Ravens timeline

August 30, 1998|By Eduardo A. Encina

Nov. 6, 1995: Browns owner Art Modell, angry with Cleveland city officials over the failure to approve a new football stadium, says he can't stay financially afloat in Cleveland and announces his intention to move the franchise to Baltimore for the 1996 season. Design work again begins on a football-only stadium to be built at Camden Yards.

Dec. 24, 1995: The Browns finish the season with a 5-11 record after a 24-21 loss to Jacksonville. The team loses 10 of its last 12 games, including seven of eight after reports of the team's move surface.

Feb. 9, 1996: NFL owners approve the franchise's move to Baltimore.

Feb. 15, 1996: Ted Marchibroda, who had coached the Indianapolis Colts to the AFC championship game in 1995 and who coached the Baltimore Colts for five seasons in the 1970s, is named new coach of the Baltimore franchise.

March 29, 1996: The team is officially named Ravens after a telephone poll conducted by The Sun. Of 33,288 votes, 21,108 pick Ravens, 5,597 choose Americans and 5,583 select Marauders.

April 20, 1996: The Ravens conduct their first NFL draft. Their top selections include offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and linebacker Ray Lewis (both first round), cornerback DeRon Jenkins (second) and wide receiver Jermaine Lewis (fifth).

June 3, 1996: Final design begins for a 68,000-seat, football-only stadium at Camden Yards. Excavating begins soon after, clearing industrial areas and parking lots south of Oriole Park, including the nightclub Hammerjacks.

July 15, 1996: Groundbreaking takes place at the stadium site. Excavation of the area would take until November to complete. The hole dug is 800 feet wide, 900 feet long and 18 feet deep.

July 19, 1996: The Ravens begin their first training camp at Western Maryland College in Westminster, where the Baltimore Colts held camp from 1949 to '71.

Sept. 1, 1996: The Ravens win their first game, 19-14, over the Oakland Raiders in the regular-season opener before 64,124 at Memorial Stadium.

Oct. 27, 1996: Vinny Testaverde throws a 22-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jackson with 10 seconds left in overtime as the Ravens defeat the St. Louis Rams, 37-31, at Memorial Stadium and raise their record to 3-5.

Nov. 24, 1996: The Jacksonville Jaguars defeat the Ravens, 28-25, on a field goal with 5: 54 left in overtime at Memorial Stadium. It was the Ravens' second loss to Jacksonville and their fourth overall, dropping their record to 3-9.

Dec. 12, 1996: Quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who would finish the season with 4,177 passing yards and 33 touchdowns, is named to his first Pro Bowl.

Dec. 22, 1996: The Ravens end their first season in Baltimore with a 24-21 loss to the Houston Oilers at Memorial Stadium. The team finishes 4-12 and has the worst defense in the NFL.

April 1997: Steel construction begins at the stadium site.

April 19, 1997: The Ravens participate in the second NFL draft. Their top picks include linebacker Peter Boulware (first round), linebacker Jamie Sharper and safety Kim Herring (second) and running back Jay Graham (third).

May 15, 1997: Cranes begin to place the large concrete busts of the seating deck as the stadium bowl begins to take form.

July 9, 1997: Work begins on the stadium's brick facade. Owner Art Modell and offensive linemen Orlando Brown and Wally Williams help lay the first brick. More than 100 bricklayers would use 1.2 million bricks to build the facade.

July 14, 1997: Ravens begin their second training camp in Westminster, as the team steadily begins to get its own identity. Free agents Tony Siragusa and Michael McCrary are signed to help shore up the defensive line. Of the 80 players reporting for camp, only 18 are former Browns. One player missing is holdout Peter Boulware, the club's first-round pick.

Aug. 16, 1997: Just before a preseason game in Philadelphia, the Ravens announce they have agreed to terms with Boulware on a six-year contract worth $18.5 million, including a $6 million signing bonus. Boulware does not play against the Eagles.

Aug. 31, 1997: The Ravens open their second season with a 28-27 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars before 61,018 at Memorial Stadium. The team had rallied from a 14-0 deficit to tie, but the comeback ended in the final minute when Vinny Testaverde's fourth-down pass to Michael Jackson was ruled a trap.

Sept. 8, 1997: Workers begin outfitting the new stadium's locker rooms and other basement features.

Sept. 21, 1997: The Ravens defeat the Tennessee Oilers, 36-10, in Memphis, Tenn., to win their third straight game and improve to 3-1.

Oct. 5, 1998: The Ravens blow a 21-point lead and lose, 42-34, to the Pittsburgh Steelers in what many call the low point of the season.

Oct. 10, 1997: Workers begin to outfit the suite and club areas of the new stadium.

Oct. 29, 1997: The Maryland Stadium Authority approves the contract for the purchase of high-tech video scoreboards, measuring 24 feet by 100 feet -- the biggest in sports. The price: $8.7 million.

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