The connections between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens aren’t hard to find. With Ohio being known as a football factory, it’s no surprise that some of the coaches and players for the Ravens have local ties to the state of Ohio, with the most notable being head coach, John Harbaugh. Harbaugh was born in Toledo, Ohio, about three hours north of Cincinnati. He then went on to play college football at Miami (OH), which is about 45 minutes outside of the Queen City. After short stints with Western Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, and Morehead State as a positional coach, Harbaugh spent seven seasons (1989-1996) at the University of Cincinnati as their special teams coordinator. It’s safe to say that Harbaugh has many ties to the Cincinnati area. However, he doesn’t have any direct history with the Bengals like Marvin Lewis does with the Ravens.
Lewis has had a successful tenure as the head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals (depending on who you ask), but before his time in Cincinnati, Lewis was the defensive coordinator for one of the best defenses of all time with the Ravens. Lewis was the defensive coordinator for the Ravens from 1996-2001. He was an integral piece in building a foundation and identity for a team that was going through the difficult transition of moving from Cleveland to Baltimore. The Ravens have always had a reputation as a blue collar football team with a strong defense. This reputation began when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000, thanks to what many believe to be one of the best defenses of all time. The Ravens defense held teams to just 165 total points under Lewis that season, breaking the record held by the 1985 Chicago Bears (198 points). Lewis has had a big impact on the Bengals’ organization, taking them from bottom dwellers to a consistent playoff team. However, I think it’s understated how big of an impact he had in building the foundation for a consistently successful Ravens team as well. Now Lewis and offensive coordinator Ken Zampese will have to figure out how to beat another strong Baltimore Ravens defense.
Here’s a look at more Bengals-Ravens connections.
- Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was the Ravens defensive coordinator from 1996-2001, earning a Superbowl ring during that time.
- Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons was Baltimore’s assistant special teams coach in 1998. He also served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
- Bengals assistant strength and conditioning coach Jeff Friday was Baltimore’s head strength and conditioning coach from 1999-2007.
- Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton was assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Ravens from 1999-2001.
- Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney occupied the same position with Baltimore from 1996-98.
- Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was born in Ohio and played college football at Miami (OH). He was also the special teams coordinator at The University of Cincinnati from 1989-1996.
- Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees is from Dunkirk, Ohio and attended college at Bowling Green State University.
- Ravens Special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg was the linebackers coach at the University of Cincinnati from 1992-95.
- Ravens offensive assistant/QB coach Craig Ver Steeg was QB/WR coach at the University of Cincinnati from 1990-93.
- Ravens secondary coach Chris Hewitt played four years at the University of Cincinnati from 1992-96.
- Ravens wide receiver Chris Moore played at the University of Cincinnati from 2011-15.
- Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was an assistant coach at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) from 1994-95.
- Bengals secondary coach Kevin Coyle was defensive coordinator at the University of Maryland from 1994-96.
- Ravens defensive lineman Brandon Williams attended Harmony Prep High School in Cincinnati.
- Ravens inside linebackers coach Don Martindale is from Dayton, Ohio. He played at Defiance College from 1981-84 and coached there from 86-87. He then coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1996-98 and Western Kentucky University from 2001-2003.
- Ravens defensive end Chris Wormley is from Toledo, Ohio (Whitmer High School).
- Ravens inside linebacker Bam Bradley is from Trotwood, Ohio (Trotwood Madison).
- Ravens outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and wide receiver Chris Matthews both played at the University of Kentucky.
Cedric Peerman is the lone man who makes this list as a former member of the Ravens’ 53-man roster. Peerman was drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2009 draft, but was unable to make the roster in Baltimore that season. Fortunately, Peerman has had himself a nice career in Cincinnati as a special teams star. Unfortunately, Peerman won’t be playing this year due to a preseason injury that landed him on Injured Reserve.
Currently on the Ravens’ pracrice squad is Tony McRae. The cornerback spent much of last season on the Bengals’ practice squad and after spending this offseason in Cincinnati he bolted for Baltimore, despite getting an offer to return to the Bengals’ practice squad.