Part 3 – Aftermath of a meltdown — Appreciating and Obsessing

January 18, 2011 | Drew Forrester

The wrap-up piece to my 3-part post-mortem on Ravens 2010 will be from “The Obvious File”, but it must be written and it must be absorbed and it must be remembered.

Yes, I’ll be Captain Obvious. But it still must be said.

It comes in two acts, this final blog, and it centers on the Ravens as an organization and it centers on what the Ravens must do going forward.

First, or Act 1, focuses on the Ravens in our community. For all the hurt, all the anguish, all the disappointment and all the rage of losing again in the post-season, I offer all of you this reminder:

Since John Harbaugh took over in 2008, there have only been four different teams in the AFC Championship Game. Those teams are: Jets (2), Steelers (2), Colts (1), Ravens (1).

Since 2008, only three teams in the entire NFL have made the playoffs in each of those three seasons: Eagles, Colts, Ravens.

Since 2008, Bill Belichick has zero playoff wins. Same with Jeff Fisher. And Tom Coughlin. Zero post-season wins in three years for those “masters”.

Consider yourselves lucky, Baltimore. John Harbaugh won’t say it, but I know he’d like to. He doesn’t know enough about our city’s recent sports history and how the Orioles have sucked the life out of our town’s soul since 1998 but I do and I’ll say it.

Consider yourselves fortunate to have a team like the Ravens…a franchise like the Ravens.

You pay the freight, you deserve that kind of fortune. NFL games are expensive. Ticket prices, beer prices, hot dogs, shirts, club level seats, they’re all too high. But you pay it, because you love the game and you love the team.

People in Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco, Cincinnati — they pay roughly the same prices you all pay in Baltimore and for that they’re rewarded with seasons of 4-12, 5-11 and, if they’re REALLY lucky, 7-9.

Your reward in Baltimore has been post-season football three years in a row, although it’s fair to note you haven’t had to shell out any money for a home game during January.

The Ravens have delivered in virtually every way imaginable over the last three years, except for one thing. They haven’t made it to a Super Bowl. Neither have about 28 other teams in that span, either.

From September through December – and into January under John Harbaugh – this organization has provided you with 16+ weeks of good, successful, WINNING football. It might not be the most exciting at times and there are certainly many areas for improvement, but 32-16 in the regular season and 4-3 in the post-season is a solid foundation of work and accomplishment.

If winning were easy in the NFL, every team would be doing it.

It’s OK to lash out this week. It’s OK to scream for firings and players getting cut and other irrational, mindless white noise that does nothing except help you blow off some steam. It’s OK to do that because that’s what fans do. Thankfully, the Ravens won’t listen to any of your wailings and they won’t overreact and they won’t tear everything down that they’ve built over the last three years.

I suspect they will make some changes and improvements. They better, in fact. If they stand pat, they won’t go anywhere. But those changes will be made with forethought and analyzation…not with knee-jerk, over-a-beer-bar-talk.

I’ll remind you, once again, that you’re doing all of your complaining and armchair coaching and Monday morning quarterbacking in the middle of January (continued)