15 Sep 2014
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Ravens No Longer Content with Consistency

After four straight years of making the playoffs, Ravens fans and players are expecting to beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game and advance to Super Bowl XLVI.

Ravens No Longer Content with Consistency


Nicole Massoni didn’t mince words when asked what she expects the Ravens to accomplish this season.

“This is our year and I think we are going all the way,” Massoni said.

Massoni, a member of the Middle River-based Ravens Nest 8, is expressing a view similar to hundreds of Ravens fans across the region in the days following the NFL team’s 20-13 victory over the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional round.

The Ravens will play the New England Patriots at 3 p.m. Sunday in Foxboro, Mass., in the AFC Championship game with the winner going on to Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5.

Massoni said she has enjoyed the Ravens run all season and is proud of the team regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game. Still, she would love nothing more than to see the Ravens return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 11 years.

“I think next week is going to be tough, but I have faith in my team that they will do what they have to do to win, just as they have done all season,” Massoni said.

Playoffs Not Enough Anymore

The Ravens are the only NFL team to make the playoffs—and win a postseason game—each of the last four seasons. The accomplishment is not something to be overlooked in a league where salary cap limitations leads to constant roster turnover on an annual basis.

Consider the following:

  • The Texans were in the NFL for 10 seasons before even making the postseason this year.
  • The Detroit Lions have not won a playoff game since the 1991 season, their lone postseason victory dating back to 1957.

While the excitement for remains at a feverish pitch, fans and players admit coming up short to a return trip to Super Bowl would leave many in Baltimore with a level of frustration.

is in his ninth season with the team and has played in the postseason in six of those years. Suggs said just making it to the AFC Championship Game for the second time in four seasons is no longer acceptable.

“It's not enough anymore, just making it to the playoffs,” Suggs said. “We've done that before… So, it's good, but we know it's definitely not enough. I think, if anything, we all know what this team's potential is and what everybody's expecting out of us. So, we've just got to go perform and play."  

Ravens running back agrees.

“Everybody knows what's at stake,” Rice said. “We've been in the playoffs for the last four years; we've been spoiled. But getting here is not good enough anymore.

“Everybody knows the expectation; we expect to make the playoffs. But we also expect to compete for the ultimate goal, and that's the Super Bowl."

Super Bowl or Bust?

Ravens Nest 8 member Michael Sortino said he has enjoyed watching the team make the playoffs on a consistent basis, especially as Baltimore’s baseball team, the Orioles, have not even posted a wining record since 1997.

But, Sortino said there would be a sense of an opportunity wasted should the Ravens fall short against the Patriots.

“This team has all the tools to go all the way,” Sortino said. “If they don’t do it this year, I’m not sure they ever will with this core group of players, especially [linebacker] Ray Lewis and [safety] Ed Reed who are in the back end of their careers.”

Debbie Henninger, a member of the Ravens’ Lavender Ladies club, said she is just enjoying the team’s run no matter how Sunday’s game ends.

“This team has given its fans an amazing ride this year,” Henninger said. “No matter what happens, this has been a season to remember. “

But Jackie Ruskey, of Essex, did not hide her enthusiasm about the Ravens chances

"We're going all the way this year," Ruskey said.

Perry Hall Patch editor Emily Kimball contributed to this story.

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