Childs Walker: A new era, maybe
The Ravens introduce Joe Flacco after drafing the Delaware quarterback with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Ravens coach John Harbaugh (left), general manager Ozzie Newsome and director of scouting Eric DeCosta (right) pose with Flacco. (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam / April 27, 2008)
It's way too early to say that the calm quarterback and the tough coach will have a glorious run. It's hard not to like the early returns, however.
The year began with speculation that the Ravens wanted Dallas assistant Jason Garrett to replace Brian Billick. Or maybe Bill Cowher. Harbaugh had a recognizable name, sure, but he had never even served as an offensive or defensive coordinator when he was announced as new Ravens coach on Jan. 19.
Harbaugh quickly proved he was no fresh-faced newbie. He did not set aside his beliefs to accommodate the Ravens. The team's improvement speaks for itself.
Of course, it might never have happened if the Ravens hadn't traded up to pick Flacco. A conversation in his family's living room, a few days later, revealed the same implacable demeanor that has carried Flacco through his surprising rookie campaign.
Only when football came up did he grow the least bit excited. Flacco seems as unruffled in the pocket as he did on the couch that morning.
If the next decade is a great one for the purple and black, we might look back to 2008 as the start of something -- the Harbaugh-Flacco era.
-- Childs Walker