Its time to go back in time. The year is 2008, the Ravens are just coming off one of the worst and most disappointing seasons in franchise history after a promising expectation of a Super Bowl in 2007 went up in smoke thanks to a 5-11 record. On Black Monday, the day every head coach in the league hates (unless you're Bill Belichick because you don't have to worry about anything), the Ravens fired their head coach of 9 years and the man who helped lead them to the franchises first Super Bowl title and Baltimore's first since the Colts won Super Bowl V, Brian Billick. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti now had the task of hiring his first head coach as the majority owner of the team and he knew he had to get this one right.
Bisciotti decided to go after one of the most sought after coordinators of that time to become his new coach in Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The hype for Garrett was unreal at the time. He had just come off a 2007 season in which his Cowboys offense was the 2nd best in the NFL. The Ravens needed a coach who could finally bring the offense to the level of the defense, Garrett was their guy. The Ravens offered Garrett a contract, but he decided to stay in Dallas to where he eventually became the head coach. While the Ravens hired this little known special teams coach out of the Philadelphia Eagles coaching tree which garnered much criticism out of Ravens fans. 8 years and 7 straight seasons of a 500. or better record, 6 playoff appearances, 10 playoff wins, and a Super Bowl title later and that little known special teams coach has become one of the best head coaches in all of pro football. But does the same happen if the Ravens hired Garrett? Its a good question to ask.
Many Ravens fans will scoff and say "No way, look at what Garrett's done in Dallas." Yeah its true. Garrett, for all intents and purposes, has been a massive disappointment in Big D. He took over as the interim head coach in 2010 for Wade Philips and the team was able to finish the season strong. Garrett was officially named the head coach for the 2011 season and since then the Cowboys have only made the playoffs once during his tenure. The team had 3 straight 8-8 seasons before making the playoffs and winning a playoff game in 2014, but fell dramatically due to injuries last year finishing at 4-12. Every year the question is asked "Will this be Garrett's last year?"
Garrett is not in a stable organization. Yes, the Cowboys have 5 Super Bowl titles. Yes, their fans will scream "Americas Team!" but this organization is a mess. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not a better owner than Steve Bisciotti.
Jones is not only the owner, he's the president and general manager. He's in charge of all football operations. He's a control freak who loves the spotlight on himself and on the Cowboys. Bisciotti is not like that, he lets the football people make football decisions. Sure he'll give his input, he's the boss, but he stays out of it and lets Ozzie Newsome and co. do their job. He trusts them. If Jason Garrett decided to take the Baltimore Ravens coaching job with the stable the team has in the front office and the talent they had at the time, there is no doubt in my mind that Garrett would've been more successful in Baltimore than he ever has been in Dallas. The Ravens would've actually allowed him to coach.
This isn't a knock on Ravens head coach and the man who got the job after Garrett said "No", John Harbaugh. Far from it because I don't think the team has the amount of playoff success, including a Super Bowl title without Harbaugh. Being a head coach is not just about coaching, its about leading your players through, as the late great Dusty Rhodes would say "Hard times Daddy!" Its about leading your team though adversity and showing your grit and determination when adversity comes. As Ray Lewis once said "Adversity defines true character" and the Ravens under Harbaugh have indeed defined their true character.
I don't think Garrett is that kind of coach who can handle the type of adversity that Harbaugh has been through in the last 8 years. Maybe its not fair to judge Garrett on that because well, we just don't know. Hindsight is 20/20. I think Garrett would've been a good coach in Baltimore. I think the offense would've actually been better with Garrett and maybe the national media wouldn't always question Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco due to Garrett being the head coach. The other side of the argument is the fact that the team would not have come together as good as it did under Harbaugh. Brian Billick left the team with a divided locker room with the defense running the asylum and someone had to step up and make the Ravens into a true team as one whole unit. That man was John Harbaugh.
The Ravens would've had a good run under Jason Garrett and he would definitely be looked at as a better head coach than he is currently looked at today. Would the Ravens have had the same success with Garrett just like they have had under Harbaugh? I just don't think so.