Has there ever been a quarterback in the 47 year history of the Super Bowl who has generated such a wide disparity of opinion as to not only his ability, but his value, than the Ravens’ Joe Flacco?
One of the many questions that is being asked during the hype and sometimes hysteria of this Super Bowl week is basic: Which Joe Flacco is going to turn up Sunday at the Superdome against the 49ers?
Will it be the Joe Flacco, whose critics say he was so inconsistent and, at times, so bad, that he should be called Joe Flucco?
Or will it be the QB, who has won a playoff game in each of his five seasons as the Ravens’ QB, who has won 8 playoff games in a career which now indeed may be peaking, second only to a quarterback named Brady, who has 3 Super Bowl rings?
It would help, of course, if Flacco would make some outrageous statements or commit some ridiculous acts which would send the twitter world into an overload mode.
Not, that Flacco hasn’t tried.
At Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday, for example, Flacco was asked about the prospects of playing a Super Bowl in his home state of New Jersey, which the National Football League has deemed as necessary in February 2014.
Flacco, ever a true Jersey guy (he grew up in South Jersey, which sort of counts), responded: “I think it’s retarded. I probably shouldn’t say that. I think it’s stupid. If you want a Super Bowl, put a retractable dome on your stadium. Then you can get one.”
Flacco then backed off some more with his “retarded” remarks, but his point was clear. He didn’t think it was a good idea. The irony being, of course, that Flacco could again be playing in the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands next February and will have to deal with the quote which will be forever etched in Super Bowl lore.
Quarterbacks often bring out the best quotes, or sometimes the best or most bizarre questions. The Joe Namath “I guarantee” a win quote about Namath’s Jets against the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969 is the gold standard for such remarks of bravado.
Yet there is generally not very much of that in Flacco. His father told the New York Times that Flacco’s personality could be summed up in one word. “Dull, dull, dull.”
Flacco heard about the comment and shook his head. “I don’t know if I would say I’m dull but I’m probably pretty close to it,” he said.
What is not open for interpretation is Flacco’s commitment to get what he wants. He came out of South Jersey as a fairly highly recruited QB who chose a higher profile next step at Pittsburgh. It didn’t work out as Flacco spent two seasons as a back up QB for the Panthers before deciding to go to the 1AA level at Delaware. Normally that means you can play immediately. But when former Pitt coach Dave Wanstedt wouldn’t let Flacco out of his Pittsburgh commitment, Flacco sat out a year and played on the Delaware scout team and paid his own way–in the range o $30,000–for the privilege.
After a slow start at Delaware, Joe went from Flucco to Flacco and became a star. The Ravens took him with the 18th pick in the first round of the 2008 draft.
While there have been more than a few moments of head-scratching futility or mistakes, Flacco has emerged as a winner. With 62 victories in his first five seasons, no NFL QB has ever had such a productive start. Five straight seasons with at least one playoff victory. Eight playoff wins, including a daily double sweep of the Broncos and Peyton Manning and the Patriots and Tom Brady in this year’s playoffs have elevated Flacco to a level where there is some chatter that one more win this season will earn Flacco, “”Drew Brees money”" ($100 million) in his next contract.
Flacco has heard enough criticism that any praise directed at him is quickly dismissed.
“I really don’t care,” he said, when asked if he considered himself an ‘elite’ QB. “To be honest with you, it’s kind of a crazy question. It’s weird to answer. I’m jut going to let my play speak for itself. I don’t know if it’s answered or not. It’s not really my job to concern myself with that. You guys can talk all you want about that. If we come out here and play the game the way we should and the way we can, then I don’t care and I don’t think anyone else is going to care. We’re going to feel pretty good about ourselves and what we accomplished.”
Flacco will let others praise him, much in the same way others have buried him. “Joe is a playmaker and a great leader,” said Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. “Although you may not see it, he’s vocal. And he never has any doubts in tight situations.
But it is perhaps 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who no doubt learned lots about Flacco over the past few years from his brother John, the Ravens head coach, who offers the most impressive compliment.
“He has a tremendous habit of success,” said Jim Harbaugh. “He’s a winning QB. He’s a FOOTBALL PLAYER. I don’t know if you can give a guy a higher compliment than that.”© Copyright 2013 Mark, All rights Reserved. Written For: A Jersey Guy