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If the Ravens make the playoffs, will the 2009 season be considered a success?

Baltimore sports fans are angry.

They are sick of their team losing to its rivals.

They are enraged that their players are caught on camera looking like they aren’t 100 percent focused.

They are sick of mental errors and lack of fundamentals.

And, hey, we aren’t even talking about the Orioles for once.

It’s been tough to watch the Ravens this year, and many of you used the bar Monday (and Sunday night) to vent. Wonderful. That’s the essence of why this joint was created.

Here’s the bottom line: The Ravens are a win in Oakland away from getting back to the playoffs. And, though the Ravens do not exactly look like a playoff-ready team (unless, say, the Bears and Lions are there), anything can happen in the postseason.

So your team wins and they have made it to the second season – which really is all a football fan can ask for.

And yet there is no joy in Charm City. Because this team has so many warts and because only the most loyal fan could envision John Harbaugh’s undisciplined squad making noise in January.

It brings up an interesting question: If the Ravens get to the playoffs, and eventually lose without making it to the Super Bowl, was this season a success?

I know, the Ravens made it to the AFC Championship last season and expectations were high for 2009. But the primary goal for a NFL team is to make the playoffs – only 12 of 32 do it. And the Ravens are on the precipice of doing it.

Of course, if they lose in Oakland, they end up 8-8 and no one can be happy with that picture of mediocrity. But 9-7 and a trip to the playoffs – where a little luck can propel a team – can’t be considered a disaster, right?

I know you can’t truly evaluate a season until it is officially over and the Super Bowl winner has been determined. But I want your thoughts now. I am impatient like that. I want you to evaluate whether the Ravens’ 2009 season can be considered a success if they make the playoffs.

Take your time. I’ll pour your draft slowly.

Daily Think Special: If the Ravens make the playoffs, will you consider the 2009 season a success?



Comments

At least partially a success, yes. It would have been nice to see more consistent performance, but I predicted they would finish as a wild card. (We won't talk about the rest of my picks.) So on the whole, I would consider it a success if they make the playoffs. I certainly won't consider it a failure if they don't make it to the Super Bowl. Just if they don't make the playoffs.

Though I will say, it will be nice when the team gets to the point where anything less than the Super Bowl is considered a disappoinment.

Yes I would consider it a success with a win at Oakland and a wild card spot in the playoffs. This has been a up and down year for sure. The Ravens have played one of if not the toughest scedule in the NFL (and have been in just about every game), and have delt with a rash of injuries on both sides of the ball at critical positions. They also have no big play/deep threat receiver, a second year QB and second year head coach. It is hard to win in the NFL...I don't think you could ask for much more. 2 straight years in the playoffs is a good starting point for Flacco and Harbs.

Successful if they get into the playoffs and definitely a disappointment if they don't get in and, end up with a mediocre draft position to top it off.

If the ravens really want to cure the discipline problems they need to clean house and get rid of everyone except, Flacco, Rice, Oher, Birk, Reed and Ngata.

Yes it does because they won't stop at 1rst round. They match up with New England and can get revenge in Foxboro and certainly if they play Cincy whose offense is wilting. Then it's anyones tourney to win.
Go Ravens!

After the pitt game, I thought that if the ravens got into the playoffs, they would lose their first round game. But now I wonder if getting into the playoffs is the weight that needs to be lifted from this team, that they will now have a clear final goal, where every game is maybe the last. Maybe they are so lackadaisical because they aren't trying to play too hard if they don't have to, that they're just trying to get the horse into the gate before they take off, so to speak. I mean, what's the point in dominating in the regular season? The only point of the reg season is to get into the playoffs, then the super bowl, then to win the sb. so I guess this isn't their last goal, but I'm wondering if maybe the ravens aren't as done as I thought. we'll see. if they do make the playoffs and lose the 1st game then it is not a successful season, I would say because not only have they beaten themselves a lot, but then they would not have overcome it.

I think if they make the playoffs, they accomplished one of their goals. The season won't be a success unless they go deep into the playoffs, which I'm doubting will happen at this point.

Perspective is funny: the Titans started 0-6, and their fans are probably happy with how the season ended up. The Ravens started 3-0 and are poised to make the playoffs for the second straight season, but we (the fans) are complaining.

No!They badly underachieved all year long!

I think it's considered a successful season to make the playoffs. In the big Super Bowl lottery picture, you can't win, if you don't enter. And you can't get a ticket without being in the playoffs.

O.K. Folks, I'll give my 2 cents worth. our Ravens have had a pretty strange season. They beat the weak teams, barely lost to the strong ones--except for N.E. All that being said, We will beat Oakland 37-10. Then go through the playoff's( on the road), to the Super Bowl. Just remember, we we're a Wild Card team when we won the Super Bowl team in 2001. So ALL you Ravens fans--We WILL get it done!

The season is unsuccessful if they loose in the first round. That would be unacceptable. If they get to the 2nd round, then you can argue they had a successful season. AFC championship, based on the injuries and what we had to go through, then yes a very successful season. Anything else is amazing!

I am a baltimorean and ravens fan now living in WV around division opponents fans mostly steelers but also some bengals and browns. Just making it to the playoffs is not all fans can hope for. As far as priorities go winning the super bowl is obviously pretty high and you have to make the playoffs to have a shot at the super bowl. That said I think fans want to see their team play like professional athletes. If you play a good clean hard nose mistake free game and lose thats not preferred but it is respectable however games played like the games against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh this year are down right embarrassing and unacceptable. The first Cincinnati game was tough to take but the second I drove 40 miles to see at a bar because my cable company was not showing the game. I was so disgusted that by half time I was driving back home. The second Pittsburgh game I did not even both go to watch it because The Baltimore Ravens in there short existence have shown one thing, if it is a big game, against a division rival most of the time they are not only going to lose but they with be embarrassed. So is making the playoffs all that matters? To me the answer is no. My preferences are:
1)Have a dominating Team year after year
2) Win super bowl trouncing division rivals along the way.
3)Win super bowl losing some respectable games to division rivals.
4)Trouncing division rivals or at least beating them no playoffs.
5) make playoffs losing some respectable games.

and so on.

just making the playoffs would be pretty far down the list. maybe not at the bottom but pretty far down.

Yes, playoffs = success. I don't care what anyone else says (big surprise). Let's face it, we overachieved last year and we under achieved this year but you can't complain about making the playoffs. Only 12 teams make it every year and we did lose a fair amount of talent from last year and we aged (Lewis, Reed) a bit this year.

I'd prefer a nice first round upset to go along with making the playoffs.....

I don't see how it's not a success. 6 teams make the playoffs each year. Of those 6, normally only 3 make the playoffs the following year. This year, if the Ravens make it, there are 3 again (IND, SD, BAL). I don't understand the anger from fans. NOTHING has been decided yet. Just because we make the playoffs at 9-7 doesn't mean we can't win the Superbowl. As Baltimore Fans, we're whiny. We spend years with Kyle "The Golden Boy" Boller leading the offense, make the playoffs twice or so, and now, after finding a franchise quarterback and star running back and continuing our defensive domination, the fans think we should be 13-3, maybe even 14-2. Anything can happen at any time. The NFL is the HARDEST league to keep success going and for some reason Baltimore fans don't believe it's enough to be consistent.
ONE team wins the Superbowl each year. Peyton Manning leads, arguably, the best team into the playoffs each year but only has ONE Superbowl ring. Being the best heading in, doesn't make you the best at the end. The Ravens can still take down some teams in the playoffs and if they start with Cincy, and then go to Indy, look for them to do some damage. They had PIT DOMINATED - it should've been a white wash. If you can overpower the Steelers at Heinz, you overpower anyone.

If they get in and go one and out (which is what I expect), then no. That's on top of all the obvious issues this team has with its secondary, pass rush, receiving corp and stupid penalties...

Clock management and penalties have been an issue for this team all season. The late hits, the two or three illegal procedure calls, and not having any times out in the waning minutes of the game all fall into the lap of the head coach.
This team is either wrapped too tight or not tight enough. Either way it often seems an issue to stay focused for sixty minutes. A win in the playoffs would give me some confidence that these discipline type issues can be overcome. Another implosion has me considering coaching options.

I think I'll be happier than fans whose fans don't make the playoffs, but unless they win the Super Bowl, this season will be remembered as "Well, they made the playoffs, but....". Think of it this way, the Ravens were one play or one drive away from the following games (which resulted in Ravens losses): @ Pats, Bengals, @ Vikes, Colts, and now @ Steelers. We have 7 losses, if things had gone differently, we'd have 2 losses (@ Bengals, and @ GB). So, unless they win the Super Bowl, it's a season of "Yes they made the playoffs, but...."

No, This team was supposed to compete for a championship. Was supposed to be an improvement over last year, and they have failed to do that. Sure they beat the teams they should have, but they just can't close out the good teams. Take Cincy the first time, Indy, NE, Pitt the second time. They are a huge disappointment.

I think that the goal of any season is to win the Superbowl. Making the playoff puts you in the hunt but it dose not make the season a success. They need to at least make the AFC Championship game again or the Ravens took a step back . We are not as good on defense, and we are making too many mistakes. So I would say that just making the playoffs in nice, going to the AFC Champoinship is better, but you have to win the superbowl to have a successful season.

Oh absolutely. That's just one fans and one man's own opinion but football is a week to week game, and I always look forward to seeing my Ravens play as long as the season is in effect.

Sure I want them to win every game, but I have long ago come to the conclusion that no matter how well the team performs and no matter how good or dominant they might be, a defeat here or there is inevitable.

~GO RAVENS~

No. This team has under achieved all year. Anything less than a deep playoff run should be considered failure because of the team's lack of discipline. A better coach (an NFL coach, not a college coach masquerading as an NFL coach) would have clamped down on the penalties and instilled discipline on this team. Most of our losses have been by less than a touchdown and we have lost due a lack of discipline and mental errors which indicate a lack of coaching.

Of course this season would be considered a success. Given the fact that every season with the exception of one when the ravens make the playoffs they falter very badly the next. It goes without saying that 9-7 would have sent us home last year but this is not last year and any time your season is extended by one game you had a good year. Our schedule was tough and we never lost a game to a team that we should have beat. ie..the browns or chiefs. We went on the road to Minnesota, Green Bay and New england and very easily could have won 2 of them. We are a good football team and with a little luck could make a run. The alternative is we could have won the superbowl last year and not even be in the playoffs this....Pittsburgh.

The Ravens miss the playoffs. They will beat Oakland, but, Cincinatti has nothing to play for, so the Jets should win. I would still call this season a success. If you look at the schedule, you really can't point to a loss where the Ravens should have won. They lost to the Packers, Pats, Vikings, Bengals, and Steelers, all playoff teams, all on the road. Then you have the near-perfect Colts. The only game you could possibly point to and say the Ravens should have won was the Bengals at home. I think the take away here will be that SoS did in the Ravens this year. If the Jets had to play Indy earlier in the year, or the NFC Central, the results would have been different.

As you think of this year, think of the screwing (non-intentional) that we received on the schedule. We had to play MIN and GB on the road, while PITT played them at home. Because we finished second and they finished first last year, they were able to play two first place teams (MIA and TENN) while we played two second place teams (NE and IND). Which would you have preferred? The Ravens have not lost to any bad teams this year. In fact, we are one of four teams in the NFL that have not lost to any team with a losing record. Given that, and injuries to Rolle, Reed, Washington, Nakamura, Webb, Gaither, etc, I will be thrilled to be in the playoffs.

This season is definitely a success if we make the playoffs. Was the road as pretty as it was last year? No. Has the road been more frustrating to watch this year? Yes. But let's not forget that in the playoffs, records are thrown out the window. A 9-7 team has just a good of a shot at winning the Super Bowl as any other team. The right things just have to fall in place. Is it being optimistic? Sure but if recent history has shown anything, it's that the regular season is thrown out the window during the second season.

If we don't make it, this season is definitely a disappointment. Is it a failure? Far from it. Be grateful you don't live in St. Louis, Detroit, and Tampa this year. To be honest, the Falcons and Dolphins are in the same boat we are in. Each season is different in so many ways from injuries to how well players perform that year to a tougher schedule. And a mid-level draft pick isn't the worst thing in the world. It's a position that allows you to improve your team but also knowing that you aren't so far away from truly contending. Sure we didn't win the Super Bowl but Dez Bryant (or any of the WR/DE talent) wouldn't be a good prize?

To be honest, Baltimore fans are angry because we're just that way. We react very strongly to anything that happens. We point fingers and have extremist views the second after something happens. We're nationally known for being angry fans that are satisfied with nothing. We expect all of our players from Ray Lewis to our backups to be all Pro Bowl caliber. If we win a Super Bowl, we'd complain about the fact we didn't win by more points because of a penalty or dropped pass. It's just the way we are, it's the way we show our passion for our team. Is it borderline crazy? Maybe but I think most of us wouldn't have it any other way. Plus since we have a baseball franchise that has failed us every year, we look upon the Ravens as our one source of hope and pile upon huge expectations on them.

YES making it to the playoffs is part of the success for this team. Sure it's not pretty how they are doing it, but win in Oakland and we are in the tournament to compete for the championship. The teams ahead of us in the tourney have barely beaten us except for my favorite, SD, who we already beat! Stop whining and look at the reality of today's NFL, 3 weeks ago the vikes, saints and colts all looked unstoppable. How they lookin this am.

As for the fans who are embarrassed by the Ravens, too bad for you. They are human beings who make mistakes against other great athletes who are "PAID TO WIN THE GAME" I love this Ravens team and think back to back playoffs is a good sign of things to come. With all the losses we have had to injuries, no real wideout threat for flacco, new defensive co replacing a bmore legend and 2nd year coach and qb I think we are setting up to be a Playoff team in the NFL year after year! The type of consistency that other teams yearn for and makes increases our chances to win the big one!

Go Ravens!

Go Ravens

Yes, with all the injuries, penalties, offseason cuts, signings gone bad, 2nd year QB/Coach, blah, blah, blah... We were only "beat" twice!! At Cincy and at Green Bay. Every other game "we" lost it ourselves and should have won!! If we get in, we upset Cincy or NE and yes, it's surely a success!!!! We could easily be 14-2 with all the crap that has happened this year, period!

We're all told since childhood it's not whether you win or lose it's how you play the game.

Your thoughts on the Ravens' season depends on how that proverb sits with you.

Sitting here today, I think the Ravens deserve to have their season end next Sunday, then spend the next 6 months thinking about what an uncomposed bunch of losers they acted like when it really mattered. How five games were within their grasp of winning, but they, the players, screwed them up.

I worry about being embarrassed in the playoffs on national television by another game with 100+ yards of penalties.

But then, don't the Ravens represent our city well? Always "this close" to being great, but always having something mess it up in the end.

with all the injuries, YES!!! Not to mention all the other crap we've gone through... Reskins, Titans, Falcons, Giants, Bears, Texans, Dolphins, 49ers ALL would LOVE to be in the Ravens position!! Success just to make the playoffs? Again, YES!!

The further you get away from the debacle in Pittsburgh, the more it looks like that was the worst loss in Ravens history.

When you consider what was at stake (beating your archrival, in their house, with playoffs on the line and the ability to end their season), and how we lost (stupid, undisiplined penalties and lack of focus at key points), it was an absolute disaster.

I get the feeling that we're mentally scared of the Steelers, just like we were mentally scared of the Jags in the late '90's. We take the field assuming that something is going to beat us, and usually that something is ourselves.

I hope we win in Oakland and get in the postseason, but nobody should be proud of the 2009 Ravens after last Sunday. They need to take stock during the offseason--the talent is there, but what's inside the helmet is lacking, and the coaches and front-office should wake up.

People forgot how much they over-achieved last year. Going into 2008 with a rookie QB and HC people had a winning 4-5 games tops. So came back down to earth this year and will still make the playoffs.

If it too painful for some fans to watch there's another MD team you can go 'enjoy'

Don't know who the Barry is who wrote at 9:52 am but that's not me.

I believe making the playoffs means the season is a success. And I think the Ravens will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs.

Also, I believe John Harbaugh is a good coach who will continue to get better.

Sorry "Josh" but the outcome of Cincinnati vs the NY Jets has no bearing on the Ravens playoff chances once we thrash Oakland.

no.

Interesting comments....it all boils down to one word. EXPECTATIONS! In my opinion, last year was the 2nd most enjoyable season i've witnessed as a RAVEN fan. 1st being the Super Bowl run. why? b/c no expectations last year...another enjoyable season was the 7-9 season in 2002 after the super bowl purge... i remember being in the thick of a playoff push until the last game of the season against Pitt. This year there have been expectations placed on this team. i predicted a 10-6 regular season and at least one win in the playoffs. So a trip to the divisional round is a must, as well as playing well in that game!

If they make it to the playoffs and have a good showing (win or lose) then it was a success.

But not making it the playoffs would be a shame on the entire organization for having so many blown opportunities throughout the season.

It's been an up and down year, but all they have to do right now is get in the playoffs--after that, it's no secret--just win! Winning cures all ills. If they make a run, and win the SB, I guarantee, no one will care what the regular season record was. Go Ravens!

Dan, you nailed it when you said "9-7 and a trip to the playoffs... can’t be considered a disaster." That wouldn't make the season a success, just makes it mildly disappointing. If they can win a couple of games, then we can talk about a success.

The killer is that the team was oh-so-close in about 6 games, and in only one of those (@ SD) did the Ravens prevail. There's no team that's a pushover in the playoffs, but you have to figure that the Ravens will be a very tough "out" for a 9-7 team, should they get there.

This season is a deep disappointment either way. We are still the undisciplined team of 2007 and 2008. This team isn't making the playoffs. The Ravens must get a more disciplined coach to truly become a great team. That is what Baltimore sports fans want.

it is a huge disapointment now because baltimore has the player talent to have made a verry verry strong run at the superbowl. it is a complete lack of coaching that has this team where it is. from the head coach to the ass't. coaches they are auwful. nothing will happen to change that for at least another year, and it will stink next year, but the boss is not the kind of guy to unload these coaches to fast, and thats a shame.

Anytime you make the playoffs your season is a success but considering the expectations we had early makes this a somewhat downyear, however if there able to get into the lader rounds of the playoffs(meaning past the first round)then this season is definently a success.

Yes. They have a first-year DC & a 2nd yr QB plus a young 2nd yr head coach. Dah! They weren't that good last year but they had that incredible defense plus Jeff F always helps out in a crunch. A totally different coaching philosophy takes time for players to learn. This has been, in my opinion, a rebuilding year more than anything else. They're fine even at 8-8.

If the Ravens went 13-3 and lost in the first round I would consider that a diaster. But as frustrating as this team was to watch this year, and with their schdule, I consider 9-7 and playoffs a successful season. Depending on the Bungles/Jets game, the Ravens will play either the Pats or Bungles both of which the Ravens match up very well and would not be a upset if they win. The Ravens may have overacheived last year but this year they definitly overacheived based on the lack of a playmaking receiver a shut down corner back, second year QB and a young offensive line. Was this season a success if we make the playoffs? HECK YES!!!

the ravens were or two penalties away from winning every game they lost so yes it this season is a success because no team truly beat us we beat ourselves.

Hey Josh, When the Ravens beat Oakland, they WILL be in the playoffs. I just wanted to let you know that. Go Ravens

This season was a loser before it ever started for several reasons - not signing Brandon Marshall when they had the chance, could have been an elite team for the next ten years with him and Flacco - paying ridiculous money for a bunch of castoff's, Carr, Foxworth, and LJ Smith - bringing in Mattison as D Coordinator, he has no clue. The team needs to be rebuilt for next season.

20 teams do not make the playoffs. With that in mind, the Ravens succeeded .. at least somewhat. With a little discipline, we could be talking #2 seed, cause we beat SD.

Right now, the teams to beat are San Diego and Philadelphia. Both are playing very well. Colts have been sliding by each week (until last week). Saints and Vikings are spiraling downhill.

If we can get in .. we beat SD, though it was early when they were stumbling. We were in both games against Cincy, had NE beat, had Indy beat too. So we *could* go deep into the playoffs .. IF .. and only IF .. we stop the incredibly stupid penalties. The ones on Sunday were hard to blame on the old Tagliabue rules.

Play smart. Call smart plays. We could be interesting in the playoffs.

No. Even with the known weakinesses in the receiving corps and the defensive backfield, this team had the potential to dominate most teams on both sides of the ball. Instead, they beat up on the weaklings and practically willed themselves to lose against the elite. It wasn't just penalties, or missed kicks, either. So, no, I would not consider limping into the wild card as a 9-7 team to be a success.

I love my home team. Been a PSL/season ticket holder since '96. But, simply making the playoffs does not in my view define success. Not with this team and not with a 9-7 record. 9-7 is one game above average and that's all this team is this season. I am appalled at how undisciplined the Ravens are. That speaks directly to coaching. I am equally disturbed at the consistent coaching errors on the sidelines -- use of time outs, incorrect personnel packages in the game, etc. Since John Harbaugh had no track record as a coordinator, I'm sure he was hired based on his potential. Last year he had Rex -- the assistant head coach -- holding his hand. This year he has been on his own and it hasn't been pretty. No matter how far they may go in the playoffs, I am certain that his post-season evaluation from the owner won't simply be a pat on the back end. Bisciotti's thoughts may go something like, "you have now had two season to grow into this job and there are a number of areas that need to be addressed before the start of your third year." If we're still talking about the same stuff this time next year, the conversation will be, not about Harbaugh's 4th season, but about his replacement.

