When Ravens brass took the stage for the season-review press conference in January, there was no desk pounding or finger pointing after the team's 5-11 season.
Owner Steve Bisciotti didn't deliver any ultimatums, and he praised the work he saw from Head Coach John Harbaugh and General Manager Ozzie Newsome, emphasizing the importance of continuity throughout that 49-minute press conference.
"I know that I got a little criticism at the end-of-the-year press conference because I maybe put up too rosy of a picture," Bisciotti said during an interview at the owners meetings last week. "But it's how you deal with failure, more than failure itself."
In dealing with failure, Bisciotti lauded the job Harbaugh did to keep the team together throughout a difficult year. The Ravens were riddled with injuries to key players and leaders, but still found a way to upset Pittsburgh in Week 16 with quarterback Ryan Mallett making his first start as a Raven.
That game, in many ways, was evidence that Harbaugh kept the team fighting all the way to the end. Veteran players like Joe Flacco, Elvis Dumervil and Jimmy Smith all pointed to Harbaugh for setting a tone that helped keep the locker room unified, and Bisciotti took notice.
"I really was so proud of the way [Harbaugh], especially, dealt with failure that it was a huge silver lining for me," Bisciotti said. "I'm a good sounding board for John. I would like to pat myself on the back a little bit because I think the way I treated him allowed him to treat his players the same way."
The Ravens are heading into their ninth year with Harbaugh at the helm, and last season was the first losing record since he arrived. Harbaugh has guided the Ravens to six playoff appearances and a Lombardi Trophy, and he has an 87-56 career record.
The lone losing season came in a year where the Ravens were down to their fourth quarterback, had 22 players with season-ending injuries, and even lost a game that the NFL acknowledged they really won.
All of those issues combined to hand the Ravens one of the most disappointing years in team history, but Bisciotti has confidence Harbaugh can guide the team back to where he expects to be.
"This was not a competence issue," Bisciotti said. "This was bad breaks, bad situations, bad injuries, a lot of things conspired to remind us that maybe we're not as good as we think we are. It's a humbling experience to lose, but humble men do great things from losing. You learn from it, and I watched John handle it as well as a coach could."