The 2000 Baltimore Ravens must have a lot of fans not only around here, but all across the nation, as the Super Bowl 35 winning team is now in the finals of NFL Bracketology's Greatest Team of All Time. Over at NFL.com, the Ravens are facing the 1976 Oakland Raiders, led by QB Ken Stabler, wide receivers Fred Biletnikoff and Cliff Branch and TE Dave Casper.
The 9th seeded Ravens defeated the 3rd seeded 1984 San Francisco 49ers (59%-41%), while the 5th seeded Raiders barely edged the top-seeded Bears (51%-49%). No one, including most Ravens fans ever expected the 2000 squad that featured one of, if not the best defense ever but with a very suspect offense, to make it this far, especially with the great teams of the eras they ended up defeating in this mythical version of 'March Madness.'
Ravens fans are well aware of the 2000 team that featured Ray Lewis in his prime, a rookie RB named Jamal Lewis with a relatively unknown back-up (Priest Holmes), LT Jonathan Ogden, TE Shannon Sharper, DT Tony Siragusa, LB Peter Boulware, DE Michael McCrary, CB Chris McAlister and safety Rod Woodson.
In addition to the Raiders mentioned above, the left side of their offensive line included two future Hall of Famers Art Shell and Gene Upshaw. Other stars on that '76 Raiders team that finished the regular season 13-1 and won the Super Bowl included LB's Ted Hendricks and Phil Villipiano, DE John Matuzak, RB Mark van Eeghen and perhaps the best punter in NFL history, Ray Guy. The Raiders were coached by a demonstrative fat guy some of you may know, John Madden.
Voting continues at NFL Bracketology until Friday, March 30th at 5pm (ET). As of this writing, the 1976 Oakland Raiders lead the voting, 57% to 43%. For the Ravens to once again shock the world and win this fantasy match-up, you fans will need to vote early and often, as well as spread the word to stop Raider Nation by showing them what Raven Nation can band together and do as one!