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By Vito Stellino and Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF | September 19, 1999
The NFL, in effect, spun off a small subsidiary this year -- the AFC Central Division.When it became the only six-team division with the addition of Cleveland, the AFC Central became its own little domain.The six teams will play 10 division games a year and 30 of their 48 games the next three years against the other five teams in the division. By contrast, they'll play only 18 games against the other 25 teams."It's bad from a marketing standpoint because the fans don't see many other teams," said Dan Rooney, president of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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By Edward Lee | October 23, 2011
Monday night's meeting between the Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars marks the first time in three years that the teams will clash. But it wasn't always like that. From 1996 to 2001, the Ravens and Jaguars tangled twice a season as members of the AFC Central. Over that span, Jacksonville won the first eight meetings before the Ravens spun off four consecutive victories. The Jaguars captured division titles in 1998 and 1999, but it was the Ravens who won the Super Bowl in 2000.
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By Jamison Hensley and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF | April 25, 2000
The off-season philosophies in the AFC Central resembled a high-stakes poker game: Last year's big winners remained conservative while the rest of the division gambled for the immediate jackpot. Jacksonville and Tennessee, last year's AFC finalists, have stayed pat, feeling they can repeat with the hands they've been dealt. The Ravens and Pittsburgh think their selective additions can make for a winning combination. And Cincinnati and Cleveland decided for overhauls, knowing they need to reshuffle the deck.
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January 10, 2009
The Ravens and Titans were fierce rivals in the AFC Central before the NFL moved to four divisions in each conference in 2002. Heading into today's playoff contest, the teams have won nine games each. Here are four memorable meetings: 1 Ravens 24, Titans 10, Jan. 7, 2001, AFC divisional playoffs, Adelphia Coliseum: : The Ravens continued their march to the Super Bowl with a stunning defeat of the No. 1-seeded Titans. Reserve defensive lineman Keith Washington (above, hand up) blocked two field-goal attempts, one returned 90 yards for a touchdown by Anthony Mitchell, to give the Ravens a 17-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
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By Ken Murray and Ken Murray,SUN STAFF | October 6, 2000
Thirty years after he helped break the NFL's first realignment logjam, Ravens owner Art Modell is prepared to do it all over again. Modell said yesterday that he will volunteer to move the Ravens out of the AFC Central Division when the league realigns in 2002, and would welcome a return to the NFC. "I think going into the National Football Conference would sort of be a homecoming for me, and I would enjoy it very much," he said. Modell owned the Cleveland Browns in 1970, when, in a post-merger realignment, the Browns moved with the Baltimore Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers from the NFC to the AFC. He moved the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996, and they became the Ravens.
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By Ken Murray and Ken Murray,SUN STAFF | October 22, 2000
Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher listened to reports of the Ravens' offensive struggles last week and brushed them aside like so much pre-game hyperbole. "We've got a huge challenge this week," Fisher said. "We're not expecting explosive field goals." The Ravens (5-2) will accept anything resembling an explosive offensive play today, when they meet the Titans (5-1) at PSINet Stadium with first place in the AFC Central Division at stake. Home for the first time since Sept. 24, the Ravens will attempt to revise the balance of power in the AFC with an offense that hasn't scored a touchdown in three games - a span of 12 quarters, 36 possessions and more than 186 minutes of playing time.
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By Mike Preston and Mike Preston,SUN STAFF | October 5, 1997
Maybe no one can explain the importance of today's Ravens home game with the Pittsburgh Steelers better than Ravens safety Bennie Thompson.Take it away, Bennie"Yep, this is the statement game, this is the one," said Thompson, with that old Louisiana accent. "For the old guys that came here from Cleveland, we don't like Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh doesn't like us. Some of the new guys and rookies don't understand, but they will once they get out there. There is a very physical nature to this game."
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By Jamison Hensley and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF | November 5, 2001
PITTSBURGH -- The Ravens edged the Pittsburgh Steelers with lasting intimidation and last-minute improvisation yesterday. In a victory stirring up memories from last year's Super Bowl run, the Ravens capitalized on special teams and timely offensive production to pull out a 13-10 victory over the division-leading Steelers at Heinz Field. A tipped field-goal attempt by Chris McAlister sent Steelers kicker Kris Brown into a game-ending tailspin, and a pivotal route change by Shannon Sharpe elevated the Ravens (5-3)
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By Jamison Hensley and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF | April 15, 2001
The Ravens' championship run didn't end on that fateful night in Tampa, Fla. Less than three months removed from hoisting the Super Bowl trophy, the Ravens have raised the stakes on repeating with some of the league's most impressive moves during the first phase of free agency. Usually known for their draft expertise, the Ravens made their biggest noise in the open market this time. They signed a Pro Bowl arm in quarterback Elvis Grbac and one of the league's best right tackles in Leon Searcy.
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By Jamison Hensley and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF | December 16, 2001
The trash-talking will end and the territorial battle will ensue. In a feud that has inspired more insults than Chris Berman has nicknames, the Ravens will clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight before ESPN's national television audience. This vicious tug-of-war at PSINet Stadium is being waged with the AFC Central title at stake and the balance of power in the conference on the line. A win by the Steelers (10-2) would clinch the division title and likely the top seed in the conference, so soft is their schedule.
