|1996 Baltimore Ravens season|
|Head coach||Ted Marchibroda|
|Home field||Memorial Stadium|
|Division place||5th AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Did not qualify|
|Pro Bowlers||QB Vinny Testaverde|
FS Eric Turner
The 1996 season was the Baltimore Ravens' inaugural season in the National Football League and first under coach Ted Marchibroda. They played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.
Baltimore had remained without an NFL football franchise for 12 years after the Baltimore Colts relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1996, however, the NFL approved Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell's proposal to relocate the franchise 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. After Modell established the franchise in Baltimore, the team was named the "Baltimore Ravens" via a poll conducted by The Baltimore Sun as the team was assigned to play in the American Football Conference (AFC) Central Division; afterwards, over 50,000 tickets were sold for the entire season.
The Ravens would finish their first season with a 4–12 record under coach Ted Marchibroda, who coached the Colts before and after they relocated and has a 41–33 regular season record in Baltimore. 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. 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 previous team, the Colts. 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. The Ravens held second-half leads in ten of their final eleven games; they ultimately went 3–7 in games decided by one possession.
As of the 2021 off-season, Michael Jackson's 1,201 receiving yards and 14 touchdown receptions stands as franchise single-season records.
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).
Main article: 1996 NFL Draft
|1996 Baltimore Ravens draft|
|1||4||Jonathan Ogden * †||Offensive tackle||UCLA|
|1||26||Ray Lewis * †||Linebacker||Miami (FL)|
|5||153||Jermaine Lewis *||Wide receiver||Maryland|
|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|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|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|
|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|
|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.|
|(3) Pittsburgh Steelers||10||6||0||.625||344||257||L2|
|(5) Jacksonville Jaguars||9||7||0||.563||325||335||W5|
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).