Ravens full owner Steve Bisciotti didn't become an NFL owner overnight. It took time, patience and creating a business that could give him the funds to join such a notorious and lofty club. It also took late owner Art Modell's blessing and willingness to move on after owning the Ravens for 8 years and the Browns for 34 years before moving them to Baltimore.
Garrett Downing of the Baltimore Ravens' own website took a look at Bisciotti's hiring process and exactly how head coach John Harbaugh responded. With a single question, Bisciotti was able to not only gauge the responsiveness of his soon to be head coach, but provide a little insight to how he wanted things to be ran.
My question to him was, ‘If, by a strange twist of fate, I gave you the job today but told you that you could only spend 100 hours in this facility from now until the kickoff of the first game, how would you spend those 100 hours?’
Like most interviewees, Harbaugh had a difficult time answering the question. Before Bisciotti left the room for a few minutes, Harbaugh could only ask "I’m going to get this wrong, aren’t I?"
Ultimately Harbaugh answered and was granted the position, which he has excelled at over his career here in Baltimore. What is truly telling is exactly what Bisciotti was looking for.
Bisciotti stressed to Harbaugh the importance of connecting with his players on individual levels. Going back to his original question about the 100 hours, Bisciotti explained that he would want his new coach to spend 20 hours talking with him and General Manager Ozzie Newsome, another 20 hours with the coaching staff, and then 60 hours meeting with each player individually for an hour.
That is something that gives us some insight on why the head coach before Harbaugh, Brian Billick, was let go somewhat surprisingly.
Billick was a winning head coach, bringing the city it's first Lombardi with purple colors, and amassing a record of 85-67-0. It wasn't the fact that the Ravens went 5-11 in 2007 that led Billick to his fate, it was the reported locker room divide that did him in. There had been rumors swirling for some time that Billick had allowed the players to get "soft" and would play favorites. That type of leadership had the locker room at odds against each other, most notably the offense versus the defense.
After 8 seasons, Billick had lost touch with the majority of his players and he wasn't able to get as much out of them as was needed to field a competitive team. John Harbaugh came in and with the introduction of quarterback Joe Flacco, was able to right the ship through being equally tough and loving on his players. One can only assume that in addition to Harbaugh's personality, Bisciotti's approach to building an organization has stuck with him.