If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
This could certainly be the mantra for the Baltimore Ravens under soon-to-be General Manager Eric DeCosta.
DeCosta told the Talk Sports America podcast how the Ravens have attempted to emulate how the Pittsburgh Steelers do business in hopes of becoming more like them. Yes, the fierce rivalry between the two AFC North teams has the Ravens realizing how the Steelers do business, and how they can adjust their own practices.
“We’ve tried to build a sustained culture over a period of time like some of our competitors,” said DeCosta. “We’ve admired the Steelers, even though it’s probably hard for me to say that. Teams like the Steelers who have been able to consistently win … they do it a certain way. And we’ve tried to emulate that … and I think we have to a degree. And I’m proud of that.
“So, in my situation, I’m trying to be patient like I know Ozzie would be patient … Listen, the Ravens are going to be here long after I’m gone and long after Ozzie’s gone, and it’s all about people. I believe you win with people, and we’ve got a great staff … we’ve got great employees here … who can help me succeed and help us succeed.
“It’s still the Ravens’ Way of doing things, and I believe in that. Yes, big shoes (to fill). However, I believe in the people that are going to help me along the way, including Ozzie. I believe in Steve Bisciotti, our owner, and I really believe in John Harbaugh, our head coach. And I think we have the people here to succeed over the next 10, 15 to 20 years.”
When fans talk about the “Steelers Way”, most assume they are referring to Super Bowl victories. Those six trophies at the team headquarters is certainly impressive, but the “Steelers Way” is much more than just winning championships. It is about a level of consistency paralleled by few. It is about not falling for the gimmick and trends throughout the league. It is about building an organization from the foundation up. And, yes, it is about winning.
While Steelers fans might read this and think DeCosta, who will take over full-time as General Manager when Ozzie Newsome retires after the 2018 season, is losing his mind for saying such a thing, if other General Managers were honest they would likely say the same thing.
Since 2007, the Steelers’ worst record has been 8-8. In that same time span, since Mike Tomlin was brought in as the head coach, the team hasn’t suffered a losing season.
Despite the fact the Steelers haven’t climbed to the top of the NFL mountain since the 2009 season, they remain one of the few franchises who can be labeled as a gold standard throughout the league. So, while fans of the Ravens might read what DeCosta said and be sick to their stomachs, fault him for saying it publicly, not for doing business the right way.
After all, the “Steelers Way” is by far the way to go.