Joe Flacco may not be a honey badger, but in case you haven’t noticed, he “don’t care.”
He’s a champion.
He’s a Super Bowl MVP.
Now, he’s filthy rich.
Not that I’ll likely ever know what it feels like, I have to assume it’s hard to not change with $120 million tied to your name. Somehow, Flacco continues to be just as boring as ever, but in a good way. Why should Flacco even care what the skeptics think of him? He’s done everything a quarterback could ever set out to do. For some reason, throughout his career, Flacco has been beaten like a piñata at a five-year old’s birthday party. Flacco doesn’t receive nearly the amount of respect he should get from the national media – other than ESPN’s Ron Jaworski – considering his career accomplishments.
We’re not talking Kyle Boller here; this is a proven, top-notch NFL quarterback.
Flacco is labed as boring because when he speaks, it often seems like he’d rather be anywhere else than playing football. Even though that’s clearly not his intention, it’s just the way he comes off. He isn’t as bad with the media as a guy like Ricky Williams was early in his career (remember him putting his helmet over his face?) but Flacco’s press conferences have never been confused with those from some other, more outspoken, athletes.
However, the past two weeks, Flacco has been on fire and not afraid to speak his mind. When asked about Ray Lewis’ comments about a lack of leadership following the infamous Sweet Pea party bus incident involving some of his teammates, Flacco responded without hesitation, “Ray knows better.”
That’s right, your franchise quarterback just told the undisputed face of the Ravens franchise to essentially shut his mouth.
Flacco’s reaction to Lewis’ comments was perfect, and I gained even more of an apprecaition for Flacco on Wednesday with the way he owned up to his career and franchise-worst five-interception performance . Flacco knew he was going to once again face the music from the media, but he said all of the right things.
Before Flacco even took questions, he made fun of himself.
Taking the podium later than usual, Flacco briskly walked to the microphone and said, “I throw five interceptions and I’m like sixth on the podium?” Plenty of laughter ensued from the assembled media.
Flacco knew what was coming next, and he took the fastballs pitched by the media and essentially blasted them off the Camden Yards Warehouse as if he was Chris Davis.
“I’m the quarterback of the team. I’m being paid what I’m being paid for a reason,” Flacco responded after being asked if it’s hard to put his career-worst game behind him. “If you can say that we lost a football game because I threw five interceptions, then that’s the way it should be. I don’t have a problem with anybody looking at me and putting losses on me when something like that happens.”
During a press conference, it’s pretty status quo to act like every game is just as important as the next, but Flacco even admitted that his performance last week is more motivation for him to play better this Sunday against the Dolphins.
Things are changing on the offensive line, and it’s evident that general manager Ozzie Newsome is doing his best to protect his investment in Flacco. His offense has been flawed to begin the season, and without his close friend and favorite target, tight end Dennis Pitta, Flacco at times has looked like Linus from Peanuts without his security blanket.
I’m impressed with Flacco because he is a leader, though not one in the same vein as Ray Lewis. It will be unfair to even try to compare anyone to Lewis for as long as this franchise exists because he certainly was one of a kind.
No matter what he does over the remainder of his career, Flacco will continue to have doubters – from the media to those in his own fanbase. He’s not a pretty boy like Tom Brady. He doesn’t run an exciting offense like RGIII (when healthy) and he’s not putting up fantasy stats like Drew Brees. But, that’s just not his style.
Flacco has brought a Super Bowl to Baltimore. Flacco is the leader of this team. Flacco will stand up for his teammates and he’ll also take the blame – as he clearly did on Wednesday – for his mistakes.
In a franchise quarterback, what more could you ask for?
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