The Baltimore Ravens have played the New England Patriots four times in the tenures of head coach John Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice's careers. Since the 2008 season, when they all came together, all four meetings have been in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Twice these two teams have met in the regular season and now twice in the post season. Other than the 33-14 playoff whipping the men in purple handed the Patriots in the 2009-10 season, all three other games have come down to the last possession.
The teams did not meet in the Ravens trio's rookie season of 2008. In the 2009 regular season, the Ravens lost 27-21, when they could not convert a fourth down, well known in Ravens lore as Flacco's pass hit then-WR Mark Clayton right in the numbers but was inexplicably dropped. The Ravens exacted revenge with the win in the playoffs a couple of months later.
In the 2010 season,Baltimore took a 20-10 lead into the fourth quarter but could not hold it as New England tied it late in the game and won 23-20 in overtime on a field goal. While the game last weekend did not quite make it to overtime,the Ravens fell by the same score, 23-20 to end their 2011-12 season.
However, all is not lost Ravens fans, as the saying is "revenge is a dish best served cold" (What?). The Ravens finally have a chance to play the Patriots in Baltimore for the first time in the Harbaugh/Flacco/Rice era, as the two teams will meet at M&T Bank Stadium in the 2012 regular season.
The last time the Ravens hosted the Patriots was in 2007, the year that New England went 16-0 in the regular season only to lost in the final moments of Super Bowl 43 to their opponent in this year's game, the New York Giants. Many fans barely remember that forgetful season, but the memory of taking the undefeated Pats down to the game's final seconds when Tom Brady threw a late TD pass under questionable refereeing that led then Ravens LB Bart Scott to throw an official's penalty flag into the stands in frustration.
This time is surely to be different as both teams will be among the league's best once again, and while the core of each team should remain intact, this game wil be played before the Ravens home crowd, with the Ravens fans screaming in support, with the Ravens employees running the scoreboard and timeclock, including the down-and-distance remaining for the first down.
Fans will have their chance at drowning out New England's offense and cheering the home team onto victory, and I'm sure upon seeing this game on the schedule when the exact dates are released this spring, will circle this game as the most looked forward to of the entire season, including yes, even the one against their arch-rival division enemy Pittsburgh Steelers.
We shall have our revenge!