What an incredibly awful week!
I still cannot really believe what I witnessed in Foxborough a week ago today. Perhaps the most intense football game that I’ve witnessed in person throughout my relatively young life ended in extreme disappointment.
There was so much on the line for everyone.
The fans, who have now spent four consecutive years loading up on purple gear, spending big money on tickets, trips, hotels, etc in anticipation of another Super Bowl run.
The players, who I’ve gotten to know a bit over the past couple of years, who spend 365 days a year preparing for the final moments of a game like that.
The coaches, executives, team employees, trainers…this has sucked for everyone. There’s no way around it.
Personally, I’ve had so many thoughts over the past week but I’ve just had no desire to write about them. It is absolutely sickening that what we all wanted so badly was right in their grasp, literally, and we let it get away.
As bad as it was for all of us (imagine how much we at WNST had on the line regarding promotions, Super Bowl trips, etc), and as much time as some of us have needed to get over the loss, we cannot let the heartbreak that we all feel cloud our perspective.
Yes, it is incredibly hard for a team to get back to where the Ravens just were. There are no guarantees in sports. However, the Baltimore Ravens have built their organization up to where annual contention is not a goal but an expectation.
When Steve Bisciotti fired Brian Billick after the 2007 season, he talked about wanting to avoid the valleys that the team endured under Billick. Billick had tremendous success in Baltimore. He brought back a winning culture to Baltimore and that culture has carried over into this era of Ravens football.
However, there were some years under Billick, specifically 2005 and 2007, when the Ravens were basically out of contention by the second half of the season. Much of that had to do with not having a legitimate quarterback, but the bottom line is that under Billick, the Ravens, at times, underachieved.
That has not happened with John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco at the helm. The Baltimore Ravens have transformed into an elite franchise in the NFL. Period.