Not only did the Baltimore Ravens win their first AFC North title in six seasons and reach the postseason for the first time in three years in 2018, but the team unveiled three new uniform combinations, wearing 10 variations total.
Now that the 2018 season is over, I could be spending my time covering things like the Ravens’ decision to promote run game coordinator Greg Roman to offensive coordinator, replacing Marty Mornhinweg. Instead, I’m writing about the real important stuff here – the uniforms. Below are my post-2018 Ravens uniform rankings, where I’ll analyze reach uniform and look back at a top moment the Ravens had wearing each ensemble.
Time to get fashionable.
#1: Purple jersey, white pants
You can’t go against the classics. Sure, the black jerseys were a huge hit when they first got released, but the Ravens wear them three times a year now and the occasion doesn’t feel as special. Plus, a number of teams in the NFL (Steelers, Bengals, Jaguars, Raiders, Eagles, Saints, Falcons, Panthers, and Cardinals) either feature black as their home jersey color or have a black alternate like the Ravens do. Purple is the Ravens’ primary team color and what makes them unique, as the Minnesota Vikings are the only other team in the NFL who’s main team color is purple.
The purple jersey/white pants combination has been the Ravens primary home uniform dating back to the late 1990’s. However, the team only wore this classic combination twice this season – week 3 against the Broncos and for the Wild Card playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Everything about the uniform is clean. The black and purple stripe down the pants compliments the purple jersey well, and the black socks help balance out the black helmet.
Top moment: The Ravens have hosted three playoff games wearing this uniform, but they only one they won was during the 2000 Super Bowl run when Baltimore played the Denver Broncos in the Wild Card round on December 31, 2000. A crazy play happened in the second quarter when Trent Dilfer threw a pass to Jamal Lewis, who couldn’t secure the catch. When two Denver defenders got past tight end Shannon Sharpe and took Lewis to the ground, the collision sent the football into the air. Luckily for the Ravens, Sharpe caught the ball when it came back down and took it to the house for a 58-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 14-3.
The Ravens won the game 21-3 behind the Ravens historic defense, who limited Denver to 177 total yards.
#2: Black jersey, white pants
It’s no secret that the black jerseys are the favorites for many Ravens fans, and the all-black uniforms take the cake as the favorite uniform for that group of people. Don’t get me wrong, the all-black uniforms are great, but it’s too much black. The black jersey and white pants combination is cleaner.
Although the black jerseys made their debut during the 2003 season, this combination didn’t show up until the John Harbaugh era began in 2008 and has been in-use since, with the exceptions being the 2014 and 2016 seasons. The Ravens wore this combination in week 9 when the Steelers defeated the Ravens 23-16 in what would end up being Joe Flacco‘s last start as a Raven.
Top moment: The first time the Ravens broke out this uniform combination was on December 7, 2008 for a beltway battle against the Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football. Ed Reed went off in that game. Shortly after the opening kickoff, Jason Campbell was intercepted by Reed. About five minutes later, Reed scored a touchdown after picking up a ball Clinton Portis had fumbled and running it back 22 yards and scoring. Reed added a second interception with two minutes left in the game, finishing with three tackles along with his three total turnovers and touchdown.
#3 – White jersey, white pants
As I said earlier, you can’t top the classics. In the early days, the all whites became the Ravens primary road uniform. When Harbaugh arrived in Baltimore, black pants took over for the majority of road games, but the Ravens still break these out a few times a season. This year, we saw the all-white look in week 1 against Buffalo, week 5 at Cleveland, and week 16 versus the Chargers. The Ravens convincingly beat the Bills and the Chargers, but failed to score a touchdown versus Cleveland in a 12-9 overtime loss.
I would rank the white jersey/black pants combination higher, but to me the Ravens black pants look too much like yoga pants. The white, purple, and color rush pants all have a stripe running down the side of the leg, but for whatever reason the black pants do not. The lack of consistency is the problem I have with them and that’s why the black pant combos will fall on my list.
