Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd Fox
February 3, 2013
Aaron Wilson: Inside the raucous Ravens locker room at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, majority owner Steve Bisciotti moved his victory cigar to his left hand from his right.
The self-made Anne Arundel County businessman and billionaire, a fixture on Forbes' annual list of the richest Americans, needed his right hand free to shake hands and high-five players.
Wearing a fashionable sports coat and a huge smile that wouldn't quit after the Ravens' dramatic 34-31 Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers, Bisciotti, 52, made his rounds after spending time with his family, including his wife, Renee.
Bisciotti sought out reserve safety James Ihedigbo for a huge hug, telling the special-teams contributor that he loved him and calling him his "good-luck charm." Ihedigbo was in the Super Bowl a year ago with the New England Patriots.
"Mr. Bisciotti is just a good guy," Ihedigbo said.
"He cares about us. You can see that, you can feel that. We aren't just players to him. He treats us like we're his sons, like we're family."
What those close to Bisciotti remark on is how grounded he has remained, a regular guy content to puff a cigar and swig a beer or two with old friends. He meets a ton of people but has a knack for remembering every name.
It's the personal touch that Bisciotti is all about, taking time to make sure his players, coaches and staff know that he appreciates them.
Winning the Super Bowl was a watershed moment for Bisciotti, whose financial support provided a huge assist to the Ravens during their first Super Bowl run in 2000, when the team was still under the control of the late majority owner Art Modell.
On March 27, 2000, NFL owners approved the sale of a 49 percent stake in the Ravens from Modell to Bisciotti. On April 9, 2004, the NFL approved Bisciotti's purchase of the remaining 51 percent for $325 million.
The Severna Park graduate grew up as a big Baltimore Colts fan, often visiting training camp as a child in Westminster, where he met his hero, Johnny Unitas. Now, it's Bisciotti who has emerged as a Baltimore football luminary, the owner and leader of his own Super Bowl-winning franchise.
"He's a great personality," coach John Harbaugh said. "He's a very strong guy. He's a very smart man. He's the guy that establishes the vision for the organization, and I think Steve deserves a lot of credit. He's not a guy that wants the limelight. He's not a guy that wants to be out front banging his chest. He's a humble man."