Simply making the playoffs is not a successful season. Coming off of last year's AFC Championship loss and all of the hype about the Ravens going into this season, a first round defeat would be a major step back for a veteran team. Think about the blow opportunities this season. Clayton drops a ball late against NE, costly penalties against the Bengals and Packers and Steelers, missed field goals against Vikes and Steelers. The lack of discipline and execution by this team has been horrible. The tools are in place for this to be an elite team but they simply can't get out of their own way.

one of the first posts above was from someone named dan.....who suggests we need to get rid of everyone on the roster but the six players he named. you, dan, are either 5 years old or already working on your NY Eve binge. wow, what genius. the very first 49 player roster turnover in nfl history. i'm positive that we would find 49 better players too.

Seriously folks, don't drink and drive. Dont drink and operate machinery and don't drink and post stupid comments at CCSB. This is a classy joint.

This team easily, very, very easily could have had three more wins in the win column- the last Pittsburgh game, the missed field goal at Minnesota and the last second Bengals TD after the penalty kept the Bengals alive...
Add those three and you have a Ravens team winning the AFC North division and at 11-4...and nobody, but nobody would be unhappy.
The ball breaks funny sometimes in the NFL and the Ravens have had little go their way in terms of the breaks of the games.

Of course it will. Maybe Suggs will decide to play in the play-offs. Suggs doesn't have to play in the pre-season and for all that money he doesn't have to play in the regular season. So maybe the light bulb goes off in the PLAY-OFFS. "Duh, play-off; I need to start playing". For all you old timers, remember Curtis Dickey's phone number? I think Suggs has that number now. Now that's got to make you all you old timers laugh. Go Ravens! It may not sound like it but we are behind you 100%. We are proud to be Baltimore Ravens fans.

I'm still waiting for Flacco to move the team to a score (TD or FG) on our last possession to win the game.

Yes, of course. That's the goal of every team entering training camp. And once you're in the tourney, ANYTHING can happen.....look at last year's 9-7 entry, Arizona, one minute short of the Lombardi trophy.

Of course getting to the play-offs is a successful season - it's the only way to the S-Bowl.

I agree with Mark in Florida. If the Ravens get to the playoffs and win their first game, then the season can be considered somewhat successful. Winning a game would prove that we belong there. Short of that, we can't be happy just getting into the playoffs by the skin of our teeth. I mean, c'mon, 9-7. Are you kidding me? The Pats didn't even make it into the playoffs last year with 11-5. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Raiders have been a nuisance to good teams all season. We can't look past them. They'd love nothing more than to play spoiler and keep us out of the playoffs.

Well before the season started I thought the Ravens would win 11 or 12 games this season and looking back they still could've so this season is already disappointing to me. If they beat Oakland and get into the playoffs, it's partially a success but I'd like to see them actually win a game in the playoffs. So in the end, I think this season will end up being, at best, a partial success but it will not live up to what I hoped it would be, unless they somehow make a run like the Cardinals did last year.

I would consider it somewhat of a success. Yea, the goal of any team is to win the Super Bowl, and the Ravens might not do that this year. Some people might say "Well, they made the playoffs, but....."

i take a "glass is half full" approach to that. They seem to be changing from a team where just a winning season each year is success to where making the playoffs every year is the meaning of success.

Look at the Colts for example. Them making the playoffs every year is pretty much a forgone conclusion before each season even starts. I think that is the natural progression that the Ravens are on and therefore I'd consider this season somewhat of a success.

Yes, with stipulations!

If they win in Oakland, thereby making the playoffs, and in the playoffs...

1) Play 100% and with poise
2) Not commit the stupid penalty mistakes we saw in Pittsburgh
3) Not make the stupid coaching decisions we've seen throughout the season

(No matter how far they go in the playoffs)

Only then will the season be considered a success.

Anything short of the 3 items listed above and short of a SB victory would not be considered successful.

Yes--IF they play in at least 3 more games.
In any event, they will be remembered as underachievers by NFL standards.
If they can fill in next season for their lack of a vertical WR, a cover CB & general team-discipline, they will be perennial contenders.

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