big up front and fast in the back. They shut out teams and shut down offenses. To this day, they have the lowest opposing points per game, yards per game, and yards per play. That D changed the way the league had to play offense, and led to a decade of domination for the Ravens’ defense.

The interesting thing is the 2006 Ravens could actually make a case as the greatest defense of all-time, even though they didn’t make it to the AFC Championship. Bill Barnwell from Grantland investigated that team:

“The 2006 Ravens? Yeah, they were better than you remember. They held opposing teams to 12.6 points per game in a league where the average team allowed 20.7 points per contest. They went 13-3, but lost in the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champion Colts without allowing a touchdown; Indy won 15-6 in a game where it recovered all five of the fumbles that hit the ground and picked off Steve McNair twice in the red zone. Baltimore sent six players to the Pro Bowl that year, including each of their four starting linebackers.”

But even Ravens fans don’t look at the 2006 Ravens the way that we do the 2000 Ravens, because of the way the season ended.

But back to the subject at hand… Baltimore is blessed in the football world. Take away the Patriots, and the Ravens have been the most successful franchise in the NFL this century. The 2000 Ravens and the 2012 Ravens were both special in their own way. Both seasons had frustrating parts that made it appear a Super Bowl wasn’t in the cards, while also having remarkable plays that will never be forgotten by Ravens fans.

But to me, there is just something a little bit more special about the 2000 team… maybe it’s where I was in life at that time, or maybe it’s because it was the first Super Bowl for the Ravens and put Baltimore back on the NFL map… but that team defines Baltimore Ravens football and for me is my favorite Ravens season.

I know it can be like picking a favorite child, but if you had to choose just one… which Super Bowl Championship for the Ravens is your favorite?

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About Joe Polek

Joe Polek
Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters....more

12 Raves on “The Debate Continues…2000 Ravens or 2012 Ravens?

  1. Alex on said:

    The 2000 Ravens played the Broncos at home and then went on the road to visit the Titans and the Raiders. Remember that was our first Playoff home game in history and the pass that bounced of Jamal Lewis’ helmet and landed in Shannon Sharp’s hands as he took it to the house for a Touchdown.

  2. Neil B on said:

    There is no debate, 2000 all the way. Last years team got luck at the right time. The team last year was a 4 and 29 or a Loss to Dallas or the Pats away from not making the playoffs. They didn’t dominate anyone. They just got hot in the playoffs. The 200 team after week 10 when they were 5-5 dominated almost everyone. The lone exception being a game against a good Tennessee game.

  3. FL Raven on said:

    All I will say is that I have never see, before or after our first Super Bowl Team, a better defensive tackle duo both against the run and the pass as The Goose and Sam Adams nor can I remember a tandem that weighed more. Together they had enough meat on them to fill a Chicago Slaughterhouse!

  4. Jason Smulson on said:

    Favorite team? Or Better team? The 2000 Ravens would beat the 2012 Ravens. They were the best defense of all time and had a swagger unlike any I have seen since. The 2012 Ravens may have had more crazy plays and a better offense, but the 2000 Ravens just had better characters. Goose, Sharpe, Ray in his prime and lots more! Love them both, but there is something about that first time:)

  5. Red Raven on said:

    The 2000 team gave legitimacy to our organization. It was in my opinion the more important win. It set the tone of our franchise. A tough D, running downhill blue collar team. Last year was special. To have two of our best players in Franchise history Ray and Reed, leave the team, holding the Lombardi was awesome. I also think our fanbase has grown tremendously since 2000. I was at both games and in Tampa the majority of Fans were Giants fans, We showed up in New Orleans and took over! The bigger question is , why do the seasons injustice by picking one over the other. Lets cherish and enjoy both for what they were.

  6. melg on said:

    Not sure how you can vote against the best defense the league has ever seen. If not for the special teams blunder in super bowl XXXV we would have had the only shut out in super bowl history. Not taking anything from Trent but i could have QB’d that team to a SB win with that defense and jamal running the ball. Ill never forget when ray lewis took the ball right out of eddie georges hand and ran it in for the score during the second play off game

  7. LivinginHouston on said:

    2012. The 2012 Ravens beat the 2 best QBs of our era in back to back weeks on the road. The 2000 Ravens defense was legendary, but the rest of the team was just along for the ride;the 2012 Ravens were a TEAM. Ray provided the spark that lit the dynamite, and the rest of the team exploded. Additionally, the 2012 Ravens saw the GOAT safety finally hoist his championship trophy,something he had dreamed of his whole life. Reed would’ve been a surefire HOFer without a ring, but the 2012 championship cemented his legacy.

  8. HUDDLES on said:


  9. Chris on said:

    The 2000 Ravens definitely had the greatest defense of all time, and a lot of people, myself included would say they were one of the greatest teams ever but being able to attend the 2012 Super Bowl makes it my favorite. It was also a nice change to see a high powered offense in Baltimore as opposed to only dominant defense. The 2013 team vs the 2000 Ravens would sure be a great matchup

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