1996 Baltimore Ravens season
OwnerArt Modell
Head coachTed Marchibroda
Defensive coordinatorMarvin Lewis
Home fieldMemorial Stadium
Division place5th AFC Central
Playoff finishDid not qualify
Pro BowlersQB Vinny Testaverde
FS Eric Turner

The 1996 season was the Baltimore Ravens' inaugural season in the National Football League. They played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens were officially a new franchise, but they retained a large portion of the roster of the 1995 Cleveland Browns team, as well as front office staff and some members of the coaching staff. Due to technically, but not officially, being the previous season's Browns team under a new name, they did not receive the number 1 overall draft selection or have an expansion draft as a true expansion franchise would.

Baltimore had remained without an NFL football franchise for 12 years after the Baltimore Colts relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana.[1] In 1996, however, the NFL approved Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell's proposal to relocate the existing Browns organization to Baltimore, although the records and name of the Browns would remain in Cleveland, Ohio and the Baltimore franchise would officially be an expansion franchise.[2] After Modell established the franchise in Baltimore, the team was named the "Baltimore Ravens" via a poll conducted by The Baltimore Sun. Because the Browns were temporarily deactivated under the terms of the settlement (they resumed play in 1999), the Ravens assumed the Browns' place in the American Football Conference (AFC) Central Division.[3] More than 50,000 season tickets were sold.

Modell decided not to retain 1995 Browns coach Bill Belichick, who was fired. He instead hired former Baltimore Colts coach Ted Marchibroda. Marchibroda had previously been in his second stint coaching the Colts, guiding them to the 1995 AFC Championship Game, but could not come to terms on a contract extension in Indianapolis. Modell came to terms with Marchibroda only six days after he left the Colts organization to bring him back to Baltimore.

As an organization, the Ravens failed to improve on the 1995 Browns' 5–11 record. They finished their first season with a 4–12 record under Marchibroda, who would finish with a 41–33 regular season record in Baltimore.[4] At the Ravens’ first-ever regular season game, a then-record attendance of 64,124 was present in their win against the Oakland Raiders, 19–14, on September 1 at home.[5] Their second victory came in Week 5, against the New Orleans Saints at home, in which they became 2–2. In Week 7, the Ravens traveled to Indianapolis to play Baltimore's (and Marchibroda's) previous team. They, however, lost 26–21 and fell to 2–4. Their only other two victories were recorded at home in Week 9 against the St. Louis Rams and Week 14 against the Steelers.

Although not a winning season, quarterback Vinny Testaverde and safety Eric Turner were voted into the Pro Bowl, and wide receivers Michael Jackson and Derrick Alexander became the fourth receiving duo to surpass the 1,000-yard receiving mark.[5] The Ravens held second-half leads in ten of their final eleven games; they ultimately went 3–7 in games decided by one possession.

Michael Jackson's 1,201 receiving yards is 2nd in franchise history after Mark Andrews in 2021, and his 14 touchdown receptions still stands as a franchise single-season record.[6]


Prior to the season, the Ravens hired several coaches, including head coach Ted Marchibroda and defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Offensive guard Jeff Blackshear was acquired for a future 4th round draft pick. The Ravens traded 3rd, 4th, and 7th round draft picks for the Broncos’ second round selection (#55 overall).

NFL draft

Main article: 1996 NFL Draft

1996 Baltimore Ravens draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 4 Jonathan Ogden *   Offensive tackle UCLA
1 26 Ray Lewis *   Linebacker Miami (FL)
2 55 DeRon Jenkins  Cornerback Tennessee
5 153 Jermaine Lewis *  Wide receiver Maryland
6 172 Dexter Daniels  Linebacker Florida
6 186 James Roe  Wide receiver Norfolk State
7 238 Jon Stark  Quarterback Trinity International
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




1996 Baltimore Ravens staff

Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning


1996 Baltimore Ravens roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists
  • -- Jon Stark QB (PUPTooltip Physically unable to perform)

Practice squad

53 active, 1 inactive, 4 practice squad

Rookies in italics




Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue
1 August 3 Philadelphia Eagles W 17–9 1–0 Memorial Stadium
2 August 10 at New York Giants W 37–27 2–0 Giants Stadium
3 August 17 Green Bay Packers L 15–17 2–1 Memorial Stadium
4 August 23 at Buffalo Bills W 37–14 3–1 Rich Stadium

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 September 1 Oakland Raiders W 19–14 1–0 Memorial Stadium 64,124
2 September 8 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 17–31 1–1 Three Rivers Stadium 57,241
3 September 15 at Houston Oilers L 13–29 1–2 Astrodome 20,082
4 Bye
5 September 29 New Orleans Saints W 17–10 2–2 Memorial Stadium 61,063
6 October 6 New England Patriots L 38–46 2–3 Memorial Stadium 63,569
7 October 13 at Indianapolis Colts L 21–26 2–4 RCA Dome 56,978
8 October 20 at Denver Broncos L 34–45 2–5 Mile High Stadium 70,453
9 October 27 St. Louis Rams W 37–31 (OT) 3–5 Memorial Stadium 60,256
10 November 3 Cincinnati Bengals L 21–24 3–6 Memorial Stadium 60,743
11 November 10 at Jacksonville Jaguars L 27–30 3–7 Jacksonville Municipal Stadium 64,628
12 November 17 at San Francisco 49ers L 20–38 3–8 3Com Park 51,596
13 November 24 Jacksonville Jaguars L 25–28 (OT) 3–9 Memorial Stadium 57,384
14 December 1 Pittsburgh Steelers W 31–17 4–9 Memorial Stadium 51,822
15 December 8 at Cincinnati Bengals L 14–21 4–10 Riverfront Stadium 43,022
16 December 15 at Carolina Panthers L 16–27 4–11 Ericcson Stadium 70,075
17 December 22 Houston Oilers L 21–24 4–12 Memorial Stadium 52,704

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.


AFC Central
(3) Pittsburgh Steelers 10 6 0 .625 344 257 L2
(5) Jacksonville Jaguars 9 7 0 .563 325 335 W5
Cincinnati Bengals 8 8 0 .500 372 369 W3
Houston Oilers 8 8 0 .500 345 319 W1
Baltimore Ravens 4 12 0 .250 371 441 L3



  1. ^ "Baltimore Ravens History (1946–1984)". Baltimoreravens.com. Archived from the original on February 11, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  2. ^ "Art Modell Baltimoreravens.com Profile". Baltimoreravens.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010. Modell purchased the Cleveland Browns for what was an unprecedented price of $4 million in 1961, and three decades later, in February 1996, he brought an NFL franchise back to Baltimore. For Art and his club, the move was not an easy one to make – and it was not easy for the team's fans to see their team go. Knowing this, Modell did not hesitate to leave the fans of Cleveland a legacy. He announced that he would give the name "Browns" to Cleveland for a future team. He also left the team's colors (orange and brown) and the rich and storied" 49-year history (1946–1995).
  3. ^ "1996 NFL Standings". Pro-football-reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on February 11, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  4. ^ "Ted Marchibroda Profile". Pro-football-reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Baltimore Ravens History (1996)". Baltimoreravens.com. Archived from the original on February 11, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  6. ^ Baltimore Ravens Single-Season Receiving Leaders
  7. ^ "1996 Baltimore Ravens Draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "1996 Baltimore Ravens starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  9. ^ 1996 Baltimore Ravens schedule and results
  10. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 291