Why the Baltimore Ravens love continuity so much
John Harbaugh is staying, Eric DeCosta finally got his promotion and the Baltimore Ravens commitment to continuity has worked:
The Baltimore Ravens have been around since 1996 and have had three head coaches and just promoted Eric DeCosta to be their second general manager. DeCosta has been with the organization basically from the start. John Harbaugh has been the head coach for 11 complete seasons. The model is working if you accept the reality of the NFL.
The Patriots have made the Super Bowl their home away from home, but they are the only team that seems immune to the competitive balance of the league. The Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are tied for the second most playoff wins in the last 20 seasons. That’s not bad for a team that has only been kicking for 23 seasons.
The Ravens were mediocre for several years in the Harbaugh era. In the first five years of the Harbaugh era, the Ravens went to the playoffs every year. By getting back to the playoffs in the 2018 season, Harbaugh has taken the Ravens to the playoffs seven times out of 11.
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As a Ravens fan if you were told in the winter of 2007, that Harbaugh would only miss the playoffs four times in 11 years and would give Baltimore a second Super Bowl, you’d be over the moon with the hiring.
Yes, Steve Bisciotti looks at the Rooney family and admires the continuity the Steelers have had through their long history. Yes, the best teams on a consistent basis are the ones who aren’t shuffling through quarterbacks, head coaches and general managers on a regular basis. The real reason the Ravens like continuity, which seems to be the magic password at the castle, is because it works.
Art Modell and Bisciotti have one thing in common. They have a history of hiring people that they feel comfortable working with. Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Dick Cass have been part of the fold for so long because they are good people who are good at their jobs. Brian Billick lasted from 1999-2007 because he was a Super Bowl winning coach who for the most part kept the Ravens competitive. Harbaugh has his faults but he is a good leader and he’s never lost the locker room.
The Ravens belief in continuity is really just a belief in the people the franchise has leaned on for a long time. And it has a breaking point. When Brian Billick’s Ravens went from a division champion to a losing record he knew he had to make a change. Joe Flacco is being shopped around the NFL, despite the fact that he has been one of the only constants on this team since 2008. Marty Mornhinweg got more than one chance with Harbaugh’s Ravens but Greg Roman is their guy now.
The NFL makes it hard to keep the band together. Good teams get torn apart by free agency and the salary cap all the time. A little mediocrity is hard to avoid. If you accept that the Patriots are the freakish anomaly of the NFL, and you don’t judge the purple and black by that standard, the Ravens methods check out.