Ravens Legends: Head Coach Brian Billick
Brian Billick led the Ravens to their first Super Bowl and helped build a winning franchise
Related Story: Ravens Debates: 2000 Ravens Defense vs. 1985 Bears
When we talk about the important pieces of the Ravens young history, we have to include Brian Billick. As the second coach in Ravens history, he went 80-64. He led the Ravens to Super Bowl XXXV. Billick wasn’t perfect but he gave the franchise a stable leader.
Billick was the Ravens coach from 1999-2007. In that stretch the Ravens made the postseason four times. A certain amount of credit has to go to Billick for not getting in the way of success. When Billick came to Baltimore he was considered an offensive genius. Billick’s offense in Baltimore was really never anything to write home about.
The Ravens never were an air it out football team that won with their passing game. Billick had a dominant defensive team that needed to lean on the running game. It could not have filled him with joy, but he knew how to make it work.
Billick was a calming influence early in his time with the Ravens, when Ray Lewis was the most controversial player in football. He stood by Lewis, who had recently been found not guilty of murder charges. Billick had a way of creating an “us against the world” mentality. Lewis became a leader and Billick used the hate he faced as motivation for the team.
The big failure of Billick’s career is that he never found a quarterback. If he had not fallen head over heals for Kyle Boller this would almost be forgivable. Instead we wasted some of the best defensive football you will ever see, hitting our heads against the wall. The Ravens quarterback woes were the biggest problem in 2007.
It was time for a change. If you take out the 13-3 2006 season, Billick’s results really faded towards the end of his run. The 2004 campaign was okay but underwhelming. 2005 and 2007 was miserable. Billick got fired for a reason.
It may not have ended on the best note, but Billick was monumentally important to the franchise. Billick taught the Ravens how to win. The Ravens developed as one of the most stable franchises in the NFL. Billick’s influence certainly helped pave the way.