With a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Famer in Ray Lewis leading arguably one of the best defenses in NFL history, it would be tough to pick against this team. The Super Bowl champs destroyed just about every offense it faced that season (recorded four shutouts in 12 regular season wins), including three straight playoff victories in which the opposing offense was held to 10 or less points.
Why, might you ask, am I bringing up the topic of the 2000 Baltimore defense? Well, in celebration of the completion of Baltimore's 15th season this past year, I decided to matchup the two teams I thought were the best in the franchise's first decade and a half.
To oppose the 2000 Ravens, I chose Joe Flacco's rookie campaign (2008), when Baltimore was one game away from another Super Bowl appearance.
Using Whatifsports.com's 'SIM Matchup' simulator, I conducted a best-of-seven series between the two teams. I will use the results from the deciding game to share with you all here today...
Billick vs. Harbaugh
Dilfer vs. Flacco
Believe it or not, this took a little longer than I thought to decide. The 2000 Ravens squad hailed in the end, as expected, but it took all seven games for them to finally pull off a convincing 20-3 victory.
The young Flacco only turned the ball over once--interception to none other than Ray Lewis--but was unable to convert in the red zone, resulting in a lone Matt Stover field goal. The older version of Stover did miss on a 45-yarder, however. But that did not effect the end result at all.
Priest Holmes put the ball in the end zone from 24 yards out early in the game, but it wasn't until the fourth quarter when the great 2000 Baltimore defense put the game away with a late fumble recovery which Chris McAlister returned 42 yards for the touchdown. A pair of field goals from the younger Stover topped off the scoring on the (2000) Baltimore sideline.
Maybe one day, Flacco, but not today.
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