It was projected to be one of the closer award battles, but Baltimore Ravens head coach, John Harbaugh, has emerged as the victor, winning the National Football League’s Coach of the Year award. Harbaugh, coming off his twelfth year as the Baltimore Ravens head coach. The 2019 season was Harbaugh’s best, as he and the Ravens posted a franchise-best 14-2 win season. But the overall record is only a snapshot of Harbaugh’s impressive season. Under his leadership, the Ravens turned away from conventions of the past, gambled on new strategies, and won big.
The Baltimore Ravens adopted a strong ground-game mentality while the rest of the league moved in the other direction. Harbaugh embraced a young Lamar Jackson, with all of his flaws, and doubled down on his strengths. The Ravens found unprecedented success under this strategy. Baltimore had one of the most dynamic offenses in the league this year. The Ravens broke the single-season record for most rushing team yards with 3,296 yards, topping the previous record of 3,165 by the 1978 New England Patriots. Baltimore also accumulated 3,225 passing yards. Altogether, the Ravens accumulated 6,390 yards and 531 total points.
The Ravens’ offensive explosion was complemented by the defense’s in-season rebranding and rebirth. Baltimore’s defense collapsed by the fourth week of the season, and instead of settling for what the defense was, the John Harbaugh and the Ravens immediately got to work. General manager Eric DeCosta found in-season free agents to add to the roster, like Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort, and Jihad Ward. Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale immediately found ways to exploit their strengths and fit them into the defensive scheme. The Ravens benefited from this infusion of talent and the defense exploded with production. By the end of the season, the Baltimore Ravens had the most dynamic offense and defense combinations in the league.
Baltimore fell short of the ultimate goal, a Super Bowl title, but Harbaugh’s coaching job during the regular season unquestionably earned him the award.
This is the first time a Baltimore Ravens head coach won the Coach of the Year award.