For 31 years, the city of Baltimore was ruled by Colts football. From 1953 to 1984, the Baltimore Colts won Super Bowl V and NFL championships in 1958, 1959, and 1968. The Colts fell on hard times after the 70's, however. In the strike shortened 1982 season, the Colts went 0-8-1. In the draft the Colts selected QB John Elway, but he refused to play in Baltimore. In 1984, the team unexpectedly moved to Indianapolis under the cover of night.
Baltimore would go without an NFL team for 12 years. In 1996, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced that he would move the Browns to Baltimore. Browns fans were decidedly unhappy about this decision. Massive protests ensued from Cleveland fans. Modell eventually decided to compromise and leave the name and records of the Browns in Cleveland, but move the team itself to Baltimore and create a new franchise. Cleveland would go without a Browns team until 1999.
In 1996, the Baltimore Ravens were born. They were named after the famous short-story written by Baltimore-native Edgar Allan Poe. In their inaugural season, they went 4-12. In 1999, Brian Billick was brought in as head-coach. The team would win the Super Bowl in 2000. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens remain a favorite among football fans, and are consistently ranked among the greatest all time defenses.
In 2008, after a disappointing 2007 season, Billick was fired and John Harbaugh came in as head coach. Along with Harbaugh came QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice. The team improved significantly, going 11-5 and reaching the AFC Conference Championship against their rival the Pittsburgh Steelers. They lost 23-14. The Ravens would make the playoffs in 2009, 2010, and 2011, but never made in past the AFC Championship game.
In 2012, the Ravens beat the New England Patriots 28-13 in the AFC Championship game, giving the franchise their second Super Bowl appearance. During the 2012 season, veteran Ray Lewis, who has played with the team since their inception in 1996, announced his retirement.
The Baltimore Ravens played the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. John Harbaugh would face his younger brother Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the 49ers. The Ravens won 34-31. QB Joe Flacco was named the MVP of the game.