Great Moments in Ravens History Part 2: Brian Billick

Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

In continuation of notable moments in our franchise's history, we look at the hiring of head coach Brian Billick, and the successful era he would go on to have with the Ravens. (Note: this series is not chronological)

Although coach Ted Marchibroda is the only coach to ever coach both the Baltimore Colts and the Baltimore Ravens, he failed to have one season over .500 with the Ravens, and so was replaced in 1998 by Brian Billick. Billick's arrival solidified the creation of the tenacious Ravens defense, and he built upon what Marchibroda had failed to.

Billick signed with the Ravens within 24 hours of his first interview with them, quelling any rumors that he was going to coach in Cleveland. After nine seasons coaching the Ravens, Billick finished with a career 80-64 record; which included a 5-4 postseason record, two division titles, one conference championship, and one Super Bowl win. His first season in Baltimore was the first year the Ravens did not finish with a losing record (8-8). The year after (2000), Billick led the Ravens to a 12-4 record, and a successful postseason run with their first ever Super Bowl win, over the New York Giants. Billick would lead the Ravens to the postseason three more times after that Super Bowl season (2001, 2003, 2006), and the team's best regular season record ever in 2006 at 13-3.

Billick forbade his players from using the words 'playoffs' or 'Super Bowl' during the regular season because he wanted the team to focus on each individual game, rather than the end prize. His tactic proved successful, and when the Ravens reached the playoffs in 2000, the ban was lifted, and all focus was on the big prize. Billick actually took this rule so seriously that he fined Tony Siragusa for violating the rule. In response to Billick's rule, the players used the words 'Festivus Maximus' as code for the Super Bowl. (Festivus originates from Seinfeld).

Billick's laid-back attitude and relaxed demeanor defined his sideline attitude throughout much of his Baltimore career. However, don't let that look fool you: I've seen Billick's face flare up countless times during games, and he did not hesitate to unleash the fire when he felt necessary. Billick's legacy in Baltimore was impressive, but most notable was his ability to do so much with so little coaching an expansion team two years into the league. He put the Ravens on the map and helped write the blueprints players like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed would perfect in the coming years.

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