I have a confession.
I was among the crowd that believed the best thing the Ravens could do for the balance of the 2015 season would be to lose out and secure the best possible draft position. It’s not as if such a position is worthy of one pick – it’s a strategic spot that could yield better players and/or trade leverage throughout the draft’s 7 rounds.
Think of it as a short-term investment in losses for a long-term dividend in the form of better players.
Last night that philosophy blew up like a John Rambo target.
I chuckled at the optimism of John Harbaugh during his pregame interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters. He told the world that his team would “play like Ravens” and I couldn’t help to think, “John, you’re 3-7. Maybe you don’t want to ‘play like Ravens’”.
Clearly the game had its warts and we’ll get to those. Yet through it all, while criticizing Dean Pees’ “containment” of Gary Barnidge or wondering if Matt Schaub was colorblind, one thing that really captured my attention was how hard the Ravens played.
And when Brent Urban blocked Travis Coons walk off field goal attempt as time expired and Will Hill returned it 64 yards for a game winning touchdown, the unadulterated joy on the Ravens sideline served as an epiphany for me.
How could I ever take solace in the consolation prize (better draft pick) of a loss when these players, coaches and the entire Ravens organization, have weathered injury after injury, bad call after bad call and a schedule maker who treated them like a voodoo doll?
They just keep digging.
They just keep chopping wood even when the choppers are second and third stringers.
I smiled and I laughed and admittedly got a bit misty when I watched Brent Urban stand at the podium, as happy as a child who actually won his first trophy, and share his excitement. There stood a promising player who exhibited potential in each of the team’s last two training camps only to see his seasons sabotaged by injury.
It was an unexpectedly great night.
A lesson was learned.
Sure John Harbaugh can be corny. And yes I roll my eyes when he steadfastly proclaims that Matt Schaub is a good quarterback.
But I’m now on board.
If you are a Ravens fan how can you not be caught up in his unwavering optimism and his against-all-odds will to compete?
Obviously the message resonates with the players.
So why not me?