John Harbaugh on Vic Fangio: “What’s meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them”

DENVER BRONCOS VS RAVENS, NFL
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Unfortunately, the Ravens and Broncos won’t play again until next season at the earliest. Unless they meet in the playoffs. Regardless of how the game would go, it would be worth the price of admission to witness the interaction between Baltimore coach John Harbaugh and Denver coach Vic Fangio.

On Monday, Fangio called Harbaugh’s decision not to try to gain yardage on the last snap of a game the Ravens led by 16 points “kind of bullshit,” adding this: “I just know how they operate. That’s just their mode of operation there. Player safety is secondary.”

Making Fangio’s comments more biting is the fact that Fangio worked for John Harbaugh in 2009, before joining Jim at Stanford in 2010 and following him to the 49ers.

“I mean, I thought we were on good terms,” Harbaugh told reporters on Monday when asked about Fangio’s comments. “We had a nice chat before the game. Known each other for a long time. But I promise you, I’m not gonna give that insult one second thought. What’s meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them. Their concerns are definitely not our concerns. And, you know, we didn’t expect to get the ball back, you know? But I had already decided — we decided — that if we got the ball back, we were gonna try to get the yards. And we got it back with three seconds left. So you’re throwing the ball in the end zone with 10 seconds left, I don’t know that there’s a 16-point touchdown that’s gonna be possible right there. So, you know, that didn’t have anything to do with winning the game. So like I said what’s meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them, and we’re not gonna concern ourselves with that.”

Harbaugh makes a good point; the chances of scoring, getting a two-point conversion, recovering an onside kick, scoring another touchdown, and getting another two-point conversion were far closer to none than slim. The Broncos may have been trying to get some reps for Drew Lock. Or maybe they just didn’t bother to think that it made sense to take a knee and call it a day.

Regardless, the game came down to Baltimore with a 16-point lead, three seconds, left, and a decision to make: kneel or try to gain yardage? Harbaugh decided to gain yardage so that the Ravens could match a 44-year old record, set by the Steelers from 1974-77.

Maybe Harbaugh wouldn’t care if it wasn’t a Pittsburgh record. Maybe he shouldn’t care either way.

Indeed, this isn’t DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. This is a record that, frankly, I didn’t even know about until the Ravens went out of their way to match it.

Ultimately, the Ravens had every right within the confines of the rules to try to run a play. And to assume the risk of an unnecessary injury to the 11 players who were on the field. And to expose quarterback Lamar Jackson to potential injury by having him run the ball one last time. (It would be interesting to know whether Harbaugh would acknowledge that Jackson shouldn’t have run the ball and/or shouldn’t have even been in the game at that point.)

The irony (I never know if I’m using that properly) of Harbaugh’s decision is that, in a meaningless 2019 game to cap a 14-2 regular season after the top seed in the AFC had been clinched, he rested his starters. And the starters were flat in the divisional round game, arguably due to the passage of three weeks after their last reps of consequence.

But at least the backups kept alive the 100-yard rushing streak, with Gus Edwards alone getting more than 130 yards in a 28-10 win over the Steelers.

43 responses to “John Harbaugh on Vic Fangio: “What’s meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them”

  1. Harbaugh, acting calm and collected, while playing the victim card, after the fact, doesn’t make you right.

  2. Some people care about sportsmanship, class, and player safety. Most do not. As we will see in the comments, the only thing the “fans” hate more than good sportsmanship is complaining. Even if it’s justified.

  3. My guess is that they were trying to get rep for Drew Lock for next week, however, don’t complain about pointless plays when you were doing the same.

  4. Reminds me of when the Ravens and their D Coordinator Wink Martindale complained about the Bengals kicking a field goal at the end of the game to avoid a shutout last year.

    Seems the ravens are very concerned about stats and image.

  5. How many players are on IR in Baltimore? You would think the NFLPA would be interested in this?

  6. The Ravens care more about stats than they do winning a Super Bowl. It’s the same as them fighting to win those preseason games to keep the streak alive.

