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Steve Bisciotti Gives 2014 Season An 'A'

Steve Bisciotti had his answer before the question even finished.

A reporter asked Bisciotti about his assessment of the 2014 season, and the Ravens owner shared a telling response during Tuesday's season-review press conference at the Under Armour Performance Center.

"I think it's an A. A-plus is a Super Bowl," Bisciotti said. "I think that what John [Harbaugh] did, and the way he handled the coaches and the players was masterful."  

The season came with its share of challenges.

The Ravens faced issues on and off the field, dealing with the fallout from the Ray Rice controversy and having to overcome the loss of 19 players to injured reserve. The franchise and football team navigated their way through the issues to return to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years, and also beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh for the first time in postseason franchise history.

By the time it the year ended on that final drive in New England in the divisional round, Bisciotti was proud of what his team accomplished. The Ravens had overcome tough losses to finish 10-6 and play their way into the playoffs during the final week of the regular season. Then they nearly took down the eventual Super Bowl champions in Foxborough.

"With all of those distractions, we were in the exact same position. We had to win the last game of the year in order to get into the playoffs. And we did it," Bisciotti said. "And then we went and beat Pittsburgh, which we were 0-3 as a franchise [in the playoffs]."

Making the postseason and winning a playoff game put a strong finish on a difficult season, but General Manager Ozzie Newsome opened the nearly hour-long press conference by stressing that the Ravens have higher expectations than what they accomplished last year.

"We came up short in 2014. Our goal every year is to win the Super Bowl. And we did not win it," Newsome said. "We fell short. But I'd like to take this opportunity personally to thank John, his staff, the players, and all of the support people for the hard work that they did during 2014."

The particularly sweet part of the season for Bisciotti was beating the Steelers 30-17 at Heinz Field in the wild-card round. Bisciotti grew up as a Colts fan in Maryland, and he had never seen a professional Baltimore football team beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the postseason.

"I had a long history of losing to the Steelers in the playoffs," Bisciotti said. "John and I talked that night after our last [regular-season] game, and we said, 'We want Pittsburgh. They don't think we were supposed to be here anyway. I'm not rooting for Cincinnati, I'm rooting for Pittsburgh. I want to go get that monkey off our back.' And we did. I consider that a great success."

The Ravens have now made it to the tournament and won at least one playoff game in all but one of the seasons since Harbaugh and Joe Flacco arrived in Baltimore in 2008. Baltimore has been among the most successful teams during the stretch, and Bisciotti believes that the future is very bright for his team with Harbaugh at the helm.

"Now it's six of seven years, and we're trying to start a new five-year streak, which hopefully includes another Super Bowl," Bisciotti said. "You can't be in a competition with 32 [teams], flat out say it's legitimately 20, get to the final eight, and say it's not a success. That's where we are. And we're going to continue to work. I believe that.

"And a lot of it's because of [Harbaugh]."

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