For most teams, a 12-4 regular season record and an appearance in the divisional round of the playoffs would be considered a successful season.
Yes, every team’s ultimate goal is to be the one hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in early February, but 31 teams will come up short of that goal. And of those 31 teams, the majority of them would gladly take the Ravens’ 2010 performance as their own.
You don’t think the Rams would’ve been happy if they could have made the divisional round of the playoffs? Wouldn’t you agree that the Browns would have been thrilled with a 12-4 mark and a playoff win?
But that’s not how things work in Baltimore these days. Everyone, from the Ravens front office to the players to the media and fans, expects a Super Bowl title.
And that’s why Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti says that he’s not satisfied with the 2010 season, although he also noted that he hopes his team can make it back to the divisional round each year and give itself a chance to go on a playoff run.
“I’m proud of the success; I’m frustrated with the loss,” Bisciotti said. “Last year, I said that our goal is to be one of the elite teams. Realistically, our goal is to try and be in the top 12 that gets you into the playoffs. So, am I happy that we achieved a chance, a crack [at a Super Bowl]? John said in his conference after the game that night, 10 minutes after the game, ‘You can only aspire to be great.’ You aspire to be great, and you can only give it a shot. And we got to the final eight, three years in a row.
“And that is the cream of the NFL - that gets to the final eight - and only one of those eight teams are going to go on a three-game winning streak at that point. The other seven great teams can’t win three in a row. Statistically, only one of them can go on a three-game winning streak, and that’s the one that’s going to be crowned Super Bowl champ.”
While cleaning out their lockers earlier this week, a number of players said that what makes the Ravens a special organization is that they expect greatness. This franchise expects to be in the playoffs every year, competing for a Super Bowl.
Many fans might be frustrated that their team came up three wins short of being the last team standing, and Bisciotti certainly is as well. But the Ravens owner says all he can really ask for is that his team puts itself in a position to make things happen in the playoffs each year.
“I want to be in that (final) eight every year. Is it realistic? No. It really isn’t,” Bisciotti said. “It’s not realistic, but we’re going to keep on trying, because that’s our goal as a partnership here, is to try and give us a chance every year.”