The Baltimore Ravens' mercurial 2017 season left them outside the playoffs and on the cusp of what could have been the end of an era in Charm City.
"It was certainly a consideration, but not one that I was inclined to make this year," Bisciotti told reporters.
The revelation, which came minutes after Bisciotti announced Ozzie Newsome would step down as general manager after the 2018 season, shows how close the Ravens got to parting ways with Harbaugh. The Ravens have failed to reach the postseason the last three years, and Bisciotti's comments underscore how important it will be for them to make the playoffs next season.
"He's under as much pressure than probably he's ever been in his life, and I expect him to keep his chin up and take his positivity and his talents and make the most of the season," Bisciotti said. "I may as well replace him now if I tell him to make the playoffs or you're out of town next year. That's not the way we run business here."
Since guiding the Ravens to five straight playoff berths that culminated in a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers during the 2012 season, Harbaugh (94-66), who's under contract through 2019, has just one playoff win over the last five seasons. Injuries have played a significant role in the Ravens' recent struggles, but the team's playoff-barring loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the regular-season finale certainly stung hard.
Ultimately, the Ravens' 9-7 finish (following a 3-4 start) might have been enough for Bisciotti to keep Harbaugh around.
"I was very proud of the way John kept fighting, held the team together when we were losing in the middle of the year. Joe [Flacco] was obviously producing at substandard with his back injury and after the first couple of weeks, obviously, we were very encouraged by our defense and thought that could hold us together. We didn't perform very well in the middle of the year. I was proud of the way we fought back as a team."