clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Football Outsiders ranks the 2000 Ravens as the 26th best team in the last 30 years

Too low or just right?

Super Bowl X Billick

ESPN Insider, with the help of Football Outsiders DVOA advanced metrics system, has decided to rank the best offense, defense, special teams, and overall teams in the last thirty years every day this week. They ranked the best thirty defenses over the last three decades a few days ago, and six Baltimore Ravens defenses were among them. Which is a clear testament to what the team has accomplished in its 21-year history on that side of the ball.

On Thursday, it was time for the people at Football Outsiders to list the best teams over the last thirty years according to their DVOA system. One Super Bowl winning Ravens team made it, but three teams Baltimore beat in route to winning their two Super Bowls are ranked ahead.

The 2000 Ravens once again land on one of these lists, they were No. 3 on the best defenses ranking, as they were named the No. 26th best team in the last thirty years with a score of +32.9 percent. The Ravens only found themselves ahead of the 1999 St. Louis Rams, 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2006 San Diego Chargers, and the 2010 Steelers. Football Outsiders stated:

"Baltimore had a DVOA of 24.1 percent in the regular-season, which ranks No. 95 in the past 30 years, but the dominant playoff run moves the Ravens into the top 30."

This is probably a fair ranking, although you could make the case they at least belong in the top-25. This was a team that could match up face-to-face with any offense in NFL history thanks to having one of the best defenses this business has ever seen.

The opposite side of the ball, however, was a different story. That offense did not score a touchdown for the entire month of October, switched quarterbacks from Tony Banks to Trent Dilfer, and relied on kicker Matt Stover for points. Jamal Lewis was the guy for the 2000 Baltimore offense, and he was only a rookie at the time. It also might be important to note that Dilfer is regarded as one of the worst quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl, whether that's fair or not.

The 2000 Ravens defense had to be great and they proved it by having the Defensive Player Of The Year in Ray Lewis and a unit that only allowed only one touchdown throughout the playoffs. The defense and special teams also scored a combined 28 points that postseason. Those feats are astounding in today’s NFL, and are accomplishments you might not see for a long time.

However, according to Football Outsiders, the 2000 Ravens were still not the best team that season, and neither were the 2012 Ravens championship squad. Football Outsiders ranked the 2012 New England Patriots and 2012 Denver Broncos together for No's. 19 and 18, and the 2000 Tennessee Titans followed at No. 17. Below is what Football Outsiders stated for all three teams:

19. 2012 New England Patriots and 18. 2012 Denver Broncos. +34.8 percent and +34.9 percent. "Its not like the Baltimore Ravens had a bad team in 2012- they ranked eighth overall in DVOA-but going on the road to beat Denver and New England was a phenomenal pair of back-to-back upsets. The Patriots combined the No. 12 offense in DVOA history with a top-five special teams and an average defense in 2012. The Broncos combined the second best-offense of 2012 with a top five defense and average special teams."

17. 2000 Tennessee Titans. +35.2 percent. "What Super Bowl Losers Curse? The Titans were the real best team of 2000 until the Ravens upset them 24-10 in the divisional round in a game in which the Titans outgained the Ravens 317 yards to 134 and turned the ball over only once. The Titans had an average offense but the top defense of the regular season and top-five special teams."

Honestly, yes the 2012 Broncos and Patriots were the better teams on paper. Especially the Broncos in Peyton Manning's first year on the team. Many experts picked them to win the Super Bowl, and Denver had absolutely demolished the Ravens in Baltimore a few weeks earlier. When that Divisional Playoff matchup was set, a lot of national media pundits threw a ticker tape parade awaiting the arrival of another Manning-Brady AFC Championship Game. The Ravens win in Denver was indeed a massive upset, and has left many analysts to this day still scratching their heads and questioning how Baltimore pulled it off.

As far as the win in New England goes, maybe it wasn't such an upset after all. The Ravens did beat the Patriots Week 3 of that season 31-30, and they were a Lee Evans dropped pass away from beating New England in the AFC Championship Game the year before. Not to mention, after how the Ravens won in Denver everybody had to admit there was something special going on that wasn't going to stop Baltimore's ride. Things like that just happen in sports. At the time, the Ravens knew how to beat New England, and now they have to figure that out again.

Aside from the offensive side of the ball, the Ravens and Titans were pretty evenly matched at the time. Having Steve McNair in Tennessee separated the two teams offensively, while both had good special-teams and a great defense. That playoff game was a hard-hitting slugfest which saw the Ravens just make the big plays when they had to. Plays like the Anthony Mitchell’s 90-yard touchdown return of a blocked Al Del Greco field goal attempt, and Dilfer's 56-yard pass to tight end Shannon Sharpe setting up a Jamal Lewis touchdown come to mind. Football Outsiders brought up the Titans only having one turnover, fans of the Ravens and Titans know all too well what that turnover was, as Ray Lewis intercepted McNair and took it to the house for the game-sealing touchdown. Also, the Ravens beat the "real best team of 2000" not once, but twice in their own building when many thought it couldn't be done.

That's the Baltimore Ravens for you.

Do you agree with Football Outsiders analysis?