Three years ago, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti hired John Harbaugh to coach the team. It was an outside-the-box move at the time, given that Harbaugh had worked for years as a special-teams coordinator in Philly before spending only one year as defensive backs coach there.
Bisciotti’s faith in Harbaugh paid off with three straight playoff berths in a top-heavy AFC.
During a fan forum conference call on Tuesday night, Bisciotti explained why he picked Harbaugh over former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who stayed on the job for one more year before becoming the head coach of the Jets.
“From a chemistry standpoint . . . we really liked John and we thought it was going to be tougher for Rex to bring the whole team together after him spending 10 years on one side of the ball that was the dominant side of the ball,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun.
Ryan has done well in New York, taking the Jets to the AFC title game in each of his first two seasons with the team.
“I will always be second-guessed,” Bisciotti said. “Some people will agree with me and some people won’t. I just had to make a gut decision and so far it’s worked out pretty well. I hope it gets us to the Super Bowl and brings back a couple of trophies to Baltimore.”
It’s possible that Bisciotti also didn’t want an brash, outspoken, shot-calling head coach, even though Bisciotti would never say that. Though Rex Ryan’s approach has worked well for the Jets, Rex’s style could rub some owners the wrong way. Indeed, the talk in league circles for years was that Rex and Rob Ryan had been held back from head-coaching jobs due to concerns that they’d be as brash and outspoken as their father, Buddy.
That’s exactly what has happened, and the Jets surely wouldn’t have it any other way.