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Cities behind the teams: Baltimore

Posted Nov 1, 2017

We go behind the curtain of each NFL team's home city every week presented by Visit The USA.

Baltimore may be known best in the UK because of hit television show The Wire and because it is the home of the Baltimore Ravens. Both the show and the team portray Baltimore as a tough, uncompromising and hard-hitting city, but it also has a soft-side with passionate and proud residents, excellent seafood and beautiful historic monuments.

The football team was created in 1996 when former owner, Art Modell, moved the Cleveland Browns franchise to Baltimore.  As part of a deal with the City of Cleveland and the NFL, the Browns history and records were left in Cleveland for a replacement franchise. In return, Art was allowed to form an expansion team in Baltimore. The Ravens’ name was chosen by fans in a public poll, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven. Fans alos liked the tie-in with other successful birds in their town, baseball’s Baltimore Orioles.  

Since their founding, the Ravens have been one of the most successful franchises. They have qualified for the NFL play-offs ten times, have won their division four times and appeared in the AFC Championship game four times. Of those AFC Championship games, they have won two and both times went on to win the Super Bowl. Their first victory was at Super Bowl XXXV (2001) only four years after their founding. This Super Bowl came off the back of a record-breaking defensive season and truly signalled to the rest of the NFL the defensive identity of the Ravens. Their second Super Bowl victory came in 2012 at Super Bowl XLVII.

The Ravens have made a name for themselves for their hard-hitting defence. As mentioned, the 2000-2001 Super Bowl winning season was record-setting. The Ravens gave up only 970 rushing yards all year, an NFL record for a 16-game season and only five rushing touchdowns all season. As a team, the Ravens only allowed 165 points all season, which is also an NFL record. This defence was epitomised by their marquee player of their century, Ray Lewis. A talisman whose career was appropriately bookended by his MVP award in that first Super Bowl championship and then retiring with winning the Super Bowl in 2012.

Currently, the Ravens have 4 wins and 4 losses and are 2nd in the division. They have had a mixed bag of results, being beaten 44-7 by the Jaguars in a surprise result in London but last week defeated the Dolphins 40-0 showing that they do still have that combination of consistent offense and shut-down defence which led them to the two Super Bowls.

Baltimore the city has been immortalised on the TV screen through landmark HBO show The Wire but that is not a true reflection of the city. It is a historically working-class city known as the ‘City of Neighbourhoods’ because of its diverse architecture and cultures. This is due to its status as the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic and the second leading port of entry for immigrants.  Baltimore also has more public statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the country and is rich in architecturally significant buildings.

The attractions in Baltimore reflect this unique combination of cultures. For anyone visiting the city it is a must to taste the port’s famous Blue Crabs. They can be eaten in sandwiches, as soft-shell or lightly fried with classic Old Bay seasoning.

Baltimore is the home of the National Aquarium.  This is a national attraction with an annual attendance of 1.5 million vissitors. It has more than 17,0000 creatures representing over 750 species. 

The Fort McHenry National Monument is an internationally renowned monument built from a fort which helped repel the British Navy from Chesapeake Bay in 1812. It is known as ‘the home of the Star Spangled Banner’ because composer Francis Scott Key was so inspired by the site of it’s garrison flag flying in victory after that battle.  Apart from its unique pentagon shape and beautiful surrounding lands, it is a site of historical significance for the United States and worth a visit.

Seeing the Ravens play at M&T Bank stadium should be top of any visitors list. However, directly adjacent to that stadium is the beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the home of Baltimore’s MLB franchise, the Orioles. This stadium is one of the first built in the retro-style and is consistently voted the most beautiful stadium in the MLB.

 

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