John Harbaugh went from the 2019 NFL Coach of the Year to not even being a candidate for the honor in the 2020 season. His Baltimore Ravens team had some struggles and still got to the postseason with an 11-5 mark.
Before we get into the grade book on the long-time coach of the Ravens, let’s decide what a fair way to grade him is. If you grade this past season on the 2019 season Harbaugh is going to come up short. To be honest, Harbaugh probably had his best coaching performance of all-time in 2019. It didn’t end with a Super Bowl, but Baltimore started a new brand of their football and won 14 games.
Maybe 2012 will go down as Harbaugh’s best season because of how it ended, though 2019 went a lot smoother and felt like a magical year until it didn’t. The point is that we can’t let the 14-2 season be the bar we hold Harbaugh up to.
We also have to be careful what we can apply to Harbaugh’s record as far as the Ravens’ success and their struggles. It’s not Harbaugh’s fault that Ronnie Stanley, Nick Boyle, and Tavon Young got hurt. Harbaugh had no control over how the global pandemic would affect the team, but he does deserve credit for how the team bounced back after the outbreak postponed the game in Pittsburgh.
We’re judging Harbaugh only on what he did well and did poorly. We’re not letting the bias of previous seasons (including the 14-2 one that shadows over us still) affect the grade. As far as the things that were out of his control, we’re only looking at the decisions he made in response to these things. Let’s get to the grade book.
Putting it all together:
This is an average-what you have come to expect-he’s been here before kind of season for John Harbaugh. In 2019 he won the Coach of the Year award because he brought something exciting and new to the table with the help of Lamar Jackson. In 2020, the Ravens have gone back to normal. Normal isn’t bad, not in terms of Baltimore football.
This comes out to a B grade. It wasn’t bad enough to get a C. 11-5 is a good record and the thought of the 2019 season set expectations too high. Solid, strong even, not great. That’s what it was.