Top moment: How could I not include a moment from Super Bowl 35 here? The Ravens wore this combination in Tampa Bay for their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history against the New York Giants. The Ravens won the game 34-7 behind their #1 defense, who did not allow the Giants to score a touchdown as New York only mustered 152 yards of offense.
In the second half, the Giants scored their only touchdown on a 97-yard kickoff return from Ron Dixon to make it a 17-7 ballgame with 3:31 left in the third quarter. But that glimmer of hope was immediately wiped away when Jermaine Lewis took the ensuing kickoff back 84 yards to extend the Ravens lead back to 17.
The Giants weren’t going to score on offense. If Dixon hasn’t broke free on that kick return, the Ravens would probably be the only team in NFL history to shut out an opponent in a Super Bowl.
#4 – Color Rush
The NFL started their color rush initiative in 2015, but the Ravens did not participate until the 2016 season when they debuted their color rush uni’s on a Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore has won this combination twice since, most recently in week 11 in a 34-17 win over the Raiders.
There are quite a few hideous color rush uniforms around the NFL, but the Ravens arguably have the best. I’m not sure if it’s something in the stitching or if the shade of purple is different, but the Ravens color rush jerseys are slightly brighter than their regular purple jersey. They look particularly nice under the M&T Bank Stadium lights for a primetime game. The numbers on the jersey are gold, which is another solid touch that’s different than the normal purple jerseys. The socks are also purple, different from the normal black socks that the Ravens wear with every other uniform.
Top moment: Against the Raiders in November, the Ravens defense was on the field in the fourth quarter defending a 10-point lead. When Derek Carr dropped back to pass on fourth down, Matthew Judon got around the right side of the Oakland offensive line and strip-sacked Carr. The ball rolled forward a few feet until Terrell Suggs scooped it up. At 36-years-old, Suggs somehow out-ran Marcell Ateman all the way to the end-zone for the Ravens final touchdown of the game.
#5: Black jersey, black pants
The all-black uniforms made their first appearance in 2004 and have by far been the most common combination used with the alternate tops. The all-black combo was not seen in the first two years of Harbaugh’s tenure but made their triumphant return in 2010 against the New Orleans Saints. The all-black uniform is another combination that looks best under the night sky. Perhaps another reason of why Baltimore loves the all-black is because it encapsulates everything the Colts uniforms are not, which is white and shiny.
Top moment: The Ravens wore this uniform in week 11 this season for Lamar Jackson‘s first NFL start. Jackson did not score a touchdown through the air or on the ground, but he finished as the Ravens leading rusher with 119 yards on 26 carries. Add in 150 yards through the air and Jackson left M&T Bank Stadium with 169 yards of total offense. We all know what happened from there – the Ravens went 6-1 down the stretch and reached the postseason for the first time since 2014.
#6 – White jersey, purple pants
2018 featured a whole new offensive scheme for the Ravens, but something else that made it’s debut during the season was the Ravens new purple pants with black/white/black stripes down the side. These purple pants are slightly different than the color rush pants, as the stripe pattern on those pants goes white/gold/white. The Ravens broke the new purple pants out three times this season – on the road against the Bengals (week 2), Titans (week 6) and Chiefs (week 14) – going 1-2 in this outfit.
I’m a big fan of this look. I wasn’t sure if the shade of purple the Ravens use in their color scheme would be too dark or too bright to make sets of pants with, but the Ravens got it right. The pants compliment the purple jersey numbers. The black stripe and sock duo line up well with the black helmets. Since the Ravens wore this combination on the road more often than the traditional white-on-white look, I’m assuming the team likes the purple pants too.
Top moment: Since the Ravens went 1-2 wearing this new look, the biggest moment had to be the defense tallying 11 sacks against the Titans in a 21-0 Ravens shutout win. Za’Darius Smith led the unit with three and a half sacks, Patrick Onwuasor racked up two, Judon, Suggs, Tony Jefferson, Kenny Young, and Chris Wormley each had one, and Michael Pierce notched half a sack. Marcus Mariota‘s offense had no chance on that October day as the Ravens finished the game with 12 tackles-for-loss. The 11 sacks set a single game franchise record for the Ravens. Perhaps the sweetest part of the whole thing was that this dominance came against a Titans coaching staff with former Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees on it.
#7: White jersey, black pants
When the Ravens arrived in Baltimore in 1996, they wore black pants with both their home and away jerseys during the inaugural season. After 1997 the black pants went away for awhile until the Ravens started wearing the alternate all-black uniforms in 2004. But up until 2008, the stripe-less black pants had not been worn with any other jersey. When Flacco and Harbaugh made their regular season debut together on September 7, 2008, the Ravens broke out the new black pants with white jerseys. This look became the go-to set for all away contests until 2011 when the all whites started to make sporadic appearances again.
Like the white jersey/purple pants uniform, the Ravens broke the white-on-black pattern three times in 2018 – week four against the Steelers, week 8 against the Panthers, and week 13 in Atlanta versus the Falcons. The black pants were more successful with the whiter jerseys than the purple pants, as the Ravens went 2-1 with this look.
Top moment: The Ravens won Super Bowl 47 wearing this uniform and I would pick a play from that game to go down as the best moment, but nothing can top the ‘Mile High Miracle‘ three weeks prior in the divisional round against the Broncos. Baltimore trailed Denver 35-28 with 43 second left in regulation, facing 3rd-and-3. Flacco dropped back on the frozen Denver grass, stepped up in the pocket and launched a deep bomb down the right sideline. Broncos safety Rahim Moore horribly misplayed the ball in the air, and it dropped right into the arms of Jacoby Jones, who dashed into the endzone for a 70-yard touchdown.
After Justin Tucker‘s successful extra point attempt tied the game up at 35, the two teams went into overtime and eventually double overtime. Baltimore pulled away less than two minutes into the second overtime period when Tucker’s 47-yard field goal gave the Ravens a 38-35 win and a trip to the AFC Championship game.
#8: Purple jersey, purple pants
The Ravens wore the new purple pants with the home purple jersey just once this season, week 7 against the Saints at M&T Bank Stadium. Unfortunately, the Ravens lost that game 24-23 after Tucker missed what would have been a game-tying extra point with 24 seconds left in regulation. It marked Tucker’s first missed extra point attempt in his career (233 tries).
This uniform looks extremely similar to the color rush set, with the main differences being the white jersey numbers, the stripe pattern on the pants, and the black socks. I don’t like this look as much as I like the color rush uniform, but it’s not bad. It’s about what you would expect from an all-purple look when you’re working with white and black as the other colors.
Top moment: Since the Ravens have only worn this uniform once in a game that turned into a loss, the best moment would have to be John Brown‘s 14-yard touchdown reception from Flacco with less than a minute remaining in the game. We all know what happened next, but that was a clutch moment for an offense that needed it.
#9: Black jersey, purple pants
Like the aforementioned all-purples, the debut of the black jersey/purple pants uniform in week 17 against the Browns was the only time this combination has ever been worn. When the purple pants came out for the first time against the Bengals in week 2, I immediately wondered how they would look with the black jerseys. I thought that would end up being my favorite look, but after seeing it for myself I think it’s the worst look with the alternate black tops. There’s just too much going on. None of the Ravens uniforms look bad, but having the jerseys, pants, and jersey numbers all different colors is very hard to pull off.
Top moment: How could C.J. Mosley‘s game-sealing interception on fourth down with 1:06 left not be the top moment from the only game featuring these uniforms? The Ravens led the Browns 26-24 late in the fourth quarter, needing a win to clinch their first playoff berth in three years and their first division championship in six seasons. The Browns were driving down the field, picking up two first downs and entering Ravens territory. After three incompletions from Cleveland rookie sensation Baker Mayfield, the first-year quarterback out of Oklahoma dropped back again on fourth down. With Ravens racing into the backfield, Mayfield threw the ball to his left. The ball was tipped and intercepted by Mosley, who got up and ran to the other end of the field, where his teammates celebrated with him. Moments later fireworks lit up the sky as Charm City celebrated a long-awaited return to the postseason.
