New England claimed Super Bowl XLIX with a 28-24 victory over Seattle on Sunday. Vikings.com will take a glance this week at the offseason moves an in-season factors that preceded the past five champions' path to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Super Bowl XLVII
Ravens 34, 49ers 31
Feb. 3, 2013, New Orleans
2012 Ravens regular season record: 10-6
Season before: 12-4, lost AFC Championship game
Season after: 8-8, missed playoffs
Coaching: John Harbaugh was in his eighth season as head coach of the Ravens in 2012, and Dean Pees was in his first as Baltimore's defensive coordinator. The Ravens opened the season with Cam Cameron in his fifth season as their offensive coordinator, but he was fired and replaced by quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell in December.
2012 draft picks [round, (overall), position]:
2 (35) LB Courtney Upshaw
2 (60) OL Kelechi Osemele
3 (84) RB Bernard Pierce
4 (98) OL Gino Gradkowski
4 (130) S Christian Thompson
5 (169) DB Asa Jackson
6 (198) WR Tommy Streeter
7 (236) DE DeAngelo Tyson
Notable undrafted free agent:
Kicker Justin Tucker wound up replacing Billy Cundiff, who missed a 32-yard field goal that would have tied the Patriots with 11 seconds left in the AFC title game the previous season
Added through free agency:
DL Ma'ake Kemoeatu and WR/RS Jacoby Jones (nabbing both players in May, two months after free agency began)
Ray Rice to extend negotiations; he re-signed with Ravens in July
Matt Birk, Bernard Pollard, Cary Williams, Lardarius Webb, Dannell Ellerbe, Jameel McClain, Albert McClellan and Brendon Ayanbadejo
Jarret Johnson (free agency to Chargers), Cory Redding (to Colts), Ben Grubbs (to Saints) and Tom Zbikowski (to Colts)
Offense returned: Flacco was back for his fifth season as a starter and benefitted from a third year of experience with Anquan Boldin and second with Torrey Smith as Jones worked into the offense, as well as 1,621 yards from scrimmage by Rice (1,143 rushing, 478 receiving).
Defense returned: Haloti Ngata up front, Ray Lewis in the middle, Terrell Suggs on the edge, and the entire starting secondary from the previous season, led by Ed Reed and Pollard at safety. The Ravens had their fair share of injuries but had layered enough depth in their linebackers to make it to the postseason.
Unconventional moves: The Ravens were 9-4 when Cameron was fired, having lost two in a row. Baltimore lost two of its final three after Caldwell took over, but the Ravens responded in the playoffs after shifts to the offensive line that moved Michael Oher from left tackle to right tackle, inserting Bryant McKinnie in at left tackle and moving Kelechi Osemele to left guard from right tackle. Talented veterans Birk and Marshal Yanda helped the transitions.
Defining theme during 2012 offseason: understand the window won't be open forever. The Ravens could see the end of the line approaching for Lewis and Reed on defense, as well as Birk at center and that Boldin was in the final year of his contract. In addition to key re-signings, the Ravens benefitted from contributions of their top three draft picks, including Super Bowl starts by Upshaw and Osemele.