Baltimore Ravens Helmet

The Baltimore Ravens Helmet History

While the Baltimore Ravens helmet has a short history spanning 24 years, it’s definitely an interesting one. Today, I’m going to fill you all in on the story of the team that abandoned the City of Cleveland for supposedly greener pastures in Baltimore, so I need to bust one myth right off the bat.

 

A Truth in the Matter

The Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens DO NOT share a history and the Browns franchise that was resurrected in 1999 as a result of the original team moving to Baltimore in 1996 is the same franchise that was founded in 1944, to begin play in 1946.

When the City of Cleveland sued the NFL over former owner Art Modell’s breach of contract in moving the team to Baltimore, Modell agreed to relinquish the Browns’ name, colors, and history behind in Cleveland so a new Browns team could form a few years down the road. Thus, the Baltimore Ravens were technically founded in 1996, simply using the former players and personnel of the old Cleveland Browns.

Therefore, the Cleveland Browns helmet IS NOT part of the Ravens’ helmet history and any blog that states otherwise has not done enough research. As I’m a Browns fan, you can definitely trust me more on this painful subject.

 

The Original Helmet

The Ravens’ original helmet consisted of a gold shield with a stylized letter ‘B’ written in black with two raven wings protruding from the top of the shield. The wordmark Ravens appeared at the top of the shield as well.

This helmet was used through the Ravens’ inaugural season in 1996 through 1998. However, an amateur artist named Frederick Bouchat submitted a draft of the design to the Maryland Stadium Authority upon learning about the city acquiring an NFL team for the first time since they lost their beloved Colts in 1984.

When the team selected a logo based on the one Bouchat sketched, he was not awarded credit and sued the team. Therefore, the court ruled in favor of Bouchat and while he received next to nothing in damages, the Ravens were forced to change their logo.

 

The New Helmet

The new and current helmet debuted in 1999, featuring a purple raven’s head with a ‘B’ written in gold and in the center. This logo has since won two Super Bowls and has become synonymous with success, as the Ravens have seen far more ups than downs since 1999.

While the logo has drawn criticisms from other NFL fan bases due to its cartoonish, outdated look, it remains hot among the Baltimore Ravens’ fan base.

 

Shop Baltimore Ravens gear at FansEdge!

 

My Take

The Ravens’ 1996-1998 logo, which they were forced to abandon after the 1998 season.

I’ve always advocated for the Ravens to change or at least update the current logo. When the team debuted in 1996, I was a fan of the logo despite being a fan of the old Browns. Sadly, the old helmet and logo will never return but hopefully a new logo will be in the works soon.

I’d love to see a more realistic raven and preferably without the ‘B.’ Something fiercer would be a good move, too, and perhaps more emphasis on the color black over purple, which will provide the team a more intimidating look.

If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to take a look at my Steelers’ helmet history from yesterday, as both articles are shorter due to the limited number of helmets and logos used by the two rival franchises throughout the years.

Related Article: History of the Baltimore Ravens Jersey

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10 comments

  1. I don’t think 25 years is a short period, but a long one if you ask me. Also I like the look of the previous helmet. Though I am not a sporty fan but I would like to keep a piece of history in my house occasionally.

    But, I love your post really, it is a very insightful and educating one.

    1. I never did until I turned twenty-five! I would do anything to get my hands on a mini-helmet featuring the old logo, but it’s a tough find. One day, I’ll get to it!

  2. You had me at Ravens! I happen to be an avid purple pride Baltimore Ravens die hard fan. As a native of Baltimore, I can assure you that you are absolutely correct in this fan being an avid supporter of the current logo. The cartoonish aspect of the logo is further displayed in our mascot(s) – Edgar, Allan, and Poe. Like all mascots, they get silly (as cartoon characters do) during the game. We love Edgar, Allan, and Poe for very obvious reasons. On another, rather purple, note – purple is not so fierce as you say. I can agree with that, but understand that Baltimore bleeds purple. We have purple pride, so our beloved Ravens’ logo can not loose the purple for a more “fierce” black.

    For now, let’s just get along (with your Browns) and agree to take the black and gold down. Deal?

    1. Hi, Rachael! I do like the purple, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve always thought of the raven as a darker entity, much like the Atlanta Falcons, who’ve since 2003 have incorporated way too much red. As a secondary color, purple will definitely work. And yes, I can definitely agree to take down the Steelers in 2019! With two young up and coming quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson, our teams will own the AFC North in due time.

  3. Interesting to know the history behind helmet and logo changes to such iconic teams. I love football and even though I am a Jaguars fan as well as a Texas boy I can appreciate your angst as a former Houston fan displaced for another city until the Texans brought a new name to South Texas. I like the Ravens purple, but agree the logo needs an update and being a contact sport it should strike fear into small children… OK, maybe not fear but should be BOLD!

    1. The purple and black color combo is one of the most epic in the NFL, but a cartoon-like caricature is something long since gone in pro sports leagues. The logo definitely needs an update, even if it’s just the ‘B’ logo. 

  4. Great article – I love finding out the backstory behind decisions to change logos or uniforms.  I actually completely forgot about the original Ravens helmets, and hadn’t heard the story about the artist and the lawsuit.  Fascinating stuff.

    I agree that the current logo could use a makeover, the bird doesn’t look nearly as ominous as you would think a raven should.

    Going to read the helmet histories of some other teams – I’m sure there’s a lot more interesting stories.

    1. Thanks, Jordan, and yes, they’re part of an almost forgotten history! The current logo is so cartoon-like for a team whose name should strike fear into opponents. The color scheme is fantastic, but the logo is subpar. 

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