  7. This Harbaugh’s a good coach, but everyone knows him and his brother are jerky, right? Good for Fangio for saying it.

  8. They had a chance to get the last laugh. Imagine if they stopped them from gaining the yards to tie the record.

  9. I like John Harbaugh a lot.

    However, Sportsmanship should always trump a meaningless statistic.

  10. Denver could have stopped them from gaining the yards. That would have been the best way to make the decision look stupid.

  11. Now the Steelers are going for the most games rushing for under 100 yards. Will Harbaugh want to match that?

  12. I understand where Fangio is coming from but you play until the final whistle. Period.

  13. The Ravens care about stats, preseason games, oh and Superbowls too. Which is why they have more of them over the past couple decades than most your teams.

  14. Vic Fangio should have prepared his team to stop the Ravens. His team came out and looked like the pretenders everyone thought they were. Vic is a 15-21 coach. That’s all you need to know. Too bad the Broncos can’t play winless teams every week.

  15. Denver could also have run out the clock. They chose not to. Can’t cry when Baltimore runs a couple yards to continue something that will help motivate them through the season.

  16. I love harbs, he’s about his team and his team only. The us against the world mentality is why he’s been in Baltimore 10 plus years and won a heck of a lot of ballgames.

  17. Players mentality of individual accolades with a coach condoning that type of mind-set doesn’t lead to championship football. It’s a team sport and it starts with that mentality. Case in point: Browns Nick Chubb. He missed 1,000 yards by 3 yards. He nor the coaches were even aware of the fact. Nick never said a word about it. Then there was the Houston Texans game last year where he runs out of bounds at the 1 yard line to seal the victory. Could have easily taken the TD but he doesn’t care about any of that, just win for the team. So I agree with Denver’s coach here. If any player would have gotten injured on that last play on either side of the ball, it would have been a disaster and that’s an under statement.

  18. He knew this would happen, and he did it anyway because he knows his locker room better than anyone. As someone said today, go ask the coaches and roster what they think.

    And in 2019 they weren’t even looking at this because it was still over a season away.

    And in preseason he played his starters just as much, if not less than other teams. The fact the second and third string could win games is a statement about roster depth and coaching.

  19. If he’s running a guy out there in a completely inappropriate time so he can hit an incentive in a contract or something like that, that would be fine. But you would think the guy who lost his starting RB in a totally meaningless game just this past year would think twice about, you know, risking his players in a totally meaningless play.

  20. Harbaugh knows that the only opinions that matter are the opinions of his players and coaches. Harbaugh knows his team and knows what makes his guys tick. No opinion from outside that locker room matters.

  21. Fangio is just a typical obsessive-compulsive competitor and his pride is hurt so he’s running his mouth and looking like a fool.

  22. Harbaugh with a few savage digs at Fangio, and he’s correct on all accounts. Did they not go for 6 points with 10 seconds left? Did they not consider player safety when Bell’s neck was cranked after a Bronco grabbed a face mask? Fangio is a loser with bigger issues than an extra 5 yards at the end there.

  23. The team and fans will want that record and to take it from the Steelers. That is all Harbaugh had to worry about.

  24. Ballsy of Fangio to want Harbaugh to take his foot off the gas while Fangio seconds earlier was fighting tooth and nail to score a meaningless touchdown. Gotta love whiners.

  25. The Steelers are bad, but NOT their defense. Bulletin board material to say the least.

  26. Remember years ago when Jamaal Lewis was going for the single season rushing record? In that last game, the Steelers did everything possible to stop Lewis without regard to the whoever won that game and they stopped him. These records are very important to teams and no team wants it to happen to them on their watch.

  27. Better question Fangio, why when you were down by 16 points were you still running plays trying to score a TD with just 10sec on the clock, it wouldn’t have won you the game?

    Because you play until the clock hits 0:00 that’s why so stop whining about it!

