Local media will try to tell you that the State of the Ravens press conference is that one time of the year when owner Steve Bisciotti fields questions about his team. Those of us who contribute to the Ravens Rap in Ocean City, Maryland know otherwise.
For the last six seasons Bisciotti has visited us on the set of the Ravens Rap because of his loyalties to and long-standing friendship with Steve Pappas, the owner of The Original Greene Turtle.
Through the years we’ve come to know Bisciotti a bit better and as a result each visit is more comfortable, informative and entertaining than the previous one. His growth as an owner and as a student of the game is more noticeable with every trip to the coastal town by way of his personal helicopter.
For me the most fascinating thing about Bisciotti is the way he sees the world – the way he can quickly assess a situation, address a question or offer a solution.
Bisciotti processes quickly and as he responds to a question or wears his problem solving cap, he takes you on a journey. Sometimes you aren’t even sure where he might be going but when he finishes, the journey makes sense and the answer simplistically clear – so much so that it leaves you wondering, “why didn’t I think of that?”
There are reasons that he’s a self-made billionaire and his vision is a major contributor.
Another of his strengths is his ability to facilitate. He will challenge you to think, perhaps pulling you outside of your comfort zone so as not see things so myopically. He will not dictate to his employees (unless he has to) but instead, prefers to open their minds to new possibilities so that in the end the results improve.
This weekend in Jupiter, FL Bisciotti’s adept skills as a facilitator will be on display as Dick Cass, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and Pat Moriarty make their way to the owner’s home to map out an offseason plan for the Baltimore Ravens.
During the State of the Ravens press conference on Wednesday, Bisciotti was asked what is his No.1 priority this offseason.
“Work on that 30-yard chip shot”, he quipped. “I’m horrible at it.”
With one well-timed joke Bisciotti defused what could have been a tension-laced response.
His staff and his team had a bad season. The front office whiffed on a few free agents and selected a draft class that barely contributed. Meanwhile his coaching staff too often looked clueless and in an irreverent, almost arrogant way changed their approach to the way the offensive line would function – a move that almost single-handedly brought the season to its knees.
Bisciotti had many questions and like any fan, something he freely admits to being, he wanted answers. Apparently he is satisfied with what he heard from his guys – at least for now.
“I have to be patient to let people fail, but I don’t have to be patient enough to let people repeat failure,” Bisciotti shared with The Sun’s Mike Preston. “I’ll be more apt to get my way next year if their solutions don’t change the problems. That’s fair, that’s where I am as owner.”
“I’m letting Ozzie and John solve it the way they think it should, and if they fail twice, then I will get more input into the restructuring.”
While Bisciotti works on his golf game this offseason, he gave his staff a mulligan.
They better get it right in 2014, otherwise the owner just might hand out a few penalty strokes at the end of next season – or worse.
Just ask John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron.