Bisciotti says winning a second Super Bowl would put Ravens in an upper echelon


In rare interview, owner talks about the meaning of Sunday's game, among other topics

January 31, 2013|By Jeff Zrebiec | The Baltimore Sun

NEW ORLEANS — Twelve years ago, Steve Bisciotti arrived for Super Bowl XXXV as a minority owner of the Ravens, content to remain in the background and have fun with his friends.

Bisciotti, his wife, Renee, and his assistant, Pam Lund, arranged for 250 family members to travel to Tampa, Fla., for the game. He rented a corporate tent and hired a band for pregame entertainment, and then he watched the game from a suite at Raymond James Stadium.

After the Ravens beat the New York Giants, 34-7, to capture the franchise's lone title, Bisciotti was on the field to watch the trophy presentation and then he took his sons inside the victorious locker room.

"I was kind of a fly on the wall for the whole experience. It was still Art's team. All I did was ask the Modell's for a block of tickets so I could take all my friends," Bisciotti said Thursday during a rare interview. "Yeah, it was a great thrill, but like Cal Ripken [Jr.] winning the World Series with the Orioles] in his second year, you think, 'Boy, this is pretty cool.' Then, here we are 12 years later before we've got a chance to do it again, and all we've done is gotten here. The last time, we won it. It's certainly not going to be fulfilled if we don't win it."

Bisciotti arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday evening, four days before his Ravens will play the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. While the stage is now all his — he completed the purchase of the Ravens from the late Modell in 2004 — he remains adamant about maintaining a low profile.

However, he consented to an interview with a small group of reporters Thursday at the downtown Hilton hotel that is serving as the Ravens' Super Bowl week headquarters. Wearing the 2000 Super Bowl ring on his finger, Bisciotti discussed what another title would mean to his legacy.

"I would be lying if I didn't say that I feel like the first one is half-mine. Yes, I believe that the decisions that we made were so far down the stream with me as an owner, sure, you ultimately want to have that," Bisciotti said. "I get to set the reset button to zero if we win. I mean five days from now , we're either going to be setting the reset button and saying it's been one year, two years since our second Super Bowl, or it's been 13, 14, 15 years since our only Super Bowl. So I want that for Baltimore, I want it for [general manager Ozzie Newsome], I want it for [coach] John Harbaugh. Everybody gets to press the reset button and say, 'Yeah, now we're the defending world champs.'"

Bisciotti conceded that he was devastated by the team's last-second loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship last season, though a win Sunday would surely erase any bad memories that linger.

"I'm 52. I don't want to be 62, saying it's been 22 years since our Super Bowl," he said. "If you look at the league, there's about a third of the league that's never won one, a third of the league that's won one, and a third of the league that's won multiples. So I'm very aware of the fact that if we win this, the Ravens get to step into that top third of being multiple Super Bowl winners in only a 17-year existence, and it would make me very happy for Baltimore."

In a 35-plus minute interview, Bisciotti touched on a variety of other topics:

** While offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, the Ravens' first ever draft pick, is viewed as a near lock to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Modell's situation is far more complicated. He is a finalist, but there remain voters who are opposed to his candidacy because of his decision to move the Browns out of Cleveland.

Bisciotti doesn't expect Cleveland to understand or forgive. However, he said that city's rabid fan base should not be the reason Modell is kept out of the Hall of Fame.

"It seems like a spite thing and not a legitimate 'let's look at the resume thing,' and that's really what I hope changes this year," he said. "I do think he's the most accomplished person in the history of the NFL that is not in."

** Bisciotti categorically denied playing a major role in the Dec. 10 firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, calling those reports "ridiculous and "hurtful."

"I don't push or force John [Harbaugh] to do anything," Bisciotti said. "John called me. I didn't call John. He said he already spoke to Ozzie and was pretty sure he was going to make this decision. ... It's a little hurtful to be accused of doing something that I didn't do, and nobody would corroborate that story. I didn't do it, and Ozzie didn't do it. We're there as John's sounding board."

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