20 Ravens Relics In 20 Years: 1996 TV Guide


"20 Ravens Relics In 20 Years" is a series celebrating the team's 20th anniversary that will tell the story behind 20 key objects in franchise history. The stories and photos of the relics will be unveiled before each 2015 game. Fans can view all of the items featured in our Ravens Relics series on permanent display at the Sports Legends Museum and in an interactive display on Ravens Walk before every home game.

The front lobby of Under Armour Performance Center is a bit like a trophy room. The two Lombardi Trophies sit behind glass under spotlights, framed newspaper clippings hang on the walls, and classic memorabilia from the team's 20-year history is on display.

Tucked away in one of the display cases, next to Hall of Famer Jonathon Ogden's jersey, is a copy of the TV Guide from Sept. 1996. The cover features the team's first quarterback Vinny Testaverde and Head Coach Ted Marchibroda.

The TV Guide is a tribute to that inaugural season, and it's also a reminder of how drastically the NFL media landscape has changed in 20 years.

"The media coverage was much different then," said Mike Gibbons, the executive director of Baltimore's Sports Legends Museum.

Sports cable television was still in its relative infancy, and digital coverage was almost nonexistent. DVR didn't exist and the TV Guides were important to keep track of when games would air. Local television, radio and newspaper were the dominant mediums to follow news of the team.

The Ravens played every home game at 1 p.m. that first season, which was actually a fairly big change compared to when the Colts were in town.

"We had a weird thing when the Colts played here, and that was called the Blue Laws," Gibbons said. "Because this was a Catholic community, Catholic church didn't get out in time to get to a 1 p.m. game, so the blue laws made our games start at 2 p.m."

The blue laws were repealed before Art Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore, allowing the Ravens to hold 1 p.m. kickoffs at Memorial Stadium. Those games were carried on NBC and FOX, which held the NFL broadcasting rights at the time.

The radio coverage in that first season was handled by Infinity Broadcasting, which broadcasted games on 101.9 FM and 1300 AM. The play-by-play voice of the Ravens was Scott Garceau and the color analyst was Bruce Cunningham.

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