With Kansas City and Philadelphia winning on Sunday to advance to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. You could forgive Ravens fans for dreaming of long-term dominance in the midst of that special 2019 regular season, but the Chiefs have now advanced to three of the last four Super Bowls and played in five straight AFC championship games. Patrick Mahomes remains king, and it’s not that close.
2. Credit the Eagles for having the conviction to reset with a new head coach and quarterback a few years after winning a Super Bowl rather than sticking with a Doug Pederson-Carson Wentz partnership that wasn’t working. Continuity is great, but sometimes being bold is the right move. What a season.
3. Cincinnati leaned into being the pro wrestling heel in a way similar to the trash-talking 2000 Ravens, who were hated everywhere outside the Baltimore area. The difference is the Bengals failed to back it up, which is why it was funny seeing Travis Kelce channel The Rock in Sunday’s postgame.
4. Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has interviewed for numerous head coach openings, which makes Baltimore’s reported request to interview him for its own offensive coordinator gig so unusual. I suppose there’d be no doubt about him running the offensive show under John Harbaugh compared to working for Andy Reid.
5. I don’t have many strong opinions about the offensive coordinator search — there’s always more than one “right” choice — beyond preferring someone outside the organization with pass-game chops, but Georgia offensive coordinator and former NFL assistant Todd Monken is an intriguing name. Someone with recent experience at both levels sounds ideal.
6. Jason Kelce and Travis Kelce are the first brothers to play each other in a Super Bowl, which is awesome for two future Hall of Famers. You also may have heard that John and Jim Harbaugh coached against each other in a Super Bowl and Jerome Bettis is from Detroit.
7. Injuries are part of football, but San Francisco getting to the NFC championship game with Brock Purdy before succumbing to further quarterback attrition was just cruel. Imagine Baltimore being down to injured versions of Anthony Brown and Brett Hundley and wondering if J.K. Dobbins could throw passes for you.
8. Watching offensive line injuries catch up to the Bengals was a reminder that the Ravens are in a much better place there than they’ve been these last few years. Much still hinges on continued good health for Ronnie Stanley, who can finally have his first normal offseason since 2020.
9. Brandon Williams played only nine snaps Sunday and hasn’t made a major impact since joining Kansas City, but good for the former Ravens nose tackle and Missouri native making it to the Super Bowl. A similar stint worked nicely for friend and former teammate Terrell Suggs a few years back.
10. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones reinforced how dominant he is with the ability to wreck the game inside or make a play off the edge like he did late in Sunday’s victory. You’d love to have an inside rusher like that against Joe Burrow, but such talents are so rare.
11. Purdy’s fumble that was initially ruled an incomplete pass reminded me of Cory Redding’s touchdown in the 2010 divisional round loss in Pittsburgh. That was one of the stranger plays in Ravens’ postseason history with everyone but Redding assuming it was an incompletion.
12. Reports say the 2023 NFL salary cap will be set at $224.8 million, which is up from $208.2 million for the 2022 season. According to OverTheCap.com, the Ravens are projected to have just under $27 million in cap space. But that doesn’t account for Lamar Jackson. No sweat, right?