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20 Ravens Relics In 20 Years: First Playoff Program


It took just five seasons for the Baltimore Ravens to reach the postseason.

On Dec. 31, 2000, the Ravens played their first playoff game, at then PSINet Stadium, against the Denver Broncos. And it was definitely one to remember.

"First of all, it was about 20 below zero with this huge wind," Sports Legends Museum Executive Director Mike Gibbons recalled. "Everybody was all bundled up, but still there was this explosion of noise. It's the coldest I've ever been for a football game."

OK, Gibbons may be exaggerating a little (as storytelling goes). It was actually 25 degrees that day, but with 20-25 mph winds, it was 5 degrees with the wind chill.

The bitter cold didn't dampen Ravens fans' spirits, however.

The city had been waiting a long time for a playoff game. The last time Baltimore had an NFL team in the playoffs was in 1977 with the Colts.

"The city was ready to explode," Gibbons said.

"I remember sitting with my boy and saying, 'This is what it was like before with the Colts,' which was the loudest sound I'd ever heard before in my life, even to this day. That game was when we saw Ravens Stadium become what it is still today as one of the most difficult places to play in the NFL."

The Ravens jumped out to a lead on a 1-yard touchdown leap by running back Jamal Lewis, but the Broncos cut their lead to four with a field goal. Baltimore essentially put the game away on the next drive. Tight end Shannon Sharpe caught a deflected pass and scampered down the right sideline for a 58-yard score.

With the way Baltimore's defense was playing, an 11-point lead was plenty. Lewis polished off the 21-3 victory with a 27-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, giving the Ravens a win in their first playoff game in franchise history.

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