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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: September 7, 12:01 PM ET
No. 11: Baltimore Ravens

By Anna Katherine Clemmons
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 21
Title track: 25
Ownership: 5 (tie)
Coaching: 18 (tie)
Players: 5
Fan relations: 13
Affordability: 46
Stadium experience: 14
Bang for the buck: 19

In battling the Patriots for the AFC championship last season, the Ravens continued head coach John Harbaugh's streak of playoff appearances as well as a climb up our Standings. The Ravens are the only NFL team to make the postseason in each of the last four years. And even though New England won last year's trip to the Super Bowl, the Ravens' faithful wholeheartedly believe in their guys, giving them a third-place finish in the NFL behind the Packers and Steelers in the ownership category and just behind the Pack in players. Their talented roster -- with Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Ed Reed, Ray Rice and Terrell Suggs -- shows why fans are happy to fork over an average of $86.92 for a ticket, selling out every home game in the team's 16-year history. The Ravens made a significant jump in the fan relations category, perhaps because on Purple Fridays during the season, the Ravens' marketing team travels throughout the Baltimore area on a "Ravenized" charter bus of cheerleaders, mascots, staff and band members to rally the fans. The initiative has fans all over town turning violet.

Off the field, center Matt Birk was named the NFL's 2011 Walter Payton Man of Year for his continued efforts promoting literacy among area youth. The Harvard graduate's "Ready, Set, Read!" and "Read and Rise" programs help more than 100,000 children in the Baltimore area. The Ravens are clearly doing it right; their fans hope their dedication means this year's playoff run will include a Super Bowl ticket.