Gold-medal streak: Inside the Ravens' 19-game record of summer dominance

OWINGS MILLS (Md. On Aug. 11, 2016, the Baltimore Ravens won their first of 19 consecutive preseason victories with a 22-19 win over the Carolina Panthers. The most memorable moment was not related to football.
The Ravens' players and fans celebrated Michael Phelps' 22nd Olympic gold medal at the M&T Bank Stadium videoboard late in the fourth quarter. Cam Newton, Panthers quarterback, raised his arms in the air. Eric Weddle, Ravens safety, talked about how he would tell this story to his children twenty years later.

I can still remember [Phelps] winning. That was the loudest applause of all the night, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker stated this week.

The Ravens marching band and the Panthers and Ravens players took time off from their preseason match on Aug. 11, 2016, to see Baltimore's Michael Phelps win 22nd Olympic gold medal. Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Ravens are like Phelps and have won every preseason game in six years. The Ravens' preseason streak, according to Elias Sports Bureau is the longest since at least 26 years. However, Elias preseason records don’t extend beyond 1995.

Rick Gosselin, a long-time NFL reporter, reported that the Packers won 19 consecutive exhibition matches 59 years ago. Baltimore's win at Washington Saturday will make it the preseason's most successful team.

Others have criticized the Ravens for accepting a streak that isn't recorded in the NFL records books. It also occurred during an area of the league calendar that technically doesn't count. For players and team officials, the August dynasty is a culture of winning and a track record in finding talent, as well as a system to develop players.

What does this mean for the Ravens? When asked about the streak, Lamar Jackson, the quarterback, crossed his fingers and said that he didn't want to jinx it.

Jackson, a freshman at Louisville, stated that they want to win. "We don't care about what it is, we just want to win. This team is very competitive.

Baltimore's record of excellence (30-7) is well documented since Jackson became the starting quarterback in the 2018 season. The Ravens are known for trying to outdo each other on practice fields.

A scoreboard keeps track of who wins each practice. Jackson and Anthony Levine Jr., linebacker-safety, are constantly waging war with each other.

Levine, who is the third longest tenured player on Ravens, stated that winning is winning. We want to win, even if the score is being kept. This is the Raven way. This is how we teach it.

During this preseason, the Ravens have been dominant over other teams with an average margin winning of 11.7 points. Baltimore is not trying to win everything.

John Harbaugh, Ravens coach, has a tradition of not playing his starters in the preseason. Jackson and Joe Flacco threw only 20% of Ravens passes during the streak. Ryan Mallett and Josh Woodrum have thrown the most touchdown passes. Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley, and Trace McSorley are close behind.

Third-day draft prospects and undrafted third-day draft candidates were the real stars of the preseason. They became highly sought after players. Outside linebacker Matthew Judon led Baltimore's 2016 sacks and tackles. As a rookie, Za'Darius Smith, an outside linebacker, recorded a sack. Wide receiver Darren Waller had 84 yards of receiving. Nose tackle Michael Pierce was awarded one of the last spots on the roster that year with a strip-sack, which he recovered for an touchdown.

Lamar Jackson (right) has not been playing in deep games during the Ravens preseason streak. It has been the less-known names that have done the most damage. AP Photo/Nick Wass

These four players, Judon Smith, Waller, Pierce, have won five Pro Bowls since then and received $80.6 Million in guaranteed money for their second contracts.

Tucker stated, "It's something we are proud of." It's not Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, Terrell Suggs or any other big-name starters who are a part. Everyone who has been on the Baltimore Ravens' 90-man roster since 2016 is included. That's a lot people who get into these wins.

Woodrum hit Tim White 33 yards for a touchdown in 2017 against Washington. Woodrum was a player for the Alliance of American Footballs Salt Lake Stallions one year later, before joining Washington. He tore his pectoral muscle and never got back on the field again.

DeLance Turner, running back, ran for 65 yards in Miami. Turner went on to record 10 career rushing yards in 12 games with the Ravens, Dolphins, and Packers.

Huntley ended a 4th-quarter comeback by running 7 yards against the New Orleans Saints, with 6:35 to go.

After the Indianapolis Colts had led 18-17 with three minutes remaining in the game, the Ravens' most dramatic preseason play was in 2016. Levine then intercepted the 2-point conversion and returned the ball 95 yards for the winning score.

Levine held his hands up to the crowd twice as soon as he reached the Lucas Oil Stadium's end zone. It was the number 25, which is Tray Walker's jersey number. Walker died five months before from injuries sustained in an accident on his motorbike.

Don't tell Levine, memories like this in the preseason have no meaning.

Levine stated, "Making that play, honoring him, that was probably one of my top plays ever,"

The Buffalo Bills have won seven consecutive preseason games, the longest winning streak. To surpass the Ravens' current record, Buffalo must win every preseason match through 2025.

Harbaugh doesn't care about preseason records. At this point in the season, it is important to evaluate players.

Harbaugh stated that it is not even a conversation. "We have never approached any of these games differently than we have ever before.

How do you say it best? It is meaningful to those who have been involved over the years. It has many other valuable aspects, but we approach it the same as before and let the chips fly.