Bisciotti: I’m Not Over It

The Ravens owner said the pain of losing the AFC championship is still lingering.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Categories: Garrett Downing

The sting is still there.

For Ravens’ fans, players, coaches, executives and the team’s owner, the pain of losing the AFC championship to New England still lingers. 

“I’m not over it,” Bisciotti said Wednesday at his end-of-the season press conference at the team’s facility in Owings Mills.

The Ravens came within seconds – Lee Evans wasn’t able to hold onto a touchdown catch with 22 seconds left – of slaying the Patriots and advancing to the second Super Bowl in team history.

Baltimore has been close in recent years, making two AFC championships in the last four seasons, but they haven’t been able to leap that final elusive hurdle and return to the Super Bowl.

Many have wondered what it will take for Baltimore to finally get over the hump.

For Bisciotti, the answer is simple.

“Hold onto a ball,” he said. “I mean that’s where it was this year. It’s a game of inches and the ball bounces and we were there.”

In each of the four seasons with Head Coach John Harbaugh, quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice, the Ravens have been in the hunt for a title. They are 44-20 in the regular season during that stretch and have won at least one playoff game in each of those years.

Still, they have fallen short of their goal of winning a Super Bowl and Bisciotti said he looks at the past four seasons with mixed emotions.

“A lot of pride and a lot of disappointment and I would assume that’s probably where you want us,” Bisciotti said. “I’m proud of what we’re giving to Baltimore. I’m proud of our product.”

The difficulty, however, is balancing the successes of this year and recent seasons with the hardship of late-season defeats.

“This is a business, and if it wasn’t the elation you get from winning, nobody would subject themselves to this kind of pain and suffering,” Bisciotti said. “You come home from losses some nights and you think, why are you putting yourself through this? But then you experience those wins and you remind yourself with the good comes the bad.”

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome has endured his share of playoff heartache – as a player and now as a team executive. As a tight end with the Cleveland Browns, he suffered through infamous AFC championship losses like “The Drive” and “The Fumble,” and he knows the difficulty in getting a team back in position to play for a chance at the Super Bowl. 

“You can’t underestimate how hard it is to get to that point and how much energy it will take just for us to get back to that point and hopefully we can finish it off,” Newsome said. “That’s what I’ll be able to carry from those disappointments that I had in those years is that you just can’t turn the page and say ‘we’re going to be in the AFC championship game next year.’  It’s not going to happen. We have to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”

The Ravens have already started the process of moving forward.

Coaches, scouts and executives were in Mobile, Ala. just days after losing to New England to get a look at college prospects. The organization’s leadership met Tuesday to go through player personnel and address the priorities heading into the offseason. They have hired new coaches and are planning to get a jump on re-negotiating contracts with their free agents. 

The process of moving on has already started, but even Bisciotti admits, the way the season ended is still tough to stomach.

“The more you get into 2012, the more you realize that the pain is going away,” Bisciotti said. “But no, you’re not over it. I don’t think any of us are over it but we have to move on.”

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