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2000 season: Super Bowl XXXV championsEdit

File:Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV Ring.jpg

The 2000 season saw the Ravens defense, led by defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, develop into a rock-solid unit that emerged as one of the most formidable defenses in NFL history. The Ravens defense set a new NFL record in holding opposing teams to 165 total points; the feat eclipsed the mark set previously by the Chicago Bears of 187 points for a 16 game season. Linebacker Ray Lewis was named Defensive Player of the year and, with two of his defensive teammates, Sam Adams and Rod Woodson, making the Pro Bowl.

Baltimore's season started strong with a 3–1 record. Tony Banks began the 2000 season as the starting quarterback and was replaced by Trent Dilfer when the Ravens fell to 5–4, and failed to score an offensive touchdown the entire month of October. Coach Brian Billick announced that the change at quarterback would be for the rest of the season. The 1,364-yard rushing season by rookie running back Jamal Lewis combined with the stout Ravens defense kept Baltimore competitive in games even when the offense struggled. At one point in the season the team played five consecutive games without scoring an offensive touchdown but still managed two wins during that stretch. The team regrouped and won each of their last seven games, finishing 12–4. The Ravens had made the playoffs for the first time.

Since the divisional rival Tennessee Titans had a record of 13–3, Baltimore had to play in the wild card round. In their first ever playoff game, they dominated the Denver Broncos 21–3 in front of a then record-crowd of 69,638 at then called PSINet Stadium. In the divisional playoffs, they went on the road to Tennessee. Tied 10–10 in the fourth quarter, an Al Del Greco field goal attempt was blocked and returned for a touchdown by Anthony Mitchell, and a Ray Lewis interception return for a score put the game squarely in Baltimore's favor. The 24–10 win put the Ravens in the AFC Championship against the Oakland Raiders. Shannon Sharpe's 96-yard touchdown catch early in the second quarter, followed by an injury to Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, highlighted the Ravens' 16–3 victory..

File:Geoge W. Bush meets with Baltimore Ravens 20010607-4.jpg

Baltimore then went to Tampa for Super Bowl XXXV where they met the New York Giants, cruising to a 34–7 win for their first championship in franchise history. The Ravens recorded four sacks, forced five turnovers, one of which was a Kerry Collins interception returned for a touchdown by Duane Starks. The Giants' only score was a Ron Dixon kickoff return for another touchdown (after Starks' interception return), making the 2000 Ravens the third Super Bowl team whose defense did not allow an opponent's offensive score; however, Baltimore immediately countered with a TD return by Jermaine Lewis. The Ravens became only the third wild-card team to win a Super Bowl championship. The interception return for a touchdown, followed by two kick return TDs, marked the quickest time in Super Bowl history that three touchdowns had been scored.

The title made the Ravens the fourth Baltimore-based pro football team to win a league championship. They were preceded by the NFL Baltimore Colts in 1958, 1959 and 1970, the USFL Stars in 1985 and the CFL Stallions in 1995.

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