In 2007, the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons sucked, pretty much equally.
Baltimore went 5-11, finishing last in the AFC North. That was enough to get Brian Billick fired. Atlanta went 4-12, finishing last in the NFC South. That was enough to force Bobby Petrino to run for the hills and the team was without a head coach when the offseason began.
Neither team had a franchise quarterback. Neither team had a very good running back. Neither had a coach.
Both franchises underwent significant makeovers in the months that followed. And now, general managers Ozzie Newsome and Thomas Dimitroff look like geniuses.
Since then, the two teams have gone a combined 65-31 (Baltimore 32-16, Atlanta 33-15). The Ravens haven’t missed the playoffs; the Falcons have only once.
That year, Newsome hired John Harbaugh as head coach. The duo used their first two draft picks on quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice, who have changed the face of the offence in their first three years. They have their franchise quarterback and their standout running back.
That year, Dimitroff and Mike Smith were hired to run things in Atlanta. The duo drafted Matt Ryan first overall and signed free agent Michael Turner from the San Diego Chargers. The two have changed the face of the offence in their first three years. They have their franchise quarterback and their standout running back.
Two weeks ago, the Falcons rewarded Smith with a three-year contract extension.
Yesterday, the Ravens rewarded Harbaugh with a three-year contract extension worth $12 million.
Although the terms were not disclosed on Smith’s extension, I’m willing to bet good money he got $12 million.
Both coaches deserve every penny.