If you were surprised by the Baltimore Ravens giving coach John Harbaugh a contract extension, you're not the only one.
Asked about his reaction to owner Steve Bisciotti adding another year to his deal, Harbaugh said, "I guess the first thing I said was, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because that’s the best I can do and I want to do as much as I can.’ It’s a big statement."
After the Ravens won the Super Bowl last year, Bisciotti tore up Harbaugh's contract and signed him to a new four-year deal. That didn't shock anyone.
But no one expected Bisciotti to add another year to Harbaugh's contract after last season, which marked the first time that the Ravens didn't reach the playoffs in Harbaugh's six years as head coach. As I wrote Monday, this was a strong vote of confidence from Bisciotti.
Harbaugh, 51, is now signed through the 2017 season.
"You couldn’t get a better leader, or a man that understands group dynamics, understands how to build people up, how to bring together people in a way that is necessary for success and for treating each other with respect," Harbaugh said of Bisciotti. "We have a great leader at the top of our organization and his influence runs through the whole organization. He has a strong hand on what we’re doing that way. He does it in a soft-handed kind of way. He inspires, he transforms and he builds. It goes to Dick [Cass, team president] and to Ozzie [Newsome, general manager] and right through our organization.”
In six seasons, Harbaugh has guided the Ravens to a 71-37 record (.657), including three trips to the AFC Championship Game and one Super Bowl title. He is 15 wins away from becoming the Ravens' all-time winningest coach. Brian Billick had a 85-67 record (.559) in his nine seasons as the Ravens' coach.