In Super Bowl XLVII at the Louisiana Superdome, we saw something that we had never seen in the history of that series.
Brothers John and Jim Harbaugh faced each other as head coaches, with John’s Baltimore Ravens holding off Jim’s San Francisco 49ers, 34-31.
In 2013, we once again saw something we had never seen. Or should we say, it was what we didn’t see.
The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens lost their final two games to the New England Patriots (41-7) and Cincinnati Bengals (34-17) by a combined score of 75-24. And that meant for the first time under John Harbaugh, the Ravens would not be going to the playoffs.
In some ways, it was far from a shock considering the team’s offseason departures of a year ago. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to San Francisco, linebacker Ray Lewis and center Matt Birk retired and safety Ed Reed signed elsewhere. Add in a few other free-agent defections such as outside linebacker Paul Kruger and cornerback Cary Williams and you get the picture.
When it was all said and done, the Ravens fell to 8-8 and third place in the always-tough AFC North.
Still, there were some positive signs when it came to this new-look team a year ago. And some of those changes that began to pay off in 2013 may reap even bigger dividends this upcoming season.
This is the 17th part of a 32-team series in which we’ll look at the “if, and & but’s” of each team’s chances to make the postseason.
So, Baltimore will be in the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons…