Chapter 1: Meet the new boss, not the same as the old boss

January 12, 2018 | Nestor Aparicio

the New England Patriots. Belichick, who is known to have a keen eye for talent and a hard-charging style as a manager of coaches, players and the game plan, openly volunteered a ringing endorsement of Harbaugh to Bisciotti based on conversations they’d shared at the NFL combine each year in Indianapolis.

“Belichick called and said, ‘I understand you’re interviewing John Harbaugh and I think he’s one of the brightest guys I’ve ever met,’” Bisciotti said. “He said, ‘We sit together at the combine every year and I don’t waste my time with guys who don’t teach me something. It never fails that John teaches me something.’ He then said, ‘I don’t have any skin in the game, but I want you to know that this obscure guy is not so obscure in league circles. I have a personal relationship with this guy and I think he’s ready, he’s right.’ ”

When Bisciotti finally met Harbaugh for the interview on January 18, 2008, there was an instant, natural conversation and genuine warmth when he said “call me Steve.”

Once again it was an exhaustive interview process, but Harbaugh and Bisciotti were having more fun talking about the possibilities and Harbaugh’s vision of leadership as the conversation continued to expand and meander.

Harbaugh’s thoughts on football, Bo Schembechler, his family, his family’s values and background in football, his faith in God, his respect for Andy Reid, his ability to obtain and lead quality coaches, who his ideal candidates were for coordinator and position coaches, his role with the media and in the community.

It was all discussed.

“The more we threw at him the more he enjoyed it,” DeCosta said. “It was obvious that everyone would enjoy working with him. Everyone just liked him and it was very natural.”

He talked about growing up a coach’s kid. He talked about Doyt Perry, Earl Blaik, Fielding Yost and football philosophy and history and coaching theory. He studied it and told Bisciotti and the committee that it’s how he was raised with his brother and sister.

All of the mantras and values he’d later try to instill in Baltimore Ravens players he brought to the table in what several in the room called “the best job interview I’ve ever seen.”

“There are no secrets,” Harbaugh told the room. “There are no geniuses — coaching or playing. It was about hard work, being a team, taking care of one another, having each others’ backs and raising each other up. And working really hard, every day. My message will be clear: stay loose, stay focused and be accountable.”

And he said it all in a voice like he’d said – and heard – this speech thousands of times already in the voice of Schembechler or Harbaugh Sr., affectionately known as “Dad” around the house.

More and more the men in the room – all of them – pictured what Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh would really look like in front of their room and on their sidelines and in their building every day. And they liked what they’d seen and heard and liked every reference they had on this impressive football lifer.

Bisciotti left the room.

Twenty minutes later, Bisciotti came back into the room and said to John Harbaugh: “What kind of head coach will you be for the Baltimore Ravens?”

Harbaugh told him. “If I’m the head coach of the Ravens, it’ll be all about the team, the team, the team.”

Bisciotti said: “Then, I want you to be my head coach.”

And with a handshake and a smile, it was done.

“Part of why I got hired was that Steve and I just hit it off,” Harbaugh said. “When I showed up here I really didn’t think I was getting the job. Then, I felt like I had made a friend. I loved what he was saying and what he stood for and what he wanted the Baltimore Ravens to be moving forward. We knew we wanted the same things and that made it comfortable.”

Harbaugh signed a reported four-year, $8 million deal to be the new head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and went about moving his family to Owings Mills and attempting to hire a robust coaching staff. After moving into his new office, maintaining Rex Ryan as the defensive coordinator was the first order of business.

There was no doubt that Ryan was crushed to not get the head coaching job of the Ravens after the firing of Billick and this would be a very sensitive meeting. Ryan had also unsuccessfully interviewed for the vacant head coaching jobs in