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On March 29, 1996, the Ravens Name Was Born

Team relocated from Cleveland but left Browns name

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — When the new Baltimore NFL team was looking for a name, ownership wanted to get the local fans involved.

So, the franchise asked the Maryland community to vote for the moniker.

In a poll conducted by The Baltimore Sun, the name Ravens was unveiled on March 29, 1996, by an overwhelming 21,108 votes. The Americans (5,597) and Marauders (5,583) were distant second and third.

"The first promise we made was that we'd bring this [naming the team] back to the fans in some way," David Modell, son of owner Art Model, said at the time. "That was important to us."

The name Ravens was derived from the poem, "The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe, who was born in Boston but lived and died in Baltimore. The name "Ravens" also was an effective complement to the other professional sports franchise in town, the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball. 

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In June 1996, the Baltimore Ravens unveiled their colors — black, purple and metallic gold. The new uniforms were modeled by quarterback Vinny Testaverde, defensive end Rob Burnett and wide receiver Michael Jackson. 


The original logo was the letter "B" inside a shield with wings to represent the city of Baltimore. After a copyright dispute, the team adopted the bird logo in 1999 and it's still being used today. 

When the franchise relocated from Cleveland, the name "Browns" was left behind so that city could resurrect that name with a new franchise. 

The Ravens had initially contacted Indianapolis about taking back the name "Colts" for when the team was in Baltimore, but the request was declined.

Thus, the Ravens were born.