OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In the 2010s, the Baltimore Ravens hit the highest of highs and the lowest of lows both on-and-off the field.
The Ravens had just one season under .500 (2015) and two seasons at .500 (2013, 2016) and posted a 97-62 record, a 61 percent win percentage. They won a Super Bowl in 2013, the second in franchise history, and had numerous Hall-of-Famers wear the purple and black.
Baltimore also had a historic off-the-field incident, which started a larger discussion about how the NFL handles domestic violence.
On the field, the Ravens started the decade hot with two straight 12-4 seasons — but losses to the Steelers and the Patriots in back-to-back years kept one of the NFL’s best teams out of the Super Bowl.
In 2013, though, the Ravens avenged a loss against the Patriots the year prior and ran through the AFC en route to a 34-31 victory over the 49ers in ‘The Harbaugh Bowl.’
With Joe Flacco at quarterback for a majority of the decade, the Ravens made the playoffs six times (including 2019) and made two conference championship games.
The organization waved goodbye to Hall-of-Fame talents in Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, as well as other franchise stalwarts like Haloti Ngata and Todd Heap.
Lewis’ send-off in the 2013 playoffs, en route to the team’s second-ever Super Bowl, was one of the team’s finest hours.
Reed’s departure followed, but his career wasn’t over quite yet. He returned to Baltimore once more, as a member of the Texans, before his playing career ended after the 2013 season.
Suggs left as the franchise leader in games played and sacks before heading to Arizona to finish out his career with the Cardinals before being waived and claimed by the Chiefs. His final chapter with the Ravens might dip into 2020, as he and the Chiefs might have one more game against the Ravens.
In the front office, Ozzie Newsome put together the sixth-best team — in terms of win-loss record — in the NFL. With a host of veterans leading the way, he added young pieces like Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Marlon Humphrey, Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. before departing.
Newsome also brought in key role players like Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith, both of whom played major roles in the Ravens’ offense toward the end of their careers.
The team wasn’t always young throughout the decade, and Newsome wasn’t always perfect, as the team locked Flacco into a hotly-debated contract after the team’s Super Bowl win.
Flacco signed a six-year contract worth $120.6 million, a number the Ravens felt they had to pay after Flacco’s playoff performance and also a number that was prohibitive to the rest of the Ravens roster throughout the years. Flacco was traded to the Broncos in the early part of 2019 for a mid-round draft pick.
Newsome stepped aside after the 2018 season to give way to Eric DeCosta, the team’s new general manager.
Off the field, however, the organization also faced the fallout from the Ray Rice assault, where the then-popular running back struck his then-fiance and now wife, Janay Palmer, in an elevator in 2014. After months of missteps by Rice, the Ravens organization and the National Football League, Rice’s contract was terminated on Sept. 8, 2014 after video footage was released to the public of the assault on Palmer. Rice never played in the NFL again.
The Rice incident was the lowest moment in a decade which was mostly filled with good feelings for the Ravens organization.
The team had, and still has, Marshal Yanda, who developed into a Hall of Fame talent in the 2010s. Coach John Harbaugh adapted as a coach and made the Ravens’ offense the NFL’s best in relatively short order.
In a decade of transition, the Ravens had more ups and downs that might be expected for a perennial Super Bowl contender.
If there was an organization that had seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the 2010s, it was the Baltimore Ravens.