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

NFL: Ravens v Bengals
(Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/MCT)

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.


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About Brian Bower

Brian Bower
Brian Bower is avid football fan who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Brian has covered the Baltimore Ravens and NFL player positives in the community for the past two years for His work has been featured on and ESPN blogs. He is also a regular guest...more

16 Raves on “It’s never easy, it’s never pretty, it’s John Harbaugh

  1. BmoreB on said:

    I like Harbaugh and how he represents the team, he’s a pretty good coach as far as I’m concerned. I’m left scratching my head at times as well as it relates to some of the calls and non calls by Harbaugh but even Belichick screws up from time to time. Harbaugh is definitely in the spotlight now and Hostler (our next OC as the writing’s on the wall) better have some great ideas to help get us back to the playoffs or Harbaugh will be removed from the spotlight and placed on the “hot seat”..

  2. Nancy on said:

    Folks calling for Harbaugh’s ouster will have to wait at least two years. This year he gets a pass from The owner, if he can’t fix what ails us then Steve will step in. I am pretty sure Steve will step in and allow Harbaugh to run Steve’s vision of a fix next year. After that, all bets are off. However, who would you rather see replace Harbaugh? Personally I like the man, mistakes and all, and I think he will once again head his team to the top.

  3. Rick S on said:

    I do not personally care if every other HC in the NFL picks his friends for his coaching staff. I expect the HC of the Ravens to pick the person who is thought to provide the best opportunity for success in the win column.

  4. bogeyroy on said:

    Heard a quote from Lou Holtz the other day regarding finishing #2 in the country at Notre Dame one year…He said that he was called the worst coach in the world that particular year, yet, the student that finished last in his class in medical was called “Doctor” !!!

    Pretty much sums up all the Harbaugh haters…not saying he is perfect, but I will take the playoffs 5 out of 6 years every time….heck, I would take 5 out of ten years !!! It’s just so easy to second guess anyone, anywhere, anytime…then again, maybe all the Harbaugh haters should let Biscotti know that they are available for the Head Coach position or the OC position with the Ravens…then all will be well in good old B’more !!!

    • Reading Comments on said:

      I doubt most people hate Harbaugh. They just don’t think he is a very good Coach. Not bad, but mediocre at best.
      We needed a QB, got one in 08′ and the rest is history.
      The Flacco haters are very much for real, and there is a large contingency of them.

  5. Krix17 on said:

    I gotta agree w/Rick S. I don’t care if Nepotism runs rampant in the NFL w/Coaches & Friends & Nephews & Nieces or whoever. Harbaugh has a responsibility (to the owner, the franchise & the fans) to give the Ravens the Best Chance 2 B competitive. I personally do not think the formula 4 success includes his buddy Juan. Hope Biscotti steps in B4 disaster strikes & the Ravens regress 2 what everybody refers 2 as “A Building Year”. (Oh yeah, & Ozzie needs 2 get over himself & spend some $$$ on the talent we have, instead of SHOPPING AT WALMART 4 our next generation of Super Bowl Winners.

    • Mike on said:

      We won a Super Bowl with Josh Bynes, Albert McLellan and Brendan Ayenbedejo starting at linebacker for a large portion of the season. In the Ozzie era while shopping at Wal. Mart we have signed Priest Holmes, Mike Flynn, Jeff Saturday, Will Demps, Bart Scott, Maake Kemoueatu, Jameel McLain and Marlon Brown. All undrafted and cheap. If Ozzie wants to shop at Wal Mart for me and get me some of the deals he gets, then he has my credit card just like he has Bisciotti’s

  6. Gene on said:

    You can’t deny his success and leadership. In fact, look at his brother Jim, and you can see these are gifted coaches. Like you so well pointed out, my only gripe is staying with friends too long . Friends or not, if schemes aren’t working Harbs needs to step in and change the course. No way I’m complaining, Harbaugh is a winner.

  7. lowrider on said:

    “NEWSFLASH: Those leaders not named Lewis never took the Ravens to the AFC Championship game prior to the arrival of Harbaugh.” We did not have Joe Flacco neither. Maybe if we had a good QB we would have.

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