Found February 04, 2012 on Ravens Football Machine:


Happy Super Bowl Weekend! I know this is a bittersweet holiday for Ravens loyalists, who in their hearts know the Ravens outplayed the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game...but lost in the end.

Still, I think getting that close beats not getting that far at all... as 28 other teams and their fan bases would attest. 49ers and Ravens fans, hold your heads high this weekend.

Of course, many of you know I come from Philadelphia, so I am well familiar with getting close and somehow not closing the deal.

Enter the great Baltimore writer John Eisenberg, who now does a weekly blog for BaltimoreRavens.com.

Eisenberg addresses the elephant in the room in Baltimore these days: Are the Ravens becoming the Andy Reid-era Philadelphia Eagles?

ravenvseagle

Here's John in his own write:

"If I had a nickel for every radio show appearance I have made since the Ravens’ loss in New England, I could afford to put extra-rich sour cream in my Super Bowl dip this Sunday. The Ravens’ "Agony of Defeat” moment must have really grabbed people in the gut, because from West Coast to East, in markets big and small, I have gone on the air to take questions about it.

"One time, I had to rank what Baltimore fans were most upset about: a) Billy Cundiff’s missed field goal, b) Lee Evans’ dropped (or whatever) pass, c) the lack of a replay on the Evans play, d) Scoreboard-gate. (I answered "a, b, c, d,” with the caveat that it is a free country and some people feel differently.)

"Most of the questions were typical "crime scene” queries about what happened and why, but one really stopped me. I can’t remember if it was the guy in Burlington, Vt., Seattle, or somewhere else who asked it, but I knew it would raise eyebrows in Baltimore.

"Is it possible the Ravens are destined to be the Philadelphia Eagles of the AFC … the team that’s really good but never gets over the hump?” he asked.

"Whew, tough one.
I knew where that idea was coming from. The Ravens are on quite a roll, having gone 44-20, won a playoff game every year and reached the AFC title game twice since John Harbaugh arrived four years ago. But they haven’t made the Super Bowl, and good times only last so long.

"It was a question that, I knew, would hit close to home at the Ravens’ headquarters. When the team plucked Harbaugh from Eagles coach Andy Reid’s staff in 2008, it held up the Philadelphia model as one to be admired. The Eagles are consistent contenders under Reid, who is still on the job after 13 years, having experienced just two losing seasons. They’re always a tough out, always in the hunt, yet they’ve only reached the Super Bowl once in those 13 years, and they didn’t win.

"Harbaugh came aboard with a mandate to recast the Ravens as something similar, perennial contenders, eliminating the inconsistency that marked Brian Billick’s final years. But while Harbaugh has impressively accomplished that goal, the other half of the Philly model – playoff frustration – has tagged along.

"When the guy asked if the Ravens might be the Eagles, here’s what I said: I can’t see the future. And I understand that years of playoff frustrations can have a withering effect on a franchise. But I don’t see scars on the Ravens, even after New England. And they’re doing a lot of things right – enough to get over the hump one day.

"There’s no reason to think they can’t.

"Their record in the draft ranks with the best in the league, suggesting a continual infusion of youth. Their general manager’s track record speaks for itself. Their physical playing style is clearly articulated, as is their organizational philosophy. They aren’t drama queens. They prefer continuity to "grass is greener” knee-jerk change.

"Some fans don’t like that they brought Cam Cameron back as offensive coordinator, but his offense ranked 10th in the league in rushing, 11th in time of possession and 12th in scoring this season, with a majority of its starters under 30. The organization decided it was smarter to tweak the unit, let it continue to evolve, rather than start over. It’s the right call.

"Sure, the specter of a Philly-style shortfall is undeniable. "I know it seems like for the Ravens right now (it’s) always the bridesmaid and never a bride,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark said last week.

"But you have to step back and view the big picture. From where they were four years ago, the Ravens have sped up and pulled alongside the Steelers and Patriots in the AFC. They reside in the elite class now, with the requisite talent to continually contend and possibly go all the way.

"So, offering no promises but plenty of promise, they just keep hammering away and believing their time could come, as it did once before."

40064B6361C14E1698F4811199CBE1E6
John Eisenberg 


THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Ex-Viking Birk named NFL Man of the Year

Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk was named the 2011 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year on Saturday, recognizing him for community service. Birk, who spent 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and was a six-time Pro Bowl selection while in Minnesota, promotes the importance of education and started the "Ready, Set, Read!" program, an initiative of his H.I.K.E. Foundation...

Ravens LB Suggs named AP Defensive Player of the Year

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was named the 2011 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday.Suggs earned 21 of a possible 50 votes to beat out Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who tallied 14 votes.Suggs had 70 tackles, 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles this season to lead a Baltimore defense that allowed the third-fewest points in the league this season.

Suggs wins Defensive Player of the Year

I know this isn’t the award defensive end/outside linebacker Terrell Suggs wanted, but he earned the AP Defensive Player of the Year award, according to multiple reports. He would have much rather have had a Super Bowl ring. Suggs had 70 tackles, a career-high 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles and two interceptions to complete his best professional season. He is the third Baltimore...

Is the window closing? Bisciotti doesn't think so

Is the window closing for the Ravens to win a Super Bowl? It definitely is for stalwart linebacker Ray Lewis and free safety Ed Reed. But Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti believes the window is wide open for his franchise.

Suggs selected AP Defensive Player of the Year

The award that Terrell Suggs really wanted will be handed out Sunday as the New York Giants and New England Patriots play for the Lombardi Trophy. The Ravens outside linebacker got a nice consolation prize Saturday night when he was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the 2011-12 season.
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.