You can’t spell ELITE without F-L-A-C-C-O
Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens on winning Super Bowl 47. It certainly was a fun game to watch filled with everything from a record setting Kickoff return to a 34 minute delay due to a power outage. We saw the grand finale for Ray Lewis, who will join Jerome Bettis, John Elway, and Michael Strahan as the only players to win a Super Bowl in their final NFL game. We saw Colin Kaepernick rush his way into the record books. We even saw an intentional safety. For all we saw in this years Super Bowl, there was something we couldn’t envision right away, but probably see it more clearly now than ever before. Joe Flacco is a special Quarterback.
You will hear and read the word “Elite” over a hundred times when it comes to Joe Flacco. The question will be asked over and over. Is he or isn’t he? The fact of the matter is Joe Flacco has just completed one of the most impressive postseason runs we have ever seen. Flacco threw 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions including his 3 TD performance in the Super Bowl. That ties him with Joe Montana for the most postseason touchdowns without an interception in NFL history. Flacco led his team to come from behind wins in both the Divisional round vs Denver and the AFC Championship game vs New England. Playing out the final year of his rookie contract, Joe Flacco didn’t really “wow” anyone in the regular season. 22 touchdowns to 10 interceptions while completing just a tad under 60% of his passes for the year. However, time and time again, Flacco has made big plays in big spots when his team needed him the most. He has showed poise under pressure and proved worthy of carrying the load. Most importantly, Flacco has showed leadership. With Ray Lewis hurt most of the season and his impending retirement weighing on the team, we saw the transfer of power on the Ravens. A transition from this being Ray’s team, to it being Joe’s. Flacco has taken the responsibility and has let his play do the talking. He may not be the most boisterous player, but he certainly does lead by example. Displaying a level of composure shown by veteran Quarterbacks who have been there multiple times, Joe Flacco lead his team to the ultimate goal. A Super Bowl championship.
But what is it worth? Flacco is now in line for a monster pay day. Lets look at his career so far. He has started every single game for the Ravens in his 5 year career. He has led the Ravens to the playoffs in each of those seasons. In fact, he has won at least one playoff game in each of his first 5 seasons, that’s an NFL record. When you look at the contracts that have been given to Quarterbacks recently, it’s not crazy to think that Flacco is in line to make upwards of 18-20 million per year. The NFL is a Quarterback league, you have to lock up your talent there when you have it, and the Ravens have it.
That brings us to our initial question. Is Joe Flacco “Elite”? I think I’ll answer that question with another one. Does is matter? Sure it’s fun to debate where you rank Flacco amongst the best Quarterbacks in the league but to me, it doesn’t matter. The top 5 seems like a rotating door every year anyway. Last year it was Eli Manning, this year it’s Joe Flacco. Who cares? Does it really matter how many quarterbacks you rank ahead of him? If you asked the Ravens who they would want to lead their team, 10 out of 10 times they would answer Joe Flacco. That’s all that matters. Let’s just acknowledge the stellar play of a young Quarterback whom we have seen develop into a star in this league. A Quarterback who has set records, won games, and taken the torch from one of the great leaders of our time, Ray Lewis, and lead his team all the way to the Super Bowl. So congratulations Joe Flacco. A most impressive postseason run, an unparallelled start to your career, and the emergence into that “Elite” status. You certainly can’t spell ELITE, without FLACCO.