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By SUMMARIES BY BRENT JONES and SUMMARIES BY BRENT JONES,SUN STAFF | September 11, 2005
1996 Record 4-12-0 Finish 5th in AFC Central Playoffs Did not qualify Exciting but unsuccessful football returns to Baltimore. The Ravens win their inaugural game against the Oakland Raiders. Vinny Testaverde throws for 4,177 yards and 33 touchdowns but produces just four wins. 1997 Record 6-9-1 Finish 5th in AFC Central Playoffs Did not qualify Strong start and finish but little in between. The Ravens win three of their first four and two of their last three but register just one win in October and November.
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By KEN MURRAY | September 5, 2002
Baltimore Ravens Last year: 10-6, second place, AFC Central. Lost divisional game to Pittsburgh, 27-10. Coach: Brian Billick (30-18), fourth year with Ravens. Story line: Is Chris Redman the quarterback of the future or merely of the present? Power game: The Ravens want to return to the smash-mouth running game that helped carry them to the Super Bowl two years ago. But they need a healthy Jamal Lewis and an improved offensive line to get there. It may take some doing. The two tight-end set is in vogue this year, even if Shannon Sharpe is gone.
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By Jamison Hensley and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF | December 16, 2001
The trash-talking will end and the territorial battle will ensue. In a feud that has inspired more insults than Chris Berman has nicknames, the Ravens will clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight before ESPN's national television audience. This vicious tug-of-war at PSINet Stadium is being waged with the AFC Central title at stake and the balance of power in the conference on the line. A win by the Steelers (10-2) would clinch the division title and likely the top seed in the conference, so soft is their schedule.
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By Jamison Hensley and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF | December 11, 2001
Capturing the division title is a long shot. But if the Ravens have perfected anything this season, it's beating the odds with a magical late run. The Ravens (8-4) are trailing AFC Central-leading Pittsburgh (10-2) by two games with four remaining and are banking on another dramatic final act to leapfrog the Steelers for a coveted first-round bye. At this point, the Ravens hold the AFC's top wild-card spot and the fourth seed in the playoffs. To win the franchise's first division title, the Ravens would have to beat Pittsburgh on Sunday night and then need the Steelers to lose another game to fading Cleveland and Cincinnati or winless Detroit (a combined 10-26 record)
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November 19, 2001
Redskins 17 Broncos 10 Backup QB Kent Graham (above) replaces injured Tony Banks and rallies Washington to victory in Denver. After opening the season 0-5, the Redskins have won four in a row. [Page 9D] Jets 24 Dolphins 0 New York crushes host Miami, returning two interceptions for touchdowns to beat the Dolphins for the eighth consecutive time and improve to an AFC East-leading 7-3. [Page 11D] Steelers 20 Jaguars 7 Pittsburgh stifles visiting Jacksonville to increase its lead in the AFC Central to 1 1/2 games over the Ravens.
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By Jamison Hensley and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF | November 5, 2001
PITTSBURGH -- The Ravens edged the Pittsburgh Steelers with lasting intimidation and last-minute improvisation yesterday. In a victory stirring up memories from last year's Super Bowl run, the Ravens capitalized on special teams and timely offensive production to pull out a 13-10 victory over the division-leading Steelers at Heinz Field. A tipped field-goal attempt by Chris McAlister sent Steelers kicker Kris Brown into a game-ending tailspin, and a pivotal route change by Shannon Sharpe elevated the Ravens (5-3)
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By Mike Preston and Mike Preston,SUN STAFF | March 27, 1997
Based on the schedule released yesterday by the NFL, it will be imperative for the Ravens to have a strong beginning as well as finish in the 1997 season.Three of the Ravens' first four games are against AFC Central rivals and the team closes the campaign with the Houston Oilers and Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens first two games are at Memorial Stadium against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Bengals."With three of the first four games coming in the division, we have to be sharp early," Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said.
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By Vito Stellino and Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF | October 7, 1999
When the NFL realigned the National Football Conference after the 1970 merger, the owners could never agree on one plan.They finally narrowed the options down to five, put them in a bowl and had then-commissioner Pete Rozelle's secretary pick out the one the teams still use 29 years later.Except for the addition of Tampa Bay to the NFC Central in 1977 and Carolina to the NFC West in 1995, the NFC remains unchanged. The AFC remains unchanged except for the addition of Seattle to the AFC West and Jacksonville to the AFC Central.
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By Jamison Hensley and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF | November 4, 2001
PITTSBURGH - The Ravens venture into the Steel City today for a test of their championship mettle. At a time when the Ravens usually dig in for a dominant run, the defending Super Bowl champions butt helmets with the first-place Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field with the intention of revising the balance of power in the AFC Central and settling a weeklong running debate. That brewing argument centers on which of the NFL's most dominant forces - the Ravens' immovable run defense or the Steelers' unstoppable ground attack - will prevail, with pride on the line and division control at stake.
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