The Baltimore Ravens were edged out by the 1976 Oakland Raiders in NFL.com's 'Bracketology' voting for the great team of all time in the Super Bowl era. The final tally had the Raiders just barely pulling out the victory by a margin of 50.4% to 49.6%.
The Ravens were a longshot to not only win the tournament, but even to make it through the first round of the 64-team tournament. Baltimore needed to defeat, in order, the 2001 New England Patriots, the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins, the 1991 Washington Redskins, the 1998 Denver Broncos and the 1984 San Francisco 49ers to reach the finals.
The voting opened with the Raiders enjoying a huge advantage with over 70% of the initial voting and the Ravens even took a slight lead going into today's final hours. Unfortunately, the Ravens could not hold onto the lead and while the final moments showed the voting deadlocked at 50% each, Oakland must have pulled it out in the final moments.
There will be those who accuse the league of a conspiracy, thinking it was almost ridiculous that the Ravens, regardless of having one of the league's best defenses in history, had such an anemic offense to even be considered among the best teams in the Super Bowl era.
Others will say it was a valiant effort, as it seemed to be the Ravens and their fans against the world, with almost every other team's fans voting for the Raiders, especially fueled by the Pittsburgh Steelers, envious that none of the great Steelers teams from the 1970's even made it as far as the quarter finals of the tournament.
So many Ravens fans sat in front of their computers and kept voting, reloading the page and voting over and over all throughout the tournament. The support that was discussed relentlessly on Baltimore Beatdown's Facebook page confirmed that Ravens fans are as dedicated as any in the entire league and despite the loss, deserve a ton of credit for the team's journey to the slimmest of margins to the eventual victors.