It's been 12 years since the Ravens last made it to the Super Bowl, but there's some interesting similarities between the two teams.
First, and the biggest to me, is that neither team was given much of a chance to do anything in the post-season. In 2000, coach Brian Billick's team came in as a wild-card and got one home game against Denver before knocking out top-seed Tennessee and No. 2 seed Oakland on the road.
This year, the Ravens also came in as the No. 4 seed and beat the Colts at home before knocking out top-seed Denver and No. 2 seed New England -- also both on the road.
Ray Lewis was a big factor in the defense both years. In 2000, Lewis would eventually win the Super Bowl MVP in the 34-7 rout of the Giants and already had made his name as one of the top defensive players in the game.
Lewis had a big impact this year also, but in a different way. He missed the final 10 games of the regular season after a triceps injury in October. But he made it back in time for the playoffs, which has clearly helped an inconsistent defense find its way.
The offense was inconsistent also both in 2000 and 2012. The Ravens struggled on offense throughout 2000 as their defense, one of the best of all time, carried them most of the season.
This year, under coach John Harbaugh, the offense was much better than the 2000 team. But quarterback Joe Flacco also was up and down at times along with the rest of the offense. The difference this time is that Flacco really has come on in the playoffs, entering the Super Bowl with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in three playoff wins.
Both seasons, many seemed to believe the Ravens couldn't win in the playoffs. The Ravens proved them wrong in 2000 and are trying to do the same again this year.