Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti on Wednesday night expressed confidence in three of the franchise's highest-profile figures, saying criticism of this year's team echoes much of what he heard during the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII-winning season.
In a rare midseason media appearance in North Ocean City, Bisciotti told 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM)'s Mike Popovec and Russell Street Report's Tony Lombardi on the "The Original Greene Turtle's Ravens Rap Show" that if he "fired" quarterback Joe Flacco, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh, "a bunch of people would be happy." But doing so would betray his "confidence in their competence."
"I look at them, and then I look at us as a team, and I don't think they're doing anything wrong," he said. "I think a lot of this comes down to ... I hate to tell you that all our planning comes down a lot to a bounce of the ball."
Bisciotti pointed to Flacco's two interceptions in the Ravens' 27-24 overtime loss Sunday to the Chicago Bears, both of which deflected off a wide receiver's hands.
Fans, he said, are often "short-term thinkers." As an owner, Bisciotti said he evaluates performance over a "long period of time," and that he can't let fleeting frustrations influence how he operates the organization.
"So all I can tell you is that if we had won in overtime [against Chicago], then we all would be on cloud nine," he said. "We'd be 4-2. We'd be one of the best four teams in the AFC, and everybody would be happy. Instead, we're in the middle of the pack, one game back.
"If we make the playoffs this year, John Harbaugh will have made the playoffs in seven of 10 years. When I fired Brian Billick, if John walked up there and said, 'I will be in the playoffs seven of the next 10 years,' you would've said, 'Hallelujah, God bless you.' But now because they all came at the same time, then you can say he hasn't been to the playoffs. So if he doesn't get to the playoffs in four of the last five years, then the immediate reaction is, 'Off with his head.' And yet that would still be 60 percent playoff success."
Bisciotti said he processes an "enormous amount of information" about the team — more than what what those who follow the Ravens see and read — and urged fans to have faith in his ability to identify problems when they arise.
"You have to trust me that if there was a weak link, I would extricate myself from that problem," he said. "This is, unlike my business, a collaboration of everything going right. You really have to understand it before you start pointing fingers. "
This season's ups and downs, he acknowledged, have been difficult to predict. Games he "penciled in as wins" have gone the other way, and vice versa. But he said he doesn't think the variance of 2017 is unique to this year, and that gives him confidence.
He likened the critiques of this season's Ravens to those leveled against the 2012 Ravens, although that team won five of its first six games before a blowout loss to the Houston Texans.
"Go back in your own notes and your own criticisms — they were all the same, and somehow we won a Super Bowl. 'Ray Lewis is done,' 'Ed Reed won't tackle,' on and on and on, and then you win a Super Bowl," Bisciotti said. "Go back and look at every team that finally wins the Super Bowl and go back and read all the prognostications and all the criticisms through the year, and it's the same every year. So I have a hard time saying that this is a unique year. I don't see it that way."