John Harbaugh Weathered Bad Season Like A Champion
Like Jay Z the Baltimore Ravens have 99 problems but their head coach isn’t one of them. John Harbaugh handled a disastrous 2015 season like the championship coach he is. A 5 win season is never fun, but without Harbaugh leading the way it could have been so much worse.
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What went wrong this season? Practically everything. 20 players ended up on injured reserve. The Ravens lost a lot of close games and got hosed by the officials on more than one occasion. It was the season from Hell.
There was a point in the season where it felt like the Ravens had given up, they had fallen victim to their circumstance. Harbaugh did not let this team just roll over and die. The Ravens fought hard all the way to the season’s end. That tells me one important thing, Harbaugh has not lost control of the locker-room.
The Ravens beat the Steelers in week 16. This was a game against their red-hot rival, that the Ravens were given no chance to win. The Ravens played inspired football and shocked Pittsburgh. Things like that don’t happen often. Harbaugh took the emotion to get the Ravens to over acheive that day. That is what good coaches do.
This was Harbaugh’s worst season as the Ravens coach, and his first losing season. The Ravens went 8-8 in 2013 which was the previous low-point in his tenure with the Ravens. The Ravens have made the playoffs in 6 of the last 8 seasons; they have at least one win in every trip to the playoffs. The ultimate goal was achieved in the 2012 campaign when the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
Why am I listing Harbaugh’s accomplishments? It is important to remember that he knows how to win. He knows what a winning team looks like. Even in his worst season where nothing went right there were a lot of close games against good opponents. The Ravens need talent upgrades at several positions, they need depth as well. That said, this was just a bad season and the Ravens aren’t far away from future success.
What drove me crazy was the utter lack of discipline displayed this season. That may not be a completely fair criticism of Harbaugh. While that is something that does fall on the head coach, considering the circumstances alleviates his culpability. He had players going in and out of the line up like a sick game of musical chairs. Immaturity cost players like Timmy Jernigan playing time. This shows that there was accountability.
The other reason the Ravens acted undisciplined may have been because this team is not used to failure. The playoffs were supposed to be a given and the Ravens were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders.
The Ravens fell into an early hole. Human nature made them feel defeated. Harbaugh rallied the team to play their best in the second half of the season, though at that point it was too late. The main take away is that Harbaugh never gave up and his team never gave up on him.