Unless you work for the Baltimore Sun, it’s easy to criticize the Ravens today after they failed to ink Jason Garrett to a contract to be their head coach. No matter how they spin it (or how the suddenly-compliant Sun sports writers spin it for them), they wake up today with egg on their face. This was not just “the beginning of the second round of interviews” as the organization called it. Steve Bisciotti, Dick Cass and Ozzie Newsome targeted their man, flew him and his wife into town and spent six hours trying to sell him on the job.
Or maybe they didn’t try to sell him at all. Maybe they have the same attitude as Sun columnist Mike Preston, who for years has been accusing loyal Ravens fans of “drinking the purple Kool-Aid” but today writes that the Ravens job is “one of the most coveted jobs in professional sports” and lauds the Ravens front office and Bisciotti’s passion to win. Maybe they were shocked when Garrett, upon his second visit to the stunning brick-and-stone team headquarters, didn’t ask immediately, “Where do I sign?”
Maybe they didn’t expect Jerry Jones (who is still Garrett’s current employer after all) to call Garrett on his cell phone during his visit to Owings Mills and, according to ESPN, offer to match any offer the Ravens put in front of him. If you believe what Bisciotti said at his press conference after firing Billick, you have to assume he was caught off guard by Jones’ involvement in the saga. After all, he referred to his fellow NFL owners as his “partners” and admitted to consulting with them when pondering Billick’s fate. Would your “partner” pull the rug from under you like Jones apparently did yesterday?
Doesn’t all this make the Bisciotti-Cass regime, once again, seem a little naïve when it comes to running a professional sports franchise? For all their success in their previous fields, I doubt they ever tried recruiting a top executive for their firm with a throng of media members camped out in their lobby. From the Terrell Owens debacle to Bisciotti’s public castration of Billick at the 2005 postmortem press conference to yesterday’s failed negotiations, Bisciotti and Cass aren’t off to a great start as the sole key holders to the Ravens organization.
While I’m still holding out hope that Bisciotti becomes everything we thought we were getting when he arrived on the scene (who can’t like the blue-collar-sports-fan-turned-filthy-rich-entrepreneur-buys-hometown-football-team story?), my gut (Bisciotti’s favorite organ, by the way) tells me otherwise.