With the holiday season in full force, every NFL team has something to be thankful for.
The Baltimore Ravens are no exception. In their 26-year history, they have been blessed with a pair of Super Bowls, great coaching, great management, and awesome fans. However, here are five individuals whom the Ravens Flock owes a great deal of gratitude towards this holiday season.
The 2021 Ravens have been afflicted with a slew of injuries, but this has not affected Lamar Jackson. He has continued to develop as a quarterback, and he has been the sole reason why the Ravens are 7-3 rather than 3-7. Jackson may not have the stats to be the league MVP, but there is no player in the sport that is more integral to his team’s success. Other quarterbacks may be better, but no quarterback is as in sync with the heartbeat of his city, organization, and teammates as Jackson. Perhaps the only thing Lamar is not in sync with is his immune system.
Justin Tucker is in the middle of another spectacular campaign as kicker and savior of the Ravens. He is the most accurate field goal kicker of all time, and he has the highest conversion rate of extra points of any active kicker. Moreover, he has made 85% of his kicks in nine of his ten seasons as a pro, as well as 89.7% or better in each of the last six. Other teams have had a rotating cast of kickers in the last decade; Baltimore has had one, and he has been the best. Tucker’s clutch achievements are written in the lore of football. He has two 60-yard game-winning kicks in two games in Detroit. He is perfect on overtime kicks. Justin Tucker is well on his way to being a Hall of Famer in a game that rarely honors its specialists.
Also, he helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII with a perfect quartet of field goals and a 16-for-16 stat-line on extra points during the playoffs.
Fun fact: the Ravens have never had a season without a past, present, or future All-Pro kicker.
Ed Reed’s Hall of Fame Bust Sculptor
It is one thing to be the best safety and one of the best players in NFL history. Ed Reed‘s legacy took a step up with the single-best bust in the Hall of Fame. Some are good. Some are not-so-good. Reed’s is perfect. Ravens fans should be thankful for Reed, as well, of course. Reed made five All-Pro teams and nine Pro Bowls, all with Baltimore. He led the NFL in interceptions three times, and he secured an interception in his final game with the team: Super Bowl XLVII. Furthermore, Reed owns the two longest interception returns in NFL history, and these helped him to a record-setting 1,590 interception return yards.
Thank you for being as good at your job as Reed was at his, Blair Buswell.
As mentioned in the previous two blurbs, the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII. For as fondly as Ravens fans remember the likes of Joe Flacco, Jacoby Jones, Tucker, Reed, and Ray Lewis, perhaps no player was more instrumental in the Super Bowl run than Rahim Moore. Moore never played for the Ravens, but on January 12, 2013, Moore made it seem that he had never played a game of football in his life. He earned a 30.6 coverage grade, allowing two catches on three targets. These two catches turned into 75 yards and a touchdown. What is the touchdown you ask? The Mile High Miracle. Flacco and Jones never hook up on one of the prettiest passes in NFL history if Moore remembers he is allowed to swat the pass.
Ozzie Newsome oversaw the first 215 wins (including playoffs) in franchise history as the general manager (he was the de facto general manager until 2002). His tenure also intersected with eleven playoff appearances, ten double-digit win seasons, and both of the Ravens’ Super Bowls. Newsome oversaw the selection of 15 future All-Pros, 32 Pro Bowlers, three Hall of Famers, three Defensive Players of the Year (including Reed), and one MVP (Jackson). The former Browns tight end may not have been perfect, but he set the Ravens up for success at every turn. Three of his last four first-round picks were All-Pros in the first season Newsome was not the general manager. Ozzie Newsome’s fingerprints are on the last three draft classes, but his last hurrah in 2018 was one of his best drafts.
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