#10: Purple jersey, black pants
Purple jerseys and black pants was Baltimore’s first home uniform in 1996, but after the inaugural season the Ravens went to white pants with the home jerseys. We saw the return of the purple jersey/black pants look in 2010 when the Ravens hosted the Steelers on Sunday Night Football. The purple jersey/white pants pattern continued as the Ravens primary home uniform, but throughout recent seasons the Ravens have started to wear this combination more often and even for two playoff games against the Texans in 2012 and the Colts in 2013. Baltimore only broke this set out once this season on a rainy Sunday against the Buccaneers. The Ravens came out with a sloppy 20-12 win.
I’m docking this uniform down to #10 because white or purple pants compliment the purple home jersey better. If the Ravens are going to use stripes on their pants, a stripe should be included on every color of pants.
Top moment: The most memorable game with this selection had to be Ray Lewis‘s last game at M&T Bank Stadium – the Wild Card game against the Colts on January 6, 2013. Two weeks prior the Ravens had clinched the AFC North division for the second straight time, reaching the postseason for the fifth year in a row. But they had to do so without Lewis for the majority of the season – the eventual Hall-Of-Fame linebacker had torn his biceps tendon in a week 6 contest against the Dallas Cowboys. That injury forced Lewis to miss the last 10 regular season games and endure a grueling rehab process.
In the days leading up to the Wild Card round, Lewis, then 37, announced that the 2012-13 playoffs would be the “last ride” of his career. On Wild Card Saturday, the #3-seeded Houston Texans defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, who held the #6 seed. This meant that no matter what happened throughout the rest of the AFC playoffs, the Ravens would not get another home game after Wild Card weekend. Ravens fans would only have one more chance to see their hero in Lewis play at home.
On that sunny Sunday, M&T Bank Stadium was as loud as it’s ever been before kickoff. Due to Lewis’s injury and Suggs also missing the first six games recovering from a torn Achilles, the Wild Card game was the first time that Lewis, Suggs, Reed, and Haloti Ngata were all in the starting defensive lineup. These four were the last to come out of the tunnel, capped off with Lewis’s iconic squirrel dance.
The Ravens won the game 24-9, advancing to the Divisional Round against Denver and eventually winning Super Bowl 47 over the 49ers. Against the Colts, Lewis led the defense in tackles with 13 (nine solo). Flacco threw touchdown passes to Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin, marking the beginning of his historic postseason. On the last play of the game, the Ravens were in victory formation and called Lewis out to the field once last time. Lewis, lined up in the backfield, did his dance once again after Flacco kneeled the ball. Lewis then went around the stadium high-fiving fans after the teams left the field. To this day, Lewis’s last game in Baltimore is still one of the most memorable days in the history of Baltimore Sports.
Never wear these again: Purple jersey, mustard pants
Nothing went right for the Baltimore Ravens in 2015. Suggs, Flacco, Steve Smith Sr. and Justin Forsett all suffered season-ending injuries before December. The Ravens finished with their only losing record in Harbaugh’s 11-year tenure as head coach. On December 20 against the Kansas City Chiefs, perhaps the ugliest game of the season took place, not due to how the Ravens played, but how they looked.
I’m not sure if the Ravens decided to experiment because they didn’t have anything meaningful to play for, but the decision was made to wear gold, mustard-looking pants for the first time. The color rush uniforms had not been created yet, but the Ravens really missed with this look. A small portion of fans praised the mustard pants, but the large majority of Ravens fans roasted the pants on social media along with the rest of the world. As if the pants weren’t hideous enough, the Ravens lost to Kansas City 34-14 with Jimmy Clausen playing quarterback for Baltimore. Kamar Aiken caught a 48-yard Hail Mary from Clausen and scored a touchdown with time expiring in the first half, but other than that there was nothing to feel good about.
Thankfully, these pants have not been seen since this game. Please, Ravens, don’t ever wear these again.