Baltimore enjoys its best sports year since 1970

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1970 Baltimore Championships

Jan. 26, 2013

Prior to this season, the Orioles and Ravens had never experienced winning records in the same year much less made the playoffs together. So yes, we Baltimore fans can mark 2012 down as one of the greatest years in the city's professional sports history. In fact, only twice before this year have Baltimore's Major League Baseball and National Football League franchises both made the playoffs in their respective sports - in 1970 and 1971.

No matter what the Ravens do in the Super Bowl, there's no topping 1970 when the Orioles won the World Series and the Colts won the Super Bowl. (It's worth mentioning that the 1969-1970 Baltimore Bullets went 50-32 that year and made it to the Eastern Division semi-finals where they lost to the eventual champions, the New York Knicks.)

The 1970 Orioles won 108 games, the second-most in franchise history; finished a full 15 games ahead of the New York Yankees in the American League East; swept the Minnesota Twins in the American League Championship Series; and took down Cincinnati's Big Red Machine four games to one in the World Series to avenge the previous year's loss to the Miracle Mets in the Fall Classic. Boog Powell won the A.L. MVP, three Orioles won Gold Gloves - Davey Johnson, Brooks Robinson and Paul Blair - and the team sent seven players to the All-Star Game.

That's a tough act to follow by any measure, but the 1970 Colts were up the task. The Colts went 11-2-1, tallying the second-most wins in the NFL behind the 12-win Minnesota Vikings; won the AFC East;  shut out the Bengals in the divisional round 17-0; defeated the Oakland Raiders 27-17 in the Conference Championship; and beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in the Super Bowl. 

The Orioles and Colts attempted to match their remarkable success in 1971 with both teams making the playoffs. However, the O's dropped the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games and the Colts lost to the Dolphins 21-0 in the AFC Championship. That means this could be the first year that both teams made the postseason and one of them won a championship. Regardless, 2012 will be remembered among Baltimore's greatest professional sports years.

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