Ravens, Playoffs, Ho-hum

The Ravens have reached the playoffs in 7 of the last 10 years, an astounding number considering the strength of the AFC North (and Central pre-2002) and the lack of offensive talent that has been pattern of the team for most of those 10 years.

In this year, 2010, the Ravens are 11-4 with a game left to play. With only the 3-win Cincinnati Bengals remaining in the regular season, it’s a good assumption that the team will end the regular season 12-4. That number is important for two reasons:

  • 12-4 was the record of the 2000 Superbowl Ravens who snuck in as a wild-card only because, then-division rival Tennessee had a 13-3 record, and
  • Only one other playoff run has come off of a better record (2006 at 13-3)

But as a Baltimore fan who has the good fortune of supporting a team going into their third consecutive playoff appearance with a third-year head coach and a third-year quarterback, I feel a bit like an Atlanta Braves fan.

The Atlanta Braves visited the postseason 14 consecutive times from 1991-2005 (excluding the 1994 strike-shortened year) and it became “normal” to Atlanta baseball fans. So normal, in fact, that Atlanta homegames in the postseason were often not well attended. Braves fans expected the postseason!

Here’s the problem with the Braves Nation though. They expected the playoffs but didn’t expect to win. The reason was… they only won the World Series once (1995)!

Yesterday, with a workman-like victory over the Browns, Ravens nation should have been ecstatic to get to the playoffs. Imagine what is happening in Kansas City right now with a Chiefs playoff clinch? What would happen in Buffalo if that team, that is so close to being competitive, actually visited the dance?

To us, the playoffs are meh. We’ve been here. We’ve done that. We’ve won division titles. We’ve made it as a wildcard team. We even won a Superbowl.

But we need another Superbowl. Soon. I can sympathize a bit with the Eagles who made it to the dance so many times in the middle of last decade, but struggled to reach the ultimate game (or win it).

I love the fact we’re in the playoffs but you’re going to have to give me more to get excited about because right now, it looks like a cliché road to the playoffs with another cliché cast of characters. It looks like the road, for Baltimore, will go through Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and New England… We’ve seen this story before. I need a different result.