And It’s The Right Way!
Like many of you, I too have grown weary of John Harbaugh’s postgame press conferences and his Monday meetings with the media. Each week we are treated to the same excuses for the same shortcomings that are supposedly “easily correctable”.
Yet those shortcomings fail to go away and we’re all left to wonder, if the problems only require an easy fix, why do they keep rearing their ugly heads like it’s Groundhog Day?
More importantly we’re left wondering if Harbaugh’s staff is capable of fixing these alleged easily correctable problems.
And then yesterday happened…
Harbaugh announced that all three of the team’s coordinators (including Marty Mornhinweg and Dean Pees) will return in 2017. Fans welcomed the news like Ocean City, MD residents might welcome a category 4 hurricane.
“WTF” was trending on social media in Baltimore.
Fans in an agitated state pondered how 2017 will be any different than 2016.
Many threatened to sell their tickets. Some are preparing to boycott the team and the league. Others served up unflattering things about Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, including accusations of apathy when it comes to the Ravens.
Admittedly I viewed his inaction as somewhat shocking.
In the past, if Bisciotti believed that something needed to be changed to benefit the team, his actions were swift. Self-made billionaires aren’t procrastinators, particularly ones who are ultra-competitive and on Sundays, seemingly live and die on the outcome of that day’s game.
In an exclusive interview with Russell Street Report during the summer of 2015, Bisciotti admitted, “I don’t know that I’m going to own this team until the day I die. I don’t know that I’ll be the owner 20 years from now. It does take a lot out of you and I don’t know that I’m [the owner] when I’m 75.”
He’s heavily invested both monetarily and emotionally. He lives to win.
Now it’s important to remember that Bisciotti’s fortune is rooted in his ability to understand personnel, individually and collectively, meshing them in a way that increases productivity and produces results. He believes in the value of continuity. And for a man who started his multi-billion dollar business in his basement with his cousin, it’s safe to say he has a good handle on the organizational maturation process.
Bisciotti is also a visionary. How could he not be, right?
During the times I’ve spent with him, it’s clear that he’s a fun-loving, approachable guy who is humbled by the journey that is his life. He hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from and he’s very self-deprecating.
He’s also brutally honest.
But the quality of Bisciotti that I find most intriguing is his ability to see things with clarity – to sift through the distractions that could cloud the average Joe’s vision. He assesses any situation, particularly challenging ones, sizes them up and then leads you down a path towards solutions.
His stories and experiences as he describes them are like journeys as are his answers to relatively basic questions. Initially you may not be sure where he’s taking you. The solutions, the answers aren’t clear, but when you get there, you appreciate the journey and of course the newly discovered clarity.
But sometimes the journey takes a while, the solutions aren’t immediate. Sometimes things have to play out.
This is one of those times.
To think Bisciotti doesn’t care about the Ravens is ridiculous. He’s invested heavily in them and if at the age of 75 he does bail as he said he might, he wants to make sure that his investment is protected. Therefore, the performance of his team is important. It drives attendance. It drives advertising revenues. It drives licensing royalties and merchandise sales. It drives the local economy which heavily influences the terms of the next 30-year lease that the team will sign with the Maryland Stadium Authority some time before 2027.
And it all drives the net worth of his investment.
So if anyone is deserving of a sacrificial lamb on the heels of another season without a playoff appearance, it’s Bisciotti.
Yet he’s held off. He’s refrained from a knee-jerk reaction. His vision and understanding of an organization’s pulse has him cooling his jets while fans rev up theirs.
So instead of forcing the hand of his head coach, he’s given him more rope.
Make no mistake about it, 2017 will be Harbaugh’s last chance. His chips are all in.
It’s that simple, that clear.
There will be no more excuses for an inconsistent offense.
There will be no more excuses for a defense that plays 3 ½ quarters.
There will be no more excuses for a quarterback who falls short of expectations due to a knee, an injured offensive line or another offensive coordinator.
It’s playoffs or bust baby!
With the return of Mornhinweg and Pees, Harbaugh has placed an expiration date on himself and his entire staff. If it goes down, they all go down.
There’s no longer a question that Harbaugh is on the hot seat. He just built his own custom-made hot seat and in a way you have to admire him for doing as much.
Just get it right or just say goodbye.
It’s clean and simple, with no second-guessing.
This is the right approach.
One day later, it’s now clear and present.
And just like many of Bisciotti’s stories it takes a little longer for the rest of us to see things as clearly as he does.
Maybe that’s why he owns the team and we don’t.