John Harbaugh Won't Give Vic Fangio's 'Insult' a Second Thought

Left: Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh (NFL Photos/Mikey Owens); Right: Broncos Head Coach Vic Fanigo (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The day after a convincing Ravens win in Denver, the biggest media debate is the merits of Head Coach John Harbaugh's decision to go after a 100-yard rushing record instead of kneeling to end the game.

With three seconds left, Harbaugh called an outside run with quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens needed three yards to reach 100 and they got five. Baltimore has now rushed for 100 yards in 43 straight games, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers' record from 1974-77.

On Monday, Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio threw gasoline on the fire, saying the Ravens' decision was "bull----" but that he expected it.

"I just know how they operate," Fangio said. "It's their mode of operation there. Player safety is secondary."

Fangio coached with the Ravens from 2006-2009, including two years as an assistant to Harbaugh. Fangio was also brother Jim Harbaugh's defensive coordinator in San Francisco from 2011-2014.

John Harbaugh heard the comments before his Monday press conference and it was the first question he got from reporters.

"I thought we were on good terms; we had a nice chat before the game," he said.

"I promise you, I'm not going to give that insult one second thought. What's meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them. Their concerns are definitely not our concerns. We didn't expect to get the ball back, but we decided that if we got the ball back, we were going to try to get the yards."

Harbaugh explained his decision Sunday after the game, saying the record means something to his players and coaches. In a pass-happy league, the Ravens have built one of the best rushing attacks in NFL history. That's something that will long be remembered, and that they are proud of.

Fangio's comment about "player safety" seems a bit hypocritical because it was Fangio who decided to extend the game in the first place, putting his players and the Ravens on the field for extra plays.

With the Ravens leading by 16 points, Fangio called three timeouts within the final 30 seconds to give his offense a chance to score a meaningless touchdown. They were stopped short by an Anthony Averett end zone interception, which gave Baltimore three seconds left on the clock. As Harbaugh said, he had already decided beforehand that they would try to go for the record if given a chance.

Fangio clearly thought the touchdown had "meaning" to his squad or he would have just run the clock out. Harbaugh thought tying the rushing record had meaning to his team. Deciding what is meaningful to your team is a head coach's prerogative.

"Throwing the ball in the end zone with 10 seconds left;…I don't know that there's a 16-point touchdown that's going to be possible right there, so that didn't have anything to do with winning the game," Harbaugh said. "What's meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them and we're not going to concerns ourselves with that."

For the record, the Ravens invest significant resources into keeping their players healthy – from training staff and equipment to specialized nutrition. Also, Baltimore had already run 71 offensive plays before Jackson's final scamper, which he ended with a slide.

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