need to be and where we need to be on the same page. That’s not bitching. That’s improving.”
In the end, Flacco was saddened to some degree by the Cameron firing because they had a lot of tread on the tire of their relationship. The Ravens’ offense grew up with them working together, for better and for worse. They had a lot of success together, going to the playoffs four straight years and laying the foundation to win Super Bowl XLVII.
“Cam means well,” Flacco said. “He’s a very good person and a great football coach. Sometimes he had trouble getting exactly what he wanted to happen. Sometimes he had trouble getting it across to everyone. I felt responsible, bad about him getting fired. The offensive coordinator and the quarterback are tied as closely as anybody in the organization. We need to be close.”
For Harbaugh, making the decision went back to his downside management style.
What’s the worst thing that could happen from firing Cameron? It was already clear that his contract was running out and that he wouldn’t be retained in 2013 once the team worked out a new deal with Flacco. Of course, that is unless the team won the Super Bowl, which might’ve been the only way Cameron could return. After all, in five years and after two AFC Championship Game losses, there was only one more mountain to climb.
The only way to justify keeping Cameron beyond 2012 was to win the Super Bowl and Harbaugh honestly didn’t believe that the Ravens could get to New Orleans with Cam still running the offense. He stopped believing. And he already had the luxury of having Caldwell on the staff, waiting to usurp the role and see how it went going into the playoffs.
“Statistically, Cam brought us into a new age of scoring,” Bisciotti said. “It is unfortunate. When people struggle in this business then they are made into—and I hate the term – a scapegoat. It was clear we needed to move on just like when it was clear with Billick. When John made the decision to do it I’m sure it was tied to the decision he wasn’t going to bring him back. He never told me during the year that he wasn’t bringing Cam back. I assumed he had come to that conclusion.”
Bisciotti knew something was awry when his mobile phone rang the night of the Redskins game because he and Harbaugh never speak after losses. Early on in their relationship they agreed that it was counterproductive to discuss a loss on Sunday night. They both felt like they needed a good night’s sleep because they’d both be less emotional on Monday. And even then, Bisciotti would wait until the end of the day on Monday to call Harbaugh so there was even more clarity and less emotion.
“It’s a tradition,” said Bisciotti, who says he usually checks in with Harbaugh on Wednesdays and Fridays for updates. “We could talk about downsides after a win, and it can be productive.”
One thing that everyone agreed on was that Joe Flacco was going to be the quarterback for the foreseeable future no matter the outcome of the playoffs in January.
What was the downside?
“We got into it and he said, ‘I’m gonna do it,’” Bisciotti said. “We went through the pros and cons. I said, ‘You’re going to be criticized and you’ve already thought about all of these things.’ He had gone through it all in his head. He knew the ramifications. If we continue to lose and we don’t make the playoffs, John would’ve been attacked. He was running it by me and Ozzie and making sure we both