"With great power comes great responsibility." That's a motto Owner Steve Bisciotti has taken to heart.
I've written before about how the strong and firm leadership of Owner Bisciotti has lead the Ravens to success. His ability to trust his staff, yet still have a presence in decisions has been a great approach. When he speaks up, you better listen. A case in point would be the selection of Joe Flacco in 2008, in which Bisciotti and now-Assistant GM Eric DeCosta had a heated exchange.
"Bisciotti wanted the Ravens to trade a third-round pick and move up, but Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of player personnel at the time, didn't think the team should do it. DeCosta told Bisciotti that Flacco would be there at No. 26. Bisciotti then looked across the table at DeCosta and told him, "And what if he isn't? What if somebody takes him? Is it going to be worth an extra third-round pick? We have three of them. So, stop being a pick whore. Let's give up a third, and go back and get him, and be done with this."
The rest is history, as the Ravens secured their franchise QB by trading up with Houston for the 18th pick. Without Biscotti's executive decision, the Ravens could've been stuck with Chad Henne or Brian Brohm.
You see, it's Bisciotti's sage advice that makes a difference.
"Bisciotti is a billionaire because he knows when to let his people do their job and when to give his input. He knows when his experience can shed light on a situation."
"I just think his style of ownership is great because he doesn't step in often, so when he does, you know it's very important to him."
- Redditor /u/KarmaCollecting
"We are very lucky to have the owner we do. Bisciotti seems like the perfect voice of reason on our team, and when he talks you listen."
- Redditor /u/Patchy911
These two hit the nail on the head as to why Steve is such a great owner.
Steve's excellent ownership has shined through once again. As Tony Lombardi of Russell Street Report reported, Biscotti played a key role in developing Jimmy Smith, not only as a player, but as a man.
Coming out of Colorado in the 2011 Draft, Jimmy Smith had all of the traits of a Top 15 pick, and look destined to be a shutdown corner for years to come, however, character concerns held him back. Three failed drug tests, alcohol-related violations, an assault arrest, and a link to two abortions all drove away most NFL teams. The Ravens, however, weren't one of those teams. Bisciotti & Co. were able to look past these incidents, and deemed them a thing of the past. Not to mention, this astute observation by Biscotti likely helped Smith's case with the Ravens.
"I remember reading about the wife of the Colorado coach [Dan Hawkins] being quoted as saying that when she heard [about the off-field issues of Jimmy Smith] that she was crying and saying that they cannot be talking about Jimmy. So I thought, ok, who knows better than a coach’s wife? It speaks volumes." - via Russell Street Report
The exaggerated character concerns of Smith resulted in him falling to the Ravens at the end of the first round. The team knew they got a bargain on the field, but could Smith maintain composure off it? Bisciotti wanted to be sure that Smith was kept in check.
"I remember asking [Ravens Executive VP] Kevin Byrne, ‘I want you to do me a favor before [Jimmy] leaves tomorrow. I want you to get me two binders and a [bunch] of articles on the most accomplished corners and the most talented corners that [messed up] their life like Pacman Jones. So I want you to get me everything you can on Darrell Green, Champ Bailey and a couple others. And then I want you to get me everything you can about Pacman Jones, Aqib Talib and all of these other guys."
When Jimmy Smith was about to leave the facility, head to the airport and make his way home, Bisciotti decided to walk downstairs from the executive offices with the native of Colton, California. It was then that Bisciotti shared with Smith the fruits of Byrne’s research.
"When you’re flying back to California you’ve got 6 hours. I want you to read these two [binders] and I want you to read every single article. And I want you to decide today where you’re going to be when you leave me. I want you to decide what kind of man you want to be. Take these two books and you will know that the books aren’t written about you, but you will know that you are going to end up in one of them.
"Decide which one it’s going to be."
Wow. This is empowering stuff. Bisciotti is basically saying that Smith has all the potential in the world to be great, like Green or Bailey. Or he can be that guy who had so much talent, but fell short because of general stupidity (see 'Pacman' Jones). It seems like Bisciotti got through to Smith, who has said "I’m growing like everybody, just age-wise. My son matured me years already just in nine months. So, every day of life for me is a process. Not a process, but just growing. That’s all that is." While Smith has matured exceptionally well, his play on the field has been even better. Smith has constantly been a mainstay in the secondary when healthy, and is one of the best in the league, despite not getting much attention for his play. Last year, Smith was ranked the 20th best CB in the league, and Smith allowed the fifth-lowest passer rating on throws that went his way. Smith is now locked down to a five-year deal in Baltimore, as the Ravens got a steal in him. I'm most certainly looking to seeing him terrorize opposing offenses for years to come.
I'm really happy we have a great cornerback, and an amazing owner.
'In Bisciotti We Trust'?