The What If Game Part 2

Chris Schisler

Today we continue our path through the critical moments that changed the football world dramatically. This is the all too familiar “what if” game; a line of thought that is hard to stomach for those who like the way history turned out. Today we ask what would have happened if the Ravens hired Jason Garrett rather than John Harbaugh?

The 2007 season was the brutal end for Brian Billick in Baltimore. He was fired after a season that included a 9 game losing streak and gave Cam Cameron’s Dolphins their only win. The season was so abysmal that the Ravens cut Billick loose after rewarding him with an extension the prior year.

It is well documented that Jason Garrett was the Ravens first choice. Garrett however used the Ravens to up his contract with the Cowboys. He knew that he would eventually run the show in “Jerry World.” He would rather stay the offensive coordinator in Dallas than the head coach in Baltimore. The Ravens moved on, turned off by Garrett’s intentions.

The Ravens eventually hired John Harbaugh. Harbaugh took the Ravens to 5 straight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl championship. Needless to say the Ravens made a very wise decision. What would have happened if the Ravens brass chose Garrett? Could the Ravens have had this level of success?

The first truth we must examine was the fact that Jason Garrett would have cost more than John Harbaugh. Garrett was the big name candidate and he loved the Cowboys organization. Harbaugh was unproven and had never been an offensive or defensive coordinator. He was a special teams and defensive backs coach under Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Taking a risk on Harbaugh was the more prudent move. Prying Garrett away from Dallas would have required a huge chunk of money. Owner Steve Bisciotti was already paying Brian Billick to do nothing.

If the Ravens hired Jason Garrett nothing would have changed. Garrett was essentially a less qualified version of Brian Billick. He was supposed to be an offensive guru with a talent for calling plays (A responsibility Jerry Jones eventually took away from him in Dallas). Garrett and Bisciotti would not have coexisted well. Jason Garrett is a yes man to Jerry Jones. Bisciotti was a self made man with a chip on his shoulder. He did not want a yes man he wanted a leader.

The Ravens were very tempted to trade up to get Matt Ryan in the 2008 NFL Draft. If they had another “offensive guru” as their head coach, they may have been more aggressive. A trade of this magnitude may have required the Ravens to giveaway Terrell Suggs. Long story short, if the Ravens got Garrett they may have never had Joe Flacco.

It is possible Garrett may have wanted to repair the damaged goods that was Kyle Boller. Maybe he would have seen Troy Smith as his special project. When you get a guy. Remember, Garrett took Tony Romo from nobody to a star. He may have been conceited enough to attempt this with one of the Ravens lowly passers. In this alternate situation the Ravens would have been destined to struggle without a franchise quarterback.

Without John Harbaugh we would have never seen Cam Cameron in Baltimore. Some may see that as a good thing. Cameron was not originally the problem he would later become. I would entertain debate over who is the brighter offensive mind. Garrett likely has the edge in that battle. I know I have not written in pro Garrett prose but I do respect him. He has been associated with the game for so long; anyone who devotes their life’s work has some respect from me.

Garrett has a more proficient passing game; but Cameron had an understanding that Baltimore was built to be run first. Garrett puts a lot of pressure on his defense. His big flaw, heavy pass to run ratio and a high number of giveaways. We cannot assume that the offense would have been more efficiently run under Garrett’s guidance.

In conclusion the Ravens made the correct call in hiring John Harbaugh. Jason Garrett did not want the Ravens and it appears that was good for Baltimore. The Ravens went on to take the personality of John Harbaugh. This resulted in a lot of success.

This article is presented by Yogolaada
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