Sports Outside the Beltway

The Billick Era

One thing I can’t stand about sportswriters is that they often meander off into generalizations and unsupported speculations. Then they figure that you won’t remember what they wrote when emerging evidence proves them wrong. For example last year some idiot wrote that the Billick era is over

I don’t follow football as closely as I follow baseball, but almost two months late, it’s safe to say that the Billick era is over.

I’m not denigrating Billick. Not many coaches win the Super Bowl. Fewer in their second year. But there are lingering problems with the Ravens that haven’t been properly identified. I suspect that he’s the one most (but not solely) responsible for that failure. The team needs to commit itself to a painful and hopefully short rebuilding process.

Now that “genius” will probably tell you that Billick is the main reason the Ravens have made it to the playoffs and can be realistically considered serious contenders for winning a second Super Bowl in their short history.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was the doubter last year. But I’ve come around.

I have to admit that I was skeptical when Billick fired his offensive co-ordinator, Jim Fassell. I wasn’t alone in wondering if that would really help. So did the Loss Column

Ummm…did I just say that Brian Billick will take over the play calling? This is great news for fans of the Browns, Bengals, and Steelers. And every other team left on the Ravens schedule this year. Write it down: this. will. not. end. well.

here too

So I’m going to go ahead and say it: it’s time for Billick to go. And nothing he does from here to February will change that opinion. Beginning with the decision to dismiss Trent Dilfer following his Super Bowl win, Billick has made one boneheaded, egocentric, and ultimately unsuccessful decision after another. I’m not saying he’s a bad coach or a bad guy (though I have my suspicions on both counts), I’m just saying his time is up. The Ravens need a new voice and a fresh start — mark it down.

But like me, they’re coming around

That said, this team is really, really good. I said to a friend of mine who is a huge fan that if they went into Kansas City and dominated then all bets would be off. They did that, and at this point I don’t know how anyone could argue that they’re not one of the top three or four teams in the league. I see teams in the AFC who could give them trouble (San Diego, Indy, a Cincinnatti rematch), but nobody they can’t beat. This looks a lot like 2000. I said a few weeks ago that the Brian Billick play calling scenario would “not end well,” and I was horribly wrong. I’ve got crow in the oven right now, simmering in garlic and olive oil.

And I suppose at this point there are no shortage of Baltimoreans who, at this point, are looking for a playoff game against Indianapolis.

One thing I still don’t get about the Billick era was expressed by Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun

It’s also ironic that Lewis and Colts coach Tony Dungy made names for themselves with defense, and their teams can’t play a lick of it. Meanwhile, Brian Billick had the reputation of being offensive-minded, and his offenses have struggled since he came to Baltimore. Go figure.

When the Ravens won the Superbowl six years ago, they did with defense and special teams. Since then the offense still hasn’t carried the team. And yet Billick was hired because of his record of success running the Vikings’ offense. Like he said, go figure.

Crossposted at OTB Sports and Soccer Dad.

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