The Baltimore Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks are so far away from each other geographically, yet they are so close when it comes to the idea of building a tough football team. The Seahawks are known for being a team that prides themselves on being physical on offense and defense with a quarterback who can hold his own. The Ravens, up until this season, made their mark that way every season under head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco since 2008 and even longer than that if you include the Brian Billick years since 1999.
Now, the Ravens still have beliefs in that philosophy, but with the 4-8 record due to injuries and some questionable officiating, their image as a franchise in terms of fear has taken a little bit of a hit. But not enough to erase the 163 wins the franchise has accumulated since 2000 which is the fifth most in the NFL during that time, not enough to erase the 10 playoff appearances and the 15 playoff wins the Ravens accumulated in that time either.
Which is why Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll still has a lot of respect for the Ravens organization. One bad season can't erase when successful football teams have accomplished as he discussed via BaltimoreRavens.com:
I have tremendous respect for what these guys have been through over the years, their accomplishments, their style. Ozzie [Newsome] is incredible. John [Harbaugh] is an amazing coach. He has done everything in the style that I respect as much as I can - tough, physical, hard-nosed, consistent, upfront, straight-up guy, the whole thing. I hold them in the highest of regard, because they've been a team to deal with for a long time, and that's what I take the most pride in."
Not only does Carroll have a lot of respect for the Ravens, Seahawks general manager John Schneider expressed his respect for the Ravens early in the spring during the time of the 2015 NFL draft as noted via Seahawks.com:
An interesting nugget to stem from Schneider's conversation dated back to his early days at the helm in Seattle, when he and Carroll came to the conclusion that the way the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens played was the NFL "standard" they would strive for.
The Steelers and Ravens, teams that reside in the AFC North, have had one of the League's most physical rivalries since before Schneider and Carroll came to Seattle. Schneider said the Seahawks' goal was to target "smart, tough, and reliable" football players to build a team that could "play you anywhere" - at home or on the road.
The Seahawks certainly have the Ravens respect as well. In fact, even though they may not admit it, I'm sure that there are people within the Ravens organization and obviously Ravens fans who were rooting for the Seahawks in Super Bowl 40 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and in Super Bowl 49 against the New England Patriots.
This was the number one game I was looking forward to seeing before the season started, but with all of the injuries the Ravens have sustained, there won't be a lot to tell in terms of where Baltimore matches up against one of the NFL's elite teams.