  28. Haraugh’s comment was perfect “whats meaningful to us might no be meaningful to them”

    Meaningful to the Broncos was closing the score gap at any cost, burning all timeouts, injuries wernt a concern then, but as soon as they lose the ball, OK, game’s over.

    Im not a Baltimore fan but I like that from Harbaugh. And Fangio had the chance to stop them, but couldn’t.

  29. John, you know what’s meaningful to me? Winning playoff games. All the regular season wins and stats are meaningless unless you win Super Bowls. Or at least win some playoff games. But you’re too arrogant and stubborn to recognize that ever since you introduced your running QB as the captain of the ship and deemed it a “revolutionary” offense, you’ve won exactly one playoff game in those 4 years. Way to go! Maybe actually win some games when they count first?

  30. RandallCunninghamWasARealQB says:
    October 4, 2021 at 9:33 pm
    John, you know what’s meaningful to me? Winning playoff games. All the regular season wins and stats are meaningless unless you win Super Bowls. Or at least win some playoff games. But you’re too arrogant and stubborn to recognize that ever since you introduced your running QB as the captain of the ship and deemed it a “revolutionary” offense, you’ve won exactly one playoff game in those 4 years. Way to go! Maybe actually win some games when they count first?

    ————-

    Missed the playoffs 3 years in a row, too.

    Most overrated coach in football.

  31. So, I guess Harbaugh won’t mind if going forward when the Ravens are in victory formation at the end of the game, the opposing defense goes for a full on blitz every time?

  32. Poor sportsmanship per Broncos coach !! Harbaugh can do whatever he wants but his pursuit of some of the records has and will cause him some of his key players and their health down the stretch !! He should definitely go for a W but should use common sense especially when result is known…

  33. Ravens will not win a Super Bowl with Lamar. When it comes down to the playoffs the system does not work. You can can all the regular season and preseason stats and records that you want. At the end of the day people only remember Super Bowls.

  34. So Fangio says the Ravens aren’t concerned with player safety? Is that why his players kept hitting Lamar Jackson late?

  35. RandallCunninghamWasARealQB says:
    October 4, 2021 at 9:33 pm
    John, you know what’s meaningful to me? Winning playoff games. All the regular season wins and stats are meaningless unless you win Super Bowls. Or at least win some playoff games. But you’re too arrogant and stubborn to recognize that ever since you introduced your running QB as the captain of the ship and deemed it a “revolutionary” offense, you’ve won exactly one playoff game in those 4 years. Way to go! Maybe actually win some games when they count first?
    ———————————-

    You do realize that Harbaugh has the most playoff wins of any active coach not named Belichick since 2008? He also has a SuperBowl ring. I can’t believe you actually put how little you know about football in print.

  36. I’m really proud of Harbaugh, that was leadership understanding the emotional impact it could have on his players moving forward. Not a big deal, but these kind of decisions stack up and is the reason people that leave Baltimore rarely have anything negative to say about the organization, except of course for Miserable Fangio.

  37. Question- Does anyone here really think Fangio chose to leave one of the most coveted coaching positions as LB coach (on one of the historically great defensive teams in the NFL) for a DC position…at Stanford?

    Everyone knew it at the time. But the Ravens gave Fangio the respect of a soft landing. Just like they did with Dean Pees “retiring”

    Fangio just still hates the Ravens b/c they (quietly) asked him to leave.

  38. Since 2007, Harbaugh has won his division 4 times in 14 years. He’s flat-out missed the playoffs in 5 of those years. Excluding the 2012 Super Bowl season, which he deserves due credit for, he’s averaging only 0.5 playoff wins per season. Now remind me again, which part of these facts confirm he’s an awesome coach?

  39. Where was Fangio’s concern for “player safety” when he called three timeouts in the last thirty seconds of the fourth quarter with his team down by sixteen? If he didn’t want Baltimore to tie that record then he should have stopped them…and all he had to do was tell his OWN team to take a knee.

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