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Will Ravens Repeat As Champs?

Posted Feb 6, 2013

The odds aren't in the Ravens' favor, but Joe Flacco is already talking repeat.


Joe Flacco apparently isn’t taking too much time to bask in the glory of his first Super Bowl before turning his attention forward to next season.

The franchise quarterback has already talked to safety Ed Reed about going back-to-back as Super Bowl champions.

"Joe Flacco said ‘Repeat,’” Reed said at Tuesday’s celebration, relaying something Flacco hasn’t yet said publicly. “Here we go.”  

So just how good of a chance do the Ravens have at going back-to-back?

The odds aren’t in their favor.

The last team to win consecutive championships was the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. Since then, every team that has won the Super Bowl hasn’t even won a playoff game the following season.

Here’s a look at the last seven Super Bowl winners and what they’ve done the year after winning:

Year Team Following Season

2011

New York Giants

Missed Playoffs

2010

Green Bay Packers

Eliminated In First Round

2009

New Orleans Saints

Eliminated In First Round

2008

Pittsburgh Steelers

Missed Playoffs

2007

New York Giants

Eliminated In First Round

2006

Indianapolis Colts

Eliminated In First Round

2005

Pittsburgh Steelers

Missed Playoffs

In total, there have been eight teams in NFL history to repeat as Super Bowl champs, but the oddsmakers don’t like the Ravens as the early favorites heading into next season.

The 2013 Super Bowl odds have already been released by casinos in Las Vegas, and the Ravens are currently tied for the fifth favorite team to win Super Bowl XLVIII, with the Patriots currently the betting favorite.

Here are the top five:

New England Patriots (7/1 odds)
Denver Broncos (8/1)
San Francisco 49ers (8/1)
Green Bay Packers (10/1)
Baltimore Ravens (14/1)
Houston Texans (14/1)

The parity in today’s NFL has made it incredibly challenging to build dynasties to win multiple championships with the same core of players. Unlike other professional sports, the NFL has a strict salary cap that prevents teams from holding onto some of their marquee players and makes it tough to bring in expensive free agents.

But even with that said, the Ravens have been one of the most consistent franchises in the NFL since Head Coach John Harbaugh and Flacco arrived in 2008. When Harbaugh was first hired, Harbaugh talked about winning multiple Lombardi Trophies.

The Ravens are the only team to go to the playoffs and win a playoff game in each of the last five seasons.

The Ravens have a number of questions. Who will take over for Ray Lewis? What will happen with Reed and will they be able to keep Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams? But the Ravens have shown an ability to consistently reload talent and stay in title contention year after year.

The Ravens will likely look like a much different team next year. In addition to Lewis and Reed, there are questions about whether other veterans like center Matt Birk, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, left tackle Bryant McKinnie and defensive tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu will be back in Baltimore.

If some of those veterans end up retiring or going elsewhere, then the Ravens will turn to the young players on the roster to fill in the gaps, which would give the Ravens a much younger team next year. Overall, the Ravens were the eighth-oldest team in the NFL this year, according to the Football Outsiders.

The young players who could step into more prominent roles are linebacker Courtney Upshaw (23 years old), cornerback Jimmy Smith (24), center Gino Gradkowski (24), wide receiver Tandon Doss (23) and defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson (23). If they’re able to take the reins from some of the departing veterans, then the Ravens can avoid taking a step back.

The other consideration for Baltimore is that they will get some key pieces of their defense back after significant injuries this season.

Lardarius Webb (torn ACL) and Jameel McClain (neck contusion) will both return from season-ending injuries and are hoping to be back in time for the start of the season. Webb was playing at a Pro Bowl level before the injury and is a franchise cornerback. McClain is a mainstay in the middle of the defense and his return could help offset the departure of Lewis.

Terrell Suggs was never 100 percent this year after tearing his Achilles and then his biceps. When he was fully healthy in 2010, he was the most dominant player in the league, and he hopes to get back to that level next season

With young players stepping up and stars getting healthy again, the Ravens could be challenging for the Lombardi in 2013.

“They better look out for us, Baltimore,” Reed said.

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