NFL Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh: ‘Why Can’t We Be a Championship Team?’

John Harbaugh

Paul Frederiksen – USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens take pride in being the underdog. Even when the Pittsburgh Steelers get most of the press in the AFC North division and the Ravens are described as the Steelers’ little brother, that’s fine.

The Ravens have two Super Bowl rings in the last 13 years, as well as more playoff wins and more playoff appearances than the Steelers in that time frame. That’s fine too. People can think what they like.

Some of what the naysayers have said has helped bring the Ravens to this point. People have no choice but to look at the Ravens as a top dog right now.

With all of that being said, nobody can deny the Ravens’ consistency that cements them among the elite teams in the NFL. The Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions, and it raises the question as to how many more rings can the Ravens add to their resume as soon as possible.

The Ravens always had the vision of being a championship team even before head coach John Harbaugh arrived in 2008. But what Harbaugh has done help is bring the vision into focus, with the idea that the championship vision will be something the Ravens will be obsessed about every season.

“Why can’t we be a championship team?” Harbaugh noted in 2008 via baltimoreravens.com. “Why can’t that be us? With all the talents you have here, we can do it together. I would love to be part of that.”

Spring forward five years later and the Ravens achieved their ultimate goal. Now that was step one. But how about building a dynasty?

“Now we are legitimately a step closer to building what we’re talking about building,” Harbaugh noted recently via baltimoreravens.com. “That’s always been the idea. The idea is to build that dynasty. That’s always been what we’ve said we’re trying to accomplish here and that was the ultimate mission.”

For some, speaking about dynasties may be premature, but anytime you are a defending champion, it is never too early to discuss it. It certainly isn’t a stretch to consider the Ravens being in that category in the near future.

Think about this. If not for Lee Evans dropping a touchdown pass two seasons ago that would had sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl, we could have been talking about the Ravens as a two-time defending Super Bowl champion right now.

Add to the fact that people have noted over and over about the changes the Ravens are going through entering the 2013 season.

Regardless of how things turned out in the 2012 season, it wouldn’t take a genius to understand that veteran players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin were going to leave sooner rather than later. The process of becoming a dynasty was going to happen one way or another.

The change was for the better, even though you don’t like seeing legends go. Going towards the youth movement has provided the Ravens with an opportunity to still contend in future years while not hanging onto veterans too long, thus making the transition harder.

So while others are critical of the Ravens’ moves so far, understand that keeping some of the veterans provides a situation where the team could be playing while their championship window is closing. Getting Joe Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP and the face of the franchise, locked up for the near future is a smart thing.

Understanding that just because you, as an organization, are the defending champions does not mean you should stay content with where you are and keep as many players as possible. They understood that, and it was a smart move parting ways with multiple players.

It’s always better to let players go a year early rather than a year late. By letting players go early, you have a much better chance of keeping the championship window open.

Let the dynasty process begin.

Wola Odeniran is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at WolaOdeniran52.