Ravens today: Bisciotti needs to give Harbaugh a contract extension

January 12, 2010 | Drew Forrester

When does a coach who goes 3-1 deserve a contract extension?

I’ll tell you when:  If that coach is the guy running your football team and he’s guided your club to a 3-1 playoff record in his first two seasons on the job.

I’m talking about John Harbaugh, of course.

And even though he’s only two years into his Ravens coaching tenure, it’s time for Steve Bisciotti to add at least two more years to John’s deal and reward his coach for a job well done over the last two seasons.

By the way, in case you haven’t examined it closely…that 3-1 playoff record under Harbaugh is particularly unique when you realize all four of those games – to date – have come on the road.

In fact, here’s a stat for you:  John Harbaugh will be OVER .500 as a playoff coach two years into his career no matter what happens in Indianapolis or San Diego or New York over the next two weeks.

Not many coaches in the history of the league can brag about that accomplishment.

When Harbaugh was hired in January of 2008, it’s believed he signed a 3-year deal.  Some industry reports maintained that it was a 4-year contract initially, but a source in Owings Mills tells me Harbaugh’s first contract was only for three years.

The Ravens refused to elaborate today, saying only, “The Ravens believe in privacy regarding coaching and players contracts.”

But if Harbaugh IS completing the 2nd year of a 3-year deal, that means the 2010 campaign could potentially be the final season of his initial contract.  There is a chance, of course, that by making the playoffs in either his first or second season that Harbaugh’s deal includes an automatic extension — but the Ravens refused to acknowledge any element of his contract with me.

No matter what the specifics, though, year number of three of his tenure also means the team should start evaluating whether or not they’re pleased with Harbaugh’s progress as an employee.

Answer?  Absolutely.

Evaluation complete.

Yes, there have been some elements of John’s game-day coaching effort that have left us all scratching our purple heads.  I’ve jokingly remarked on several occasions he must have the “Time-Out Manual” stuffed in a dark region of his office, in the original bag from Barnes and Noble, unopened and unread.

Harbaugh’s NOT Vince Lombardi…but then again, very few are ever mentioned in that category.

But he’s done a helluva job so far and the team is in good hands under his stewardship.  Personality clashes with a couple of players?  Yeah, perhaps.  But truth be told, the club is better off without those malcontents.  Dumb penalties and lack of discipline on the field?  Sure, there’s been some of that, but more truth here — those flags and ego-driven flare-ups are much more about men with raging testosterone and their internal desire to be a non-conformist.  Harbaugh can tell them what to do and demand greatness from them…but the players are ultimately responsible for their own behavior.  Period.

Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens have become a team you don’t want to play in the post-season.

That’s a much better label than being a team people don’t want to play in the REGULAR season, in my opinion.

It’s only two years of work, but John Harbaugh is a good coach who can – and will – only get better.

It’s time for Steve Bisciotti to recognize that and give him a contract extension.

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