John Harbaugh coached the Baltimore Ravens to an NFL Super Bowl title with a recipe that remains the most effective to win a championship in any sport: do enough to make the playoffs and then let it all hang loose in the postseason.
Harbaugh got plenty of credit for having the Ravens ready for the postseason despite a poor closing to the 16-game regular season. The Ravens were 1-4 in the final five games of the regular season. After going 9-3, it appeared the team was ready for a strong playoff run. Then came the four losses and Harbaugh seemed to lose control of the team.
Ray Lewis came back, said it would be his farewell tour and suddenly, the team was re-energized. Harbaugh brought out the best in Joe Flacco and his defense to go 4-0 and give the Ravens their second Super Bowl title.
Harbaugh was slightly lucky, however. The San Francisco 49ers were robbed on an obvious holding call in the end zone on their final offensive play. It will go down in history as one of the worst non-calls in Super Bowl history.
But it doesn’t take away from the steady job Harbaugh did for four games in the playoffs and especially on Super Bowl Sunday. It appeared his team had the game in the bag with a 28-6 lead. The lights going off in the SuperDome could have zapped away the momentum his team had.
“It’s never pretty, it’s never perfect, it’s just us,” Harbaugh said.
But to Harbaugh’s credit, the Ravens hung tough and did what needed to be done.
That’s why John Harbaugh is a Super Bowl championship coach. He did what needed to be done.