Steve Bisciotti Uncertain How Long He Will be Owner
Back during the summer of 2015, I sat down with Steve Bisciotti in his office at The Castle, to discuss several different Ravens topics. One of those topics was M&T Bank Stadium. Among other things, Steve shared these thoughts with me…
“I don’t know that I’m going to own this team until the day I die. If I end up selling the team 10 years from now and there’s 2 years left on the lease, it’s going to create a tough situation for Baltimore with a new owner who would have leverage over the team and Baltimore that I might not exercise myself. I’m 55 and I don’t see myself as the 65-year old guy who’s threatening to move the team if he doesn’t get a new stadium.
“I think that we have to make progress [with the stadium] every year and then maybe have a long-term plan to do one major renovation that’s done 10 years from now so that we can sign another 30-year lease and secure this thing until way past the time I die and sell the team.”
To their credit, the Ravens and the MD Stadium Authority continue to improve the stadium. But you have to wonder how the unprecedented crime in Baltimore will affect attendance and if it does dramatically suppress the number of people occupying seats, will it influence the team’s willingness to renew their lease?
There’s still time between now and 2028 season when the Ravens lease is up. The city can fix at least some of its problems and make the streets safer. But for now, the city is a mess! Corruption runs through the veins of Baltimore’s circulatory system. And while repairs to this civic mess are possible, things are getting worse instead of better. The problems aren’t going away – but the team COULD, if local government doesn’t get its ish together soon!
Science or Art?
We’ve all heard before that the NFL Draft is a science but if that was true, first round busts wouldn’t exist and Tom Brady never slips to the 6th round. You might be safer saying that the draft is akin to art more than science.
Projecting player development is the key. Some kids peak in college. Others peak as professionals. We all tend to see a player as static – in other words, he is who he is. But that’s not always true. We’ve seen it here in Baltimore. Fifth round pick Matt Judon has developed and today, if the 2016 draft had a redo, Judon is probably a second-round pick.
Za’Darius Smith, a fourth-round pick, was viewed as the far inferior pass rusher from Kentucky during the 2015 draft. College teammate Bud Dupree, a first-round pick in 2015 (22nd overall) has 20 sacks as a pro. Smith has 18 ½ sacks and trending upward. Of the two, Smith after honing his skills, looks like the more attractive pro moving forward.
Coaching, focus, conditioning, film study along with mental and physical maturation, all contribute to a player’s development. Those things can’t all be predicted. A player’s epiphany – when that light comes on and it all clicks, also can’t be predicted.
So, when once promising edge defenders Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams take the field this summer, instead of rolling your eyes or pegging them as busts and then moan about the Ravens taking Bowser over Juju Smith-Schuster, let it play out. Maybe one will break out.
Former Rams edge defender Leonard Little had 5 ½ sacks in total during his first 3 seasons. He went on to become an All Pro in 2003 and finished his career with 87 ½ sacks. Remember the Eagles’ Clyde Simmons? He had 2 sacks his rookie campaign yet racked up 121 ½ over his 15-year career.
Life in the NFL isn’t static. Things change. Maybe that’s why calling the draft a science is a little unfair. Instead life in the NFL is dynamic. Players change and develop.
Here’s to Bowser and Williams.
May their career journeys change for the better.