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Who is Baltimore’s Second Greatest QB?

Lombardi's Way Who is Baltimore’s Second Greatest QB?

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Vinny Cerrato as he often does, has been spewing venom on 105.7 The Fan. He has unfairly targeted Haloti Ngata and Jacoby Jones in the past for conjured up reasons.

Maybe that’s his shtick. Maybe that’s what he’s paid to do, like a plunger in a clogged toilet.

You get the picture.

It would be interesting to hear how he might critique his own work as a twice-fired NFL GM, but I digress…

Now Cerrato’s venom is aimed at Joe Flacco whom he claims doesn’t love the game and isn’t the leader the Ravens paid for because he hasn’t rallied his pass catchers for a little backyard football. That wasn’t such an issue during the 2012 season, was it?

My colleague Brian Bower opined on this silliness yesterday in a piece titled, “Should Flacco Be Doing More This Offseason”.

In the heavily participated comments section one poster suggested that Joe Flacco was Baltimore’s second greatest quarterback of all time (of course John Unitas being the greatest). The thought made me pause and ponder that a bit.

And then it inspired this blog.

Joe Flacco is NOT the second best QB to play in Baltimore. That distinction belongs to former Baltimore Colts quarterback Bert Jones.

Jones, the second selection in the 1973 NFL Draft (DE John Matuszak was 1st) was a terrific athlete who carried the mid-70’s Colts on his back. If you want perspective here’s a little…

From 1975-79 the Colts were 36-12 with Jones under center. When the former LSU Tiger was sidelined with a recurring separated shoulder, the Colts were 5-21 (thanks @ChrisRclusby).

In 1976 Jones won league MVP honors while throwing for 3,104 yards, 24 TD’s and a passer rating of 102.5 – quite a milestone since only 3 QB’s eclipsed the 100 mark during the entire decade of the 70’s. It was a time when the game didn’t so heavily favor offense and defensive backs could regularly mug receivers when the ball wasn’t in flight.

Jones played during a tumultuous time for the Baltimore franchise permanently scarred by the drunken escapades of team owner Bob Irsay, referred to by his mom as “the devil.” But even the heavy burden of an overly dramatic front office couldn’t slow No. 7 down on the field.

The “Ruston Rifle” had a cannon for an arm.

I have had the pleasure of doing a radio/TV show with former Colts All-Pro Bruce Laird in Ocean City for a number of years and he gushes over his teammate. Bruce said that during practice he didn’t have to be facing Bert to know the ball was thrown in his direction.

He could hear it.

Now that’s velocity!

During the parties prior to Super Bowl XXXV I ran into Lydell Mitchell in Ybor City, incredibly nice guy. We talked about a number of things and one of them was Bert. I said, “Lydell, I know I might be biased but I believe that Bert was every bit as good as John Elway.”

Lydell didn’t hesitate to say, “at least.”

If only Jones could have stayed healthy.

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His shoulder woes couldn’t be offset by medicine back then. Today, a quarterback written off as “done” can still return thanks in part to advances in medicine and win a Super Bowl and be a perennial Pro Bowler.

Just ask Drew Brees.

Those who support Flacco as the No. 2 all-time Baltimore quarterback will remind us that Jones didn’t win a single playoff game and he doesn’t have a ring. Flacco’s resume is vastly superior in that department.

But Flacco hasn’t had to play with mediocre talent or a rudderless franchise without direction.

He doesn’t have to play during an era where dynasties existed like the Steelers, Raiders and Dolphins who dominated the 70’s. Joe enjoys parity.

He doesn’t have to play on fields that resemble dirt covered parking lots nor during a time when quarterbacks could be tossed around like rag dolls.

And as bad as many think the Ravens offensive line was in 2013, Bert Jones was once sacked 12 times in a single game in 1980.

But then there’s the ring…

Undoubtedly Joe Flacco was a tremendous contributor to that 2012 ring. But if that ring is your barometer, think about Trent Dilfer – remember Dan Marino.

If the Ravens don’t win in 2012, does that make Dilfer a better QB than Joe?

And even with the ring is Flacco a better QB than Marino?

Joe Flacco for the moment is No. 3 with a bullet. Time will tell if he takes over that No. 2 spot.

But not yet…

Who is Baltimore's 2nd Greatest QB of All-Time?

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. He also hosts Backfield in Motion with Justin Forsett seen on ABC2 every Saturday at 1PM. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. He ignores the passengers in cars beside him who laugh. Follow Tony's new Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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