I guess John Harbaugh really does do more with less.
The Ravens defeated the Titans in a preseason game that took place sometime last week (who knows when these things are played?) to extend Baltimore’s winning streak in exhibition action to 21-straight.
The last time Baltimore lost a preseason game was way back in 2015. Who defeated the Ravens? I didn’t look it up, but I do know that the Ravens’ streak of 21 victories in a row since then is a new NFL record; the mighty Packers of the Vince Lombardi era held the previous mark when they won 19-straight between 1959-1962. At least I think that was the previous record (who knows where these preseason records are stored)?
What does it all mean? I’m not so sure even Harbaugh knows the meaning, but I believe he thinks it means something:
“There’s going to be people that are going to say this doesn’t mean anything,” Harbaugh told ESPN last year when discussing his team’s then 19-game preseason winning streak. “There’s going to be people that are going to look at it and say, ‘Wow, that’s something.’ I’m of the belief that everything has meaning in life.”
If I know the “He does more with less” folks like I think I do, Harbaugh is probably getting a little too much undeserved praise for this, especially from the national crowd of reporters who are always eager to heap praise on the Ravens for...not much.
Seriously, remember last year when folks praised Harbaugh for his “gutsy” decision to go for two points at the end of two separate games? In case you don’t remember what happened, the Ravens failed on both attempts and ultimately missed the playoffs with an 8-9 record.
“It was the right call. I know it failed (twice), but you gotta love the guts,” said those macho risk-taking football pundits and talking heads all across America. Really? Isn’t the whole point to win football games?
The Ravens could have tied those aforementioned games with extra points courtesy of Justin Tucker, the greatest kicker in the history of the universe. Harbaugh tried to explain his decision to not trot out his great leg to extend these games and then take that weapon with him into overtime. For example, he cited multiple injuries to his defensive backs for his decision to go for two at the end of the game against the Steelers at Heinz Field on December 5, 2021.
That may have been true about the lack of defensive backs, but I would still have taken my chances with Tucker in overtime. You win the toss, you complete a pass or two, and you’re likely already in his range. After all, we are talking about a kicker who beat the Lions on the strength of a record 66-yard field goal a season ago.
Injuries aside, what Harbaugh did wasn’t gutsy. It was stupid. There’s a difference.
Going up to a group of beautiful women and trying to start a conversation with one or all of them is gutsy. Going up to a beautiful woman who is clearly hanging out with her boyfriend or husband and trying to talk to her is stupid.
I know what some might say, “Having success in the preseason will translate over to the regular season.”
You sure about that?
While the Ravens' regular-season record since 2016 is a rather impressive 60-37, the Steelers’, a team whose preseason record since 2016 includes a combination of wins and losses that I’m not sure of, is an even more impressive 62-33-2.
Does winning in the preseason really help all that much, especially if you already have the talent to win during the regular season?
I’m not saying the Ravens are putting their star players in harm’s way to win games during the preseason—they rest starters just like everyone else—but they are clearly TRYING to win games in August. That’s quite easy to do when few other teams are “going for it” in exhibition play.
And you thought celebrating 15 years of non-losing regular seasons was shameful...
Anyway, I have a final message to John Harbaugh and the Ravens as they attempt to extend their preseason streak to 22 against some team on whatever day:
I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you.