Joe Flacco in a Ravens vs. Panthers game in 2010

Joe Flacco in a Ravens vs. Panthers game in 2010 (Photo by Grindstone Media Group on Shutterstock)

In 1996, NFL team owner Art Modell executed his plan to relocate the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. Part of the transition agreement that was reached with the city of Cleveland was for the franchise to re-brand. This series of events would lead to the inauguration of the Baltimore Ravens, and after nearly 30 years they are ranked among the most valuable professional sports teams in the world. That being said, we took a look into the best Ravens players in Baltimore football history.

If asked, some NFL fans might say that the best part of football is the competition. Watching two storied NFL franchises face off to settle the score on the field is a riveting part of sports storytelling. Although only 43 percent of sports fans think it’s acceptable to get into a physical fight with a rival fan, some cities are home to a much rowdier crowd. If you’re going to a game or watching at a local bar, stay clear of fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs (69%), Brooklyn Nets, (66%), Arizona Diamondbacks (55%), and Arizona Cardinals (52%) — they’re the most likely to support brawling with a rival, ouch.

But game day is more than just conflict, since many opt to enjoy football surrounded by friends rather than at a public venue. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Litehouse, the survey asked respondents what makes a successful game day party, with many saying it’s the game itself (26%), the people (26%), the food (22%), and the drinks (21%). “No matter what team you’re rooting for, football fans agree that the snacks can make or break any game day party,” says Heidi Wieber, brand manager at Litehouse, in a statement. “Serving your favorite bites and appetizers alongside a variety of delicious dressings and dips can help upgrade your game day snack table, so there’s something everyone can enjoy throughout the game.”

It’s also your favorite players that make game day so worthwhile. Of the legends that have donned the purple and black, which Baltimore legends stand out in the history of the franchise? In the relatively brief 27-year history, there have been many stars and hall-of-famers that make up the best Ravens players of all time. Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

The List: Best Ravens Players of All Time, According to Fans

1. Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis is arguably one of the most influential franchise players in Ravens history. His prowess on the field was amazing. The Sportster lauds Lewis’ career: “Ray Lewis quite simply, personifies the Baltimore Ravens franchise. Lewis played for the team for 17 seasons spanning from their inaugural season in 1996 until his retirement in 2012. Lewis was with the team through both their Super Bowl victories and was the Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XXXV. Lewis had an incredible career as a Raven, holding 3 NFL records, and making 13 Pro Bowls, and he has already been inducted into the Baltimore Ravens’ Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in 2013
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in 2013 (Photo by Debby Wong on Shutterstock)

Rookie Road writes a rave review of Lewis on the field: “Few names in the history of the NFL could inspire such fear in offensive players as Ray Lewis. Lewis was a middle linebacker who was notorious for delivering the most punishing of hits and had the ability to make plays all over the field. His skills were backed up by a true mountain of hardware, including two Defensive Player of the Year awards, 13 Pro Bowl appearances, seven First-Team All-Pro listings, along with three appearances on the Second-Team list.”

“Whether it’s his electrifying pre-game dance or his tenacity on the field, Ray Lewis is the first player that fans will remember when you mention the Baltimore Ravens. He became the iconic face of the franchise, even after his retirement in 2012. Lewis was selected 26th overall by the Ravens in 1996, making him draftmates with Ogden. They’ve built the foundation of the Ravens franchise on opposite sides of the ball,” gushes Roto Baller.

2. Jonathan Ogden

Jonathan Ogden is a Pro Football Hall of Famer with 12 years on the field that were marked with hard hits and amazing plays. B/R expands on this “Ogden was absolutely dominant. From 1997-2007, he made the Pro Bowl every year… he made his mark on the local community and established The Jonathan Ogden Foundation, which provides assistance to disadvantaged youth. There are very few players in all of sports you can assume will perform at the highest level every game. Ogden was one of those few players.”

Not In Hall of Fame states, “The first ever draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens was one of the best first ever picks of any sport, and one that was debated within the fanbase as Offensive Lineman were not generally taken so high. It was an excellent choice for the team and would become a long time anchor for the Ravens O-Line.”

“There’s an easy case to be made that Ogden is Baltimore’s best player ever. Had Ogden been that dominant for that long at any skill position, there’s little doubt he’d be No. 1 on this list. But as it stands, Ogden is one of a few offensive linemen to make his way to the Hall of Fame and an even smaller number to do so on their first ballot,” explains Ravens Wire.

3. Ed Reed

Among Ravens vocal fandom, Ed Reed tops many lists as a legend. Clutch Points says, “Ed Reed, for many years, might have been the best player in the NFL, not just the best defensive player, but the best player in the entire league. Opposing quarterbacks often wouldn’t even look to Reed’s side of the field because they knew what was going to happen if they did, it was going to be a turnover. Once Reed picked off the ball, there was a chance he was going to take it for a house call.”

Speaking of Reed’s knack for interceptions, The Grueling Truth claims he “has the two longest interception returns in NFL history. He’s scored 13 career touchdowns in four different ways (punt return, 1; blocked punt return, 3; interception return, 7; fumble recovery, 2). Reed was as dynamic a player as the Ravens have ever had. He was the quintessential game-changer.”

“Reed, a former AP Defensive Player of the Year, leads the Ravens in Interception Return Yards and holds every significant Defensive Back record in franchise history. Reed was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019, and he was also named to the 2000s All-Decade Team and the 100th Anniversary Team. Reed was also inducted into the Ravens’ Ring of Honor in 2015,” according to RSR.

4. Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco did an admirable job during his Ravens tenure. In his role as quarterback, he was often at the center of the action. Famous Fix details, “He played college football at Delaware after transferring from Pittsburgh and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.”

“In 2008, the Baltimore Ravens drafted Joe Flacco at pick no. 18 in the NFL draft. Despite being third in line for the Quarterback position, Flacco would be the starting quarterback for the season opener after an injury and an illness took out original starter Kyle Boller and backup Troy Smith. Flacco would lead the Ravens to a 17-3 win, scoring the game-winning touchdown with a 38-yard rush,” expounds The Sportster.

“Flacco joined the Ravens in 2008 and became a hit instantly. Prior to Flacco, the quarterback position was a never-ending cycle of failure. Flacco is the only quarterback in NFL history to have won more post-season games on the road than [at home]. Flacco stepped up to the plate when it mattered the most,” posits RSR.

5. Jamal Lewis

Jamal Lewis was a top-rated running back in the early 2000s. His exciting career highlights are cited with many of our sources. The Sportster chimes in with, “Jamal Lewis was a star running back for the Baltimore Ravens between 2000 to 2006… Lewis was first drafted by the Ravens with the 5th pick of the 2000 NFL draft, winning the Super Bowl in his rookie season. Lewis would go on to be the NFL Offensive Player of the year in 2003, a season where he was named to his first Pro Bowl and was the rushing yards leader for the season. Lewis scored 45 rushing touchdowns and 2 receiving touchdowns during his time with the Ravens.”

“Jamal Lewis is by far the best running back that has ever put on a Baltimore Ravens uniform. In his first season as a Raven, Lewis helped the team to their first-ever Super Bowl victory in 2000… It was a strong debut season, but it completely pales in comparison to what Lewis accomplished in 2003,” praises Rookie Road.

B/R offers, “During his time in Baltimore, Lewis averaged 1,300 rushing yards and 7.5 rushing touchdowns per season. It’s tough to overstate how great Lewis was after what maybe should have been a career-ending knee injury. His combination of speed and power was unstoppable.”

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