Road to the Super Bowl: AFC NORTH

Hey there Real Bookie, we are doing a new series called “Road to the Super Bowl” and for this installment we are talking about the teams in the AFC North.

The Ravens have had a nice history of success, including two Super Bowl titles and 14 trips to the postseason coming into the 2023 season. The Ravens play out of the AFC North and have won the division 6 times.

Why the Ravens? And Who are They?

The team name was inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe poem “The Raven.” There were more than 33,000 voters for a team name contest, and the Ravens were the winner. Poe spent the early part of his career in Baltimore and was eventually buried there.

A Raven is a mythical bird. The mascots for the Ravens, and there are 3 of them are named Edgar, Allen, and Poe. The three mascots appear at all home games and throughout the community at various events. Fans that attend the games in Baltimore are referred to as the “Ravens Flock.” The fans at Ravens games are known to chant the “Seven Nation Army,” which is known as the team’s pump-up song.

Historical Records for the Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco holds many of the top records for the Baltimore Ravens behind center. Flacco has completed over 3,200 passes in his career, with more than 35,000 yards. He also has 182 touchdowns, which leads the franchise. When it comes to rushing the football, Jamal Lewis leads the team with more than 7,800 yards on the ground, including 45 touchdowns on the ground. That also leads the franchise. Receiving has been a little bit of a cluster for the Ravens, with Derrick Mason leading with 471 career receptions. Mason is also the top guy in yards in franchise history, heading into the 2023 season. Mason was just 23 yards shy of 5,800 in his playing career. Todd Heap is the receiving touchdown leader for Baltimore, with 41. One more name to keep in mind: Justin Tucker. While he may go down as the best kicker of all time, he is most known for his record 66-yard field goal made.

On the defensive side, there are some names NFL fans are certainly aware of. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are both guys with incredible Ravens careers. Reed leads the team with 61 interceptions in his career, while Terrell Suggs recorded more than 132 sacks in his career. Lewis leads the team with 1,573 career tackles.

Final Baltimore Ravens Tidbits

The Baltimore Ravens are an interesting team to follow because you never know what to expect from the AFC North. Since their inception, Baltimore has had a ton of success, with a 56% regular season mark and 16 postseason wins heading into 2023. The Ravens always seem to be in the mix when it comes to reaching the postseason after three losing seasons to start the franchise history. Baltimore has only seen five since then. The 2019 season for the Ravens, despite losing in the divisional round, was one of the more dominant teams in recent history. The Ravens outscored opponents by 249 points and won 14 of 16 regular season games.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been around, playing competitive professional football since 1968. After two seasons in the American Football League, they moved to the National Football League. The Bengals have never won a National Football League title. Despite that, Cincinnati has been to the Super Bowl three times in team history. The Bengals also head into the 2023 season, reaching the postseason 16 teams in team history.

Paycor Stadium is the Home of the Bengals

What used to be known as Paul Brown Stadium is the home of the Cincinnati Bengals. The stadium was originally named after former Bengals founder Paul Brown. The stadium hosts more than 65,000 people and is located on 22 acres. Many refer to the stadium as “the Jungle” in reference to the team name – Bengals. Paycor has rights to the stadium for a 16-year deal, starting in 2022. The stadium also hosts over 110 executive suites.

The attendance record for Paycor Stadium is from a game on a Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins in 2022. That night the Bengals took on the Miami Dolphins. The stadium was opened in 2000, and, since then, has been home to many concerts, and other sporting events. The first College Football game played at the stadium saw 66,319 people as the Bearcats of Cincinnati took on the Buckeyes of Ohio State.

What is a Bengal?

The name Bengals goes all the way back to the late 1930’s when there was a team in Ohio with that name playing in the AFL. A Bengal is a hybrid cat breed are known for having a slender build and wind kind of like a wildcat of sorts.

Final Cincinnati Bengals Tidbits

The Bengals official mascot is a Bengal Tiger with the name “Who Dey.” He is accompanied at games with the teams cheerleaders. Laura Vikmanis is part of the cheerleading squad for the Bengals, and is the oldest cheerleader in the history of the league.

The Cleveland Browns are one of the oldest franchises in all of the National Football League. The Browns were founded back in 1994 and have seen a barrage of changes in the franchise during those times. The Browns are known for their “logoless” helmets and also a team that has yet to win a Super Bowl since the AFL-NFL merger. The last time the Browns won a championship was in 1964, and the merger came in 1970.

