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While the logo has drawn criticisms from other NFL fan bases due to its cartoonish, outdated look, it remains hot among the Baltimore Ravens’ fan base.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