Ravens HC John Harbaugh should be a favorite for Coach of the Year

John Harbaugh, Ravens (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
John Harbaugh, Ravens (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Forever memorialized by his “Lamar! Do you want to go for this?” moment, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has a good chance of winning Coach of the Year in 2021.

Harbaugh was widely considered to be one of the best coaches in the league prior to the 2021 season, and with the Ravens sitting at the top of the AFC North 11 weeks later, he’s undoubtedly still up there.

His name is as synonymous with the Ravens franchise as Jackson’s is, and his legacy has already spilled plenty of ink in Baltimore’s history books.

This season, the 7-3 Ravens have undergone turbulence and turmoil, injuries, and roster changes, but the one constant through it all has been head coach John Harbaugh.

Given how decimated the Ravens were at the start of the season, the Ravens have no business being first in the AFC North.

They had more injured or sick players than they could fit on their inactive list for Week 11’s game, including their star quarterback, but Harbaugh still found a way to defeat the Chicago Bears.

And that, more or less, has been the recurring motif in Harbaugh’s coaching story in 2021: overcoming adversity and getting the win, no matter how ugly, gritty, or downright unwatchable.

Recent years haven’t just favored Harbaugh — he’s the main character throughout all the peaks of Baltimore’s history in the NFL. Harbaugh has coached the Ravens for the past 13 seasons, made the playoffs nine times, won one Super Bowl, and reached three AFC Championship games.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is a strong contender for 2021 Coach of the Year

In 2019, Jackson won league MVP and Harbaugh won his first Coach of the Year award. It’s no coincidence that when Jackson does well, Harbaugh also gets recognized, and in 2021, the two have been taking the league by storm.

In 2020, the Ravens ranked last in first-down pass rate at 42.7 percent. So far in 2021, Baltimore has passed 53.5 percent of the time on early downs, which is a considerable 10 percent increase.

How, too, would one account for Lamar Jackson’s vastly improved passing statistics this year?

Harbaugh’s ability to help the team adapt to different circumstances and his know-how to develop his players have shaped him into one of the best coaches of this era, and it would be insulting if he weren’t included in the Coach of the Year discussion.

Other candidates, like Arizona Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury or Los Angeles Chargers’ Brandon Staley, may also get attention based on their respective teams’ more impressive performances.

But Harbaugh deserves a slip in the hat as well, especially considering that his side beat Staley’s Chargers in a decisive win.

His “haters” (does anyone really hate Harbaugh?) will point to the fortuitous strokes of luck the Ravens benefitted from in several of their victories. The Chiefs fumble. The Justin Tucker doink.

If they want to play that game, those critics will also have to contend with the other side of the coin: the injuries that have devastated Baltimore week after week ever since the offseason.

The Ravens are without question the most resilient team in the NFL, and that kind of mentality starts at the top with John Harbaugh.

Next. 7 Ravens that impressed in Week 11 victory over the Bears. dark

Could Harbaugh win Coach of the Year in 2021? We’d bet on it.