Winning a Super Bowl is never easy, however, winning SB XLVII wasn’t even the hardest part of John Harbaugh’s job last year. Nor was it even the hardest part of his tenure in Baltimore. Just getting the job in the first place is the answer to that question.
After spending nine years as the special teams coach with the Eagles, Harbaugh – who had never been a HC on any level – has spent the last five seasons imprinting his personality on the Baltimore Ravens. A task, considering the wide range of personalities always present on Ravens' squads, in and of itself. His common sense, logic meets physicality brand of football is a big season why they’ve made the postseason every year he’s been in Charm City. Over this time they’ve von 63 total games, been to three AFC Championship Game and were crowned in last years SB. He has the Xs and Os down, but he has something else. The ability to emotionally connect with players and motivate them to overachieve. That trait accounts for his success as much as anything else.
It’s a big reason why the Ravens will still be a contending squad this year. Detractors look at their losses (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, etc) and see a team with a huge leadership vacuum on the field and in the locker room. Harbaugh’s not the type to let that happen, and so nobody should expect a Super Bowl hangover of any sort.
If anything, the 2013 campaign is bound to be an easier season. Remember, last year there were whispers about QB Joe Flacco’s true upside, and whether, with contract negotiations on the horizon, he was worth a big pay day. They also dealt with Ray Lewis’ injury, which kept him out for several games. Additionally, Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles in the spring and struggled in the regular season to get back to his normal disruptive self, the team let go of their OC towards the end of the season, and Harbaugh had to coach against his brother in order to win the Super Bowl.
From here on out, it’s gravy. He’ll install the same kinds of game plans and inspire his players as he’s always done here in Baltimore. He’ll lean on guys like Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Halota Ngata and Suggs for leadership. They’ll compete in a tough AFC North like usual and they’ll make another postseason run. For a guy who has climbed as many mountains as Harbaugh has, this season will be a piece of cake.