Ravens' arrival helps Baltimore forget sting of losing Colts

Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:18pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - It is no mystery why the National Football League's (NFL) Ravens have been embraced by the city of Baltimore after being imported from Cleveland 17 years go.

A Super Bowl triumph in 2001, nine playoff berths and a shot at hoisting the championship Lombardi Trophy for a second time on February 3 when they face the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans has helped the Purple-and-Black win hearts in the Charm City.

Jilted by their long-beloved Colts, three-time champions of the old NFL and winners of the 1971 Super Bowl who relocated to Indianapolis overnight in moving vans, Baltimore took a while to warm to their new team.

Baltimore, home of the Colts for 30 years, waited 13 years for the NFL's return, provided when the late Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell moved his team to Maryland.

It was renamed the Ravens after a telephone poll chose the moniker, alluding to the famous poem "The Raven" by mystery and horror tale author Edgar Allan Poe, who spent the early part of his career in Baltimore.

It would be a fresh start for the team, who took University of Miami linebacker Ray Lewis with the 26th pick in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft.

It was all so new then, of course, for both Lewis and the Ravens.

"In 1996 when they drafted me, the first thing I asked was, 'Do we have a team name? What are our jersey colors going to be and all that?'" Lewis recalled asking Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome over the telephone.   Continued...