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It’s never easy, it’s never pretty, it’s John Harbaugh

Street Talk It’s never easy, it’s never pretty, it’s John Harbaugh

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So many organizations around the NFL seek continuity day in and day out.

The word “change” sends shivers of fear through people each and every day while some welcome change and view it as a positive step in achieving a goal or a belief.

Lately it seems as if Ravens fans are on the fence about head coach John Harbaugh. The Ravens front man has been accused of being power hungry, not qualified, stubborn, and too devoted to his friends. I have even heard one person refer to Harb’s loyalty to his friends as driving the Ravens franchise into the ground.

First off, Harbaugh is not perfect and I will be the first one to admit that he makes some head scratching decisions or lack of decisions at times. His clock management and coach challenge acumen has left me wondering on more than one occasion what exactly was he thinking.

His pressers are almost scripted “We’ve got to get better in all three phases” etc…

Harbaugh certainly is stubborn, yet name me one NFL head coach who isn’t. It comes with the territory. Harbaugh has been known for his infamous doghouse which by the way every coach has one believe it or not.

Coaching trees are assembled with plenty of past co-workers and friends. Take a look around the league, head coaches always hire them good or bad — that’s just the way it is in the NFL. It wasn’t like John invented the practice of hiring those close to him. John’s loyalty to those people are second to none. While Cam Cameron wore out his welcome in Baltimore and it took a tap on shoulder from the big man to get John to fire him, Cam was a key cog in the Ravens success during the Harbaugh Era.

Harbaugh has led Baltimore to a playoff berth in each of his first five seasons (2008-12) and in 2012, captured the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship. Under his guidance, the Ravens also secured an appearance in three AFC title games (including two straight). The Ravens are the only NFL team to earn a playoff berth in each of the past five seasons (2008-12), winning at least one playoff game in each of those years.

Harbaugh owns the most playoff victories (9) by an NFL head coach in his first five seasons (since the 1970 merger). He also has guided the Ravens to 62 regular season wins since 2008, tying (NO) for second most in the NFL (Baltimore is 62-33). Including playoffs (9-4), the Ravens are 71-37 under Harbaugh, posting the NFL’s second-most total wins since his Baltimore arrival.

Now, some Harbaugh detractors will look to the players being responsible for the success the team has had since Harbaugh took over and to some degree they are right. The leadership those players provided was second to none. Some will even say that the team played for Ray Lewis and not Harbaugh and that Lewis was ultimately responsible for the team’s magical postseason run to the Lombardi Trophy. While Ray’s announcement did light a fire, to say those players played for only him is laughable and that Harbaugh had zero to do with the teams success is nearly as laughable.

NEWSFLASH: Those leaders not named Lewis never took the Ravens to the AFC Championship game prior to the arrival of Harbaugh.

It’s not as if Harbaugh just aimlessly walked the halls of the Castle.

Like it or not Harbaugh played a key role in the Baltimore Ravens successful five year run to the playoffs.

We all want the best for the franchise and want them to be consistent both on the field and off. While I don’t agree with Harbaugh’s decision to bring Juan Castillo back to run the Ravens offensive line, he has earned the right to make the moves he thinks are best.

The life of a head coach in the NFL sure isn’t easy. The “what have you done lately for me” formula is almost as big a part of the game as the X’s and O’s, or so it seems.

With the decision on a new offensive coordinator hanging in the balance, it is safe to say this will be the most important hire of the Harbaugh era. One that could make or break Harbaugh’s future here in Baltimore.


Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR





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Brian Bower

About Brian Bower

Brian Bower is avid football fan, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He has covered the Baltimore Ravens and NFL player positives in the community for the past 6 years. This will be his 3rd season with the Russell Street Report. His work has been featured on, ESPN blogs, Comcast SportsNet Baltimore, as well as the Baltimore Ravens web page. He is also a regular guest on local radio and ESPN Radio in Honolulu, Hawaii. Brian is very involved in the community and has spent the last twenty years as a volunteer firefighter. Email him at [email protected] More from Brian Bower


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