Rebuilding Ravens at pinnacle again with Super Bowl bid

Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:57pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Built on the NFL draft and a vision of the type of player that can lead the way, the Baltimore Ravens have climbed once again to the pinnacle, with a shot on Sunday at claiming their second Super Bowl title.

The Ravens were born in 1996 when the late Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell moved his team to Baltimore to fill a void left by the Baltimore Colts after their move to Indianapolis, and fashioned by the deft hand of general manager Ozzie Newsome.

In five seasons they had won the Super Bowl on the backs of their defense, and now with an offense acting as a full partner, Baltimore will take on the San Francisco 49ers at the Superdome in New Orleans with another NFL title on the line.

Newsome got the Ravens off to a rousing start with a powerful one-two punch in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft.

A Hall of Fame tight end and the league's first African American general manager, Newsome selected linebacker Ray Lewis with the 26th choice, 22 picks after taking offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, a finalist this week for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In 2000 the drafting of running back Jamal Lewis gave Baltimore a rushing attack that provided just enough offense to allow a daunting defense led by linebacker Lewis to carry them all the way to the NFL title.

Now in his 17th and final season, the 37-year-old Lewis has inspired these Ravens to go on a magical run to the Super Bowl.

They have overcome injuries, a change of offensive coordinators late this season, and the loss of four of their last five games to go on this playoff run, thanks in no small part to the stewardship of head coach John Harbaugh.   Continued...