2000 Ravens: Greatest Defense Ever

Chris Schisler

Last night the NFL kicked off its season with the Seattle Seahawks running over the Green Bay Packers. Chris Collinsworth said in the broadcast that the Seahawks defense was one of the greatest of all time , along the 1985 Bears. He failed to mention the real greatest defense if all time, the 2000 Ravens. He claimed that Seattle set record for the fewest points allowed in a 16 game season. They gave up 231 points. The 1985 Bears legendary defense gave up 198 points. The not mentioned Ravens 2000 defense gave up 165 points. The most important statistic about defensive football is points allowed. The Ravens were the kings of this statistic. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens was the greatest unit of football players I have ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind, not even a sliver of doubt, that the Ravens historic defense was the greatest of all time. Mr. Collinsworth, the Ravens are the team that you should compare defenses to. And Mr. Collinsworth, no defense really comes that close.

The Ravens defense had more to overcome than any of the other defenses. The Ravens offense was often dysfunctional. The team went the entire month of October without a touchdown. The offense put the Ravens defense in more bad spots than good. I’m not comparing Jim McMahon and Russell Wilson to Joe Montana but they were certainly better than Trent Dilfer. If you want to throw the Steelers great defenses in the mix, Terry Bradshaw is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I mean no disrespect to that Ravens offense. Dilfer showed heart and righted the ship with the help of Jamal Lewis and Shannon Sharpe. However, no defense was ever asked to do more than the 2000 Ravens. When you add Ray Lewis’s regained freedom after a murder trial, it is absolutely amazing to think of what that team went through.

The Ravens defensive line was both mammoth and quick. Tony Siragoosa and Sam Adams were dominant defensive tackles. Michael McCrary was one of the toughest defensive ends to ever play football. Rob Burnett was as consistent as anybody could be on the other side. The 2000 Ravens owned the line of scrimmage like no other defense ever has.

The linebacking group was an unbelievable collection of talent. Ray Lewis scared every offensive coordinator in football with his revolutionary talent. He was a bulky unstoppable force that reigned from sideline to sideline. Peter Boulware was one of my favorite all time Ravens. Boulware and Jamie Sharper were great outside linebackers. The size and speed of the Ravens front seven is unmatchable. Running the football was next to impossible, and thanks to great cornerback play passing was no easy job.

I have no qualms in saying that Chris McAlister was one of the greatest shutdown cornerbacks of all time. People remember McAlister for his ugly ending of his career but in his prime he was phenomenal. He was a true shut down corner (and great in run defense, a rare attribute for a cornerback). Duane Starks was very good too. Its not as if teams could just stay away from McAlister because Starks made them pay. Rod Woodson provided great veteran guidance and it bothers Steelers fans so much that he got his only ring in Baltimore (An added bonus). Kim Herring was a speedy enforcer at strong safety.

The Baltimore Ravens gave up a record low 970 rushing yards; which beat the previous record by 186 yards. Another record they shattered was for fumble recoveries, which the 2000 Ravens had 26 of. The Ravens only finished 7th in pass defense but this was because they made opponents so one dimensional. The Ravens had 23 interceptions. When you add this to the unfathomable 26 fumble recoveries my case is completed.

The Ravens defense was the most dominant defense in the history of football. I guess its the famous Baltimore chip on the shoulder that compelled me to write this. When your team fails to get recognition over and over again it drives you up the wall as any Ravens fan will tell you. So to one of Baltimore’s most annoying people to deal with (Chris Collinsworth of course) I ask how do you like us now?

References
Stats used were gathered from NFL.com and Wikipedia

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