Even if Joe Flacco does not win Sunday, he is a winner in Aaron Rodgers’ eyes.
Rodgers is a fan of Flacco’s. Not only because he enjoys Flacco’s sense of humor but because Flacco has done something that Rodgers has done. After leading the Packers to a Super Bowl title following the 2010 season, Rodgers admired the way Flacco led the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in February.
“I’ve met him a few times and been around him, and I enjoy his personality,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “I think he’s a great player. I enjoy watching him throw when we’re watching film of a team that we’re playing and it’s the Ravens’ offense. He does a number of things really, really well, and he’s a Super Bowl champ. So you’ve got to give him the respect. He’s had my respect, but I think people in general need to give him the respect he deserves as a Super Bowl MVP. I was there to watch that game firsthand, and he made some incredible plays.”
Flacco is also a fan of Rodgers, and not just his play at quarterback. Flacco enjoys Rodgers’ work as a pitchman for State Farm Insurance with his “Discount Double-Check’’ commercials.
“I can definitely watch his commercials; I can’t watch mine, so yeah, I like his better,” Flacco said Wednesday.
“He’s an athletic guy, he’s got a good arm. They’ve obviously been a top offense in the league the past few years, and that’s a big credit to him.”
Flacco and Rodgers will be on opposite sidelines Sunday, when the Ravens (3-2) host the Packers (2-2). They are in an exclusive fraternity, as former Super Bowl MVP’s, trying to lead their teams to another title, although that clearly will not be easy for either quarterback.
The Packers have yet to win on the road, and lost a key player in Week 5 when linebacker Clay Matthews suffered a thumb injury expected to sideline him for a month. Matthews’ absence puts even more pressure on the Packers to produce points Sunday.
Rodgers would love to carve up the Ravens’ secondary the way Peyton Manning did in Week 1. However, Rodgers does not view the Ravens’ defense as a soft touch.
“I think Peyton has been pretty razor-sharp against everybody,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, that was a big game for Peyton to start the season. But we’re here at Week 6. They’re starting to have some things they can count on, and I think they’ve done a real nice job on the back end.”
Flacco has already been sacked 14 times this season, the Ravens’ running game has been disappointing, and Torrey Smith has been the team’s lone consistent receiver. Yet, Flacco has completed some key throws under duress, and has shrugged off the growing pains of the offense.
“It’s not going to be at its full potential in Week 6,” Flacco said. “Hopefully Week 17 is going to be better that that, and Week 18 and Week 19.”
Flacco and Rodgers have only squared off once before, and the Packers won that 2009 game, 27-14, at Lambeau Field. Four years later, both Rodgers and Flacco have Super Bowl rings to show off. And clearly, they also have each other’s respect.