The year 2012 was a fantastic time for professional sports in the state of Maryland. The Chesapeake Bayhawks, Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens have all had great success that can be attributed to their determination, hard work and resilience.
These impressive achievements and performances have brought with them an overwhelming sense of pride for fans in the Maryland area. And the anticipation for what 2013 has in store is at an all-time high.
After claiming their last championship title in 2010, the Bayhawks were looking to capture their fourth MLL crown last August. At the start of the 2012 season, Bayhawks owner Brendan Kelly announced Dave Cottle as Chesapeake's new head coach. Bringing with him a passion and love for the game, Cottle represented a new start for the organization.
With a playoff spot firmly in hand but still seeking the top seed, Chesapeake faced the Long Island Lizards (now New York Lizards) in the second to last game of the regular season.
Discovering that coach Cottle wouldn't be with them because of a family emergency, Kelly stepped in to fill the role of coach. The Bayhawks ended up coming together and defeating the Lizards 13-6, before a crowd of 10,083 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
With a commanding and emotional win, Chesapeake found itself one game away from claiming the top seed. They were to face the Denver Outlaws for a showdown that would decide who won the regular season.
An inability to stop the Outlaws explosive offense ultimately cost the Bayhawks a 15-13 loss. But Chesapeake would end up meeting the top-seeded Outlaws again in the Championship game.
Following a six point, two goal performance by Ben Hunt, the Chesapeake Bayhawks defeated the Denver Outlaws convincingly, 16-6 to win the title. Kip Turner had a phenomenal day in goal, recording 12 saves with the help of a stout performance by the Chesapeake defense. With the win, the Bayhawks became the first team in MLL history to achieve four Championship titles.
Having clinched their first non-losing season since 1997, the Baltimore Orioles had a 2012 season that exceeded expectations at every turn.
They completed the regular season with a 93-69 record, good for second place in the AL East and qualified for one of two American League wild card spots.
Defeating the Texas Rangers in a one-game wild card playoff, the Orioles advanced to the Division series. They were set to play one of their toughest opponents, the New York Yankees.
After great performances that extended the series to five games, the Orioles’ magical season finally came to an end.
Baltimore baseball's return to the post-season has been a long time coming, and fans couldn't be happier. They got to witness the organization's first winning season, playoff berth and home playoff win in 15 years, boding well for a promising future as the Orioles move forward.
This past Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens competed for the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans against the San Francisco 49ers. After a roller-coaster season that included losing 3 out of 4 of their last regular season games, a change in coaching staff, and the death of WR Torrey Smith's brother, the Ravens were ready for the adversity that followed them throughout their road to the Superbowl.
After the announcement of linebacker Ray Lewis' retirement, many coined the Ravens as a team of destiny entering the playoffs. Baltimore wanted to send the future hall-of-famer out right.
After a convincing home-playoff win at home against the Colts, Baltimore headed to Denver as heavy underdogs. In below freezing temperatures, Baltimore competed with the Broncos toe-to-toe ending in a thrilling touchdown pass thrown by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to send the game into overtime. Into the second overtime, Justin Tucker kicked a field goal to advance the Ravens to New England for the AFC Championship.
With echoes of last year's heartbreaking loss to the Patriots looming, the Ravens were out for revenge. After a slow first quarter for both teams, Baltimore came out in the second half fast. Holding the Patriots to 13 points throughout the entire game propelled the Ravens onto New Orleans.
Entering their second Superbowl in 13 years with many expecting them to lose, the Ravens defeated the 49ers with an impressive goal line stand with a minute remaining in the game to cap off an incredible run.