NEW ORLEANS - Back in November, there was buzz that the Ravens experienced a near mutiny leading up to their Oct. 28 bye week.
Reports indicated that coach John Harbaugh and his coaching staff faced a disgruntled group of players, and instead of letting it get adversarial, he heard them out in a productive give and take.
The Ravens went on to win the next four games after being thrashed by the Houston Texans the week before the bye.
Safety Bernard Pollard provided perhaps the first public description of the meeting Wednesday and called it the turning point of the Ravens’ season.
“We had a meeting where we all talked. We got some stuff off our chests, Coach got some stuff off his chest. But that was the turning point,” Pollard said. “When we walked out of that meeting, we all as players went into the locker room and we literally all said, ‘We’re going to the Super Bowl.’ And it was just something we knew where it would take a while.
“Everyone wants to say, ‘Well, is this team destined to go to the Super Bowl or is this team destined to win a Super Bowl?’ Well, you can be destined all you want to. if you don’t play like you’re destined, who cares about what you think as far as being destined? But I think for our team, man, the turning point was just that meeting, was just that time. The things that we went through before our bye week, yeah we had two losses, we had some humbling experiences.
“But at some point in time through your life, you’re going to go through some humbling experiences. You’re going to be humbled and you’ll eat the humble pie. It don’t taste good. It don’t feel good. But I think for our team, the three losses in a row really kind of helped us out. We knew going into the playoffs it was one or done. It was one and done, and if we didn’t play right, we were going home. We didn’t want to pack our bags. We weren’t ready for exit meetings. We wanted to get to the Super Bowl.”
Pollard expressed nothing but positive sentiments about Harbaugh for facilitating such an exchange, one that strengthened the unity of the team, even if it did later endure the three-game skid.
“We talked, we discussed some things. One thing that I can say, we’ve got nothing but respect for coach Harbaugh, for the rest of our coaches to sit there to listen to the things that we had to say,” Pollard said. “We listened to the things that they had to say. Everybody was humbled.
“Really, everybody put their card down and took it. We took that punch in the face and I can honestly say everybody turned the other cheek and we got to rolling. We lost some games, we got off that horse a little bit. We had to find a way to get back on it, but at the same time, we’re sitting here right now.”
Update: Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata also commented on the meeting during Wednesday’s session.
“We had a little therapeutic session,” Ngata said. “It was huge that our coach was able to stand there and listen to some of our concerns. That takes a lot of heart and humbleness to sit there and listen to that. Once we got all of that out, we started communicating better. We started talking more coach-to-player and player-to-coach. It brought us closer and it definitely helped our team.”