The New England Patriots might not have to face John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens so often if it wasn’t for Bill Belichick.
Way back in 2008, the New England Patriots head coach gave Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti a call to recommend Harbaugh for Baltimore’s open head-coaching job. Since then, the Patriots and Ravens have met in the playoffs three times, with Baltimore ending New England’s season on two of those occasions.
So how does Harbaugh feel about the fact Belichick set him up for success?
“It meant everything,” the Ravens head coach told reporters Thursday. “As far as probably getting the job, it didn’t hurt. You have to ask Steve and (general manager) Ozzie (Newsome) if it made the difference or not. But the fact that he was willing to do that at the time, I was stunned when I heard the story much later.”
Perhaps it’s because Baltimore has enjoyed more playoff success than New England during his tenure, but Harbaugh doesn’t necessarily see Belichick as the enemy.
“I would describe the relationship as very good,” Harbaugh said. “(I have) great admiration for Coach and consider him — I’ve never worked with him, specifically, but for whatever reason he has been always willing to kind of take me under his wing in a way and give me time and insight and things like that.
“A coach on his staff — Scott O’Brien — is a great mentor of mine, so that’s probably the connection, where it started. But I feel great about it and am just looking forward to going up there and playing the game.”
Still, Harbaugh wouldn’t say if he believes Belichick might regret making that call as he’s facing their fourth playoff matchup in Saturday’s divisional-round game.
“I don’t think I’m going to get into that,” Harbaugh said with a laugh.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images