Baltimore Ravens fans, including me, are still reeling from the awful loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional round of the playoffs. The end of season press conferences are done, the lockers are cleared out, and the organization is already planning for next year.
There are many reasons to look back on the 2010 season as a success.
The Ravens improved from 9-7 in the regular season last year to 12-4 this year. Unfortunately, the end result (second in the AFC North), was the same, a wild card spot in the playoffs.
The Ravens made it to the playoffs for the third year in a row, and have made the playoffs in six of the last ten years. They are also the only team in the National Football League to have won a playoff game in each of the last three years. By any standard but one (winning it all), that’s success.
If you listen to sports talk radio, though, it sounds like the Ravens finished the year with the Cleveland Browns’ record. There are calls to bench Joe Flacco, fire Cam Cameron, even replace John Harbaugh.
To that I say—be happy with what you have.
Since the expansion Browns returned that name to Cleveland in 1999, they have two winning seasons. They have played in one playoff game.
The Cincinnati Bengals in the 2000’s? Two winning seasons. Two playoff appearances, no playoff game wins.
The Steelers are the clear class of the AFC North in the last ten years, with eight winning seasons, seven playoff appearances and two Super Bowls.
Certainly there are areas for the Eagles to improve to get to where the Steelers are. Joe Flacco needs to continue his development. After having seemingly upgraded the offense in the off season, statistically the Ravens’ 2010 offense wasn’t as good as 2009. But the only statistic that matters is wins—but for a horrible performance in their last game of the season, the Ravens could be playing in the Super Bowl.
The Ravens are a great organization. Don’t let that one game tarnish the great season.