Point A – Billick’s Resiliency – Billick’s best three season followed sub-par seasons. The Super Bowl year followed an 8-8 season. The 2003 division championship followed a disappointing 7-9 202. And finally, does anybody remember the public humiliation the Angelos in training owner gave Billick after his 6-10 2005? Brian responded with a 13-3 year. A pattern seems to emerge. Brian Billick is good at guiding a team to success after a sub-par year.
Point B – The fallacy of “The message gets old”. Some veteran utters this bite and all the hair sprayed talking heads pick it up from coast to coast. Suddenly it’s a time-tested axiom. In reality, it is a misnomer. The message that Brian Billick gives his players doesn’t get old because he is always facing a new audience. Sure there are a few holdovers: Ray Lewis, Jon Ogden, and Matt Stover, but the team is in a perpetual flux state. In the age of the salary cap, each year presents a new group dynamic. Is the message old to Haloti Ngata, Troy Smith or Yamon Figures? Of course not.
Point C – The injuries. A healthy Steve McNair, Jon Ogden, and Todd Heap would have made a huge difference to the offense in November. This is just three of many injuries. I know every team has injuries, but the Ravens were hit especially hard, maybe not Buffalo Bills hard, but hard nonetheless. I’ll also concede that Billick didn’t do his best job under these circumstances, but his past accomplishments (See Point D) should give him a pass for this year’s poor performance.
Point D – The record. Billick has won a Super Bowl. He has won 80 NFL games and lost only 64. He has won five playoff games and lost only three. If that doesn’t seem impressive, look at all the coaches in Billick’s nine year reign that didn’t even make the playoffs.
The bottom line: Baltimore was hoping to have a Clint Murchison when Steve Bisciotti took over. Who was Murchison? He was the long-time Cowboys owner who hired experts, like Tex Schramm and Tom Landry, and watched the victories flow. He knew he didn’t have the football smarts needed to compete, so he let the connoisseurs take have the power. I was hoping Bisciotti would feel the same way. The self-imposed, in season gag-rule gave me hope. But his post season antics of 2005 and 2007 have me believing that we have another Peter Angelos on our hands.
What have Baltimore sports fans done to deserve this?