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This day in history: 20 years ago, the Ravens landed

On this day 20 years ago, the Ravens entered the NFL lexicon.

When Art Modell moved his Browns out of Cleveland, he was mandated to choose a new name, logo and color scheme for his franchise. Fans were presented with five options: The Bulldogs (Modell's favored moniker and a callback to an NFL original in Canton), the Americans (a nod to a Baltimore-to-Ohio train), the Mustangs (championed by Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas), the Marauders and the Ravens.

The Ravens name was a nod to an iconic poem by Edgar Allan Poe, one of Baltimore's most famous sons.

"I don't like it," Unitas said at the time, according to "I don't think it has any association with football."

Maybe so, but the people favored it anyway. Ravens received 21,108 votes in a telephone poll conducted by The Baltimore Sun, receiving 63.4 percent of the vote. The Americans (5,597) and the Marauders (5,583) were left in the dust.

The official Ravens announcement was made on the 12th anniversary of the Colts' move from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984.

Unitas was right in 1996 when he said the Ravens name didn't have any association with football. That's not the case anymore, as the Ravens' track record under general manager Ozzie Newsome has made the purple and black of the Ravens synonymous with toughness and January success.

And, truth be told, Ravens is a perfectly solid name. Way better than the Marauders or Mustangs, which have been the monikers of teams in every dopey football movie you've ever seen. Ravens was a win for outside-the-box thinkers.

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