Super Bowl XLVII Dossier: Baltimore Ravens

It’s almost unprecedented for a championship contender to fire its offensive coordinator late in a winning season, but that’s what the Baltimore Ravens have done as they look to return to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history.
Cam Cameron was given his walking papers by the Ravens with the team currently struggling – however, it still has a two-game lead in the AFC North and is very much in play for a first-round playoff bye. The Ravens replaced Cameron with quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell, the former Colts head coach. Baltimore is ranked just 18th in total offense this season despite having the likes of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, quarterback Joe Flacco and receiver Anquan Boldin on that side of the ball.
The Ravens won their lone Super Bowl back in the 2000 season. At Super Bowl XXXV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Baltimore beat the New York Giants 34-7 as a three-point favorite. The total of 33.5 was the second-lowest in Super Bowl history. The Ravens’ legendary defense allowed the Giants just 152 total yards and forced five turnovers, not allowing an offensive touchdown. New York gained just one first down on its final four possessions. Ray Lewis was named the game’s MVP. He is just the second linebacker to do so. That defense allowed 23 total points in four playoff games.
Baltimore has been a playoff stalwart under current head coach John Harbaugh, winning at least nine games each season. The club has reached two conference championship games under Harbaugh. In the 2008 season, the Ravens were beaten 23-14 at arch-rival Pittsburgh as Baltimore turned the ball over four times.
Last season was even more painful for the franchise. After winning the AFC North and beating the Houston Texans in the divisional round, the Ravens played at top-seed New England for the AFC title. Flacco vastly outplayed Patriots superstar Tom Brady and the Ravens forced three Patriots turnovers. However, ex-Baltimore receiver Lee Evans was stripped at the last second of a sure touchdown pass in the final minute of regulation. Then usually reliable kicker Billy Cundiff missed a chip-shot 32-yard field goal with 11 second remaining that would have tied the game and sent it to overtime. Instead the shell-shocked Ravens lost 23-20.
Prior to that miss, Cundiff was 68-for-71 in his career (95.8 pct) on field goals from 32 yards or shorter, including 8-for-8 in the playoffs. It was the third-shortest missed field goal in NFL history in the final 30 seconds of regulation or at any point in overtime of a postseason game in which the kick could tie the game or give the kicker’s team the lead. It was the shortest missed field goal in the final 30 seconds of regulation of a postseason game in which the kick could have tied the game or given the team the lead and that team lost the game. How rare was the win for New England? Entering the game, NFL teams with at least three turnovers had lost their past 22 postseason matchups.
With Lewis and fellow defensive star Ed Reed nearing the end of their Hall of Fame careers, the Ravens’ championship window could be closing. Currently Baltimore is 22/1 to win Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.