Cleveland Browns Stadium is the Home of the Browns

Back in 1999, the stadium opened, and the seating capacity was listed at more than 73,000. Then, the stadium was known as FirstEnergy Stadium, and after some renovations, it held just shy of 67,500. That’s where it stands today. The stadium is gorgeous, sitting near Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is nearby for fans to visit while taking in a game.

A ton of College Football games have been played in this stadium over the years. The Ohio Classic was held here for a couple of seasons, along with the High School tournament, the state series finishing their season here.

Why the Browns? And Who are They?

Some might wonder why the Browns are named the Browns. Some might think it’s interesting that their owner has the last name of Brown. Many inside the organization claim the team was named after Paul Brown, the legendary coach, but Brown has a different idea. Brown said he named the franchise after former boxer Joe Louis, who was nicknamed the Brown Bomber. There is no known ties between Louis and the city of Cleveland, but that’s his story, and he is sticking to it.

How Brown was selected as the first coach of the team is interesting, as Arthur McBride was the one that selected him. McBride was not a big sports fan or mind, but had control of the team and wanted to give Brown all the power to make the football decisions.

Final Cleveland Browns Tidbits

The Browns obviously have a rivalry with their AFC North opponents from Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. There are also some rivalries with teams such as the Broncos, Lions, 49ers, and Titans. The Browns and Steelers play in the Turnpike rivalry, as this is likely their greatest franchise rivalry.

The Dawg Pound, located in the East Bleachers, is one of the most famous cheering sections in all of the National Football League. Many claim Cleveland has the best football fans in the league, and despite winning just 36 of 112 games during a stretch, the Browns fans filled the stadium to capacity almost every game.

Finally, Hue Jackson will always be known for being the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2016-2018, but many do not know he will be one of the worst statistical head coaches in all of the league, coaching 40 games and winning just 3 of them.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not only been a long-storied franchise in the National Football League but also a really good one. The Steelers have had a ton of success, including numerous trips to the Super Bowl. The Steel City loves their football, and as soon as training camp starts in Latrobe, the region is really for the black and gold. The Steelers have been in the National Football League since 1933.

Acrisure Stadium is the Home of the Steelers

Many people around the National Football League still look to it as Heinz Field, but as of 2022 – the Steelers play in Acrisure Stadium. The stadium opened in 2021, and was part of a funding project with PNC Park, the home of the Pirates. Acrisure Stadium seats more than 68,000 fans, and nearly every game is sold out—the streak for sold-out game dates all the way back to 1972.

The stadium has been a host for a ton of great events, including a pair of outdoor hockey games. The University of Pittsburgh Football team also plays here as well. The stadium is also known to have become the first NFL stadium to host a title game for any women’s football league. The Women’s Football Alliance was played there.

Finally, one of the strangest scoring plays in the history of the NFL was played at this stadium. In September of 2013, Pittsburgh scored a safety three seconds into the game, as the kickoff was taken a step backwards and ruled a safety, and not a touchback. The Steelers would still lose this game 16-9.

Why the Steelers? And Who are They?

Arthur Rooney founded the franchise back in 1933, and the first 7 years of existence the team was known as the Pirates. Wanting a fresh look, and start, Rooney had a promotion from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to have a name the team contents. Different names were presented, but Rooney went with the Steelers, mostly due to it’s connection with the city of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh is quite known well for their heritage and the steel reels, which employed a great portion of their fan base. The winner of the contest was rewarded with a pair of season tickets, in which he would renew every year until he passed.

Final Pittsburgh Steelers Tidbits

The Pittsburgh Steelers are well known for their “Steel Curtain” defense, with the teams that were so successful in the 1970’s. The Steelers have had four stadiums known as their home, starting with Forbes Field, moving to Pitt Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, and now Acisure Stadium. The Rooney family has owned and been team president during the entire tenure of Pittsburgh Steelers football. Also, the Steelers are the only team in the National Football League that puts its logo on only one side of the helmet, which is the right side. Finally, the Steelers and Giants are the only two teams in the league with players uniform numbers on both the front and back of the uniforms.

That’s it for this one but make sure you are subscribed to learn about all the other teams. Also like this video and comment which team is your favorite.