It may sound crazy, but Joe Flacco may be on his way to becoming the most well liked quarterback in the NFL.
The punching bag that is Joe Flacco has received more criticism and critiques by both local and national media throughout his five year NFL career than any other NFL player that comes to mind. Whether it is his “elite” comments, which some believe to be unjustified, or his reserved demeanor following emotional moments, the majority of observers have grown to dislike the Ravens’ quarterback. However, Joe Flacco has kept his resolve through it all, finding himself two wins away from hoisting the Lombardi trophy, and garnering the love from football fans across the nation during the process.
It may be hard to remember for some, but two Super Bowl rings ago, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was one of the most heavily slandered quarterbacks in the NFL. He was struggling to fill the shoes of his older brother Peyton, and many questioned whether or not he had the full support of his teammates. It took him four seasons, but Eli Manning proved every single person wrong and his image was quickly transformed into one featuring that majestic word, “elite.”
Video: Joe Flacco on-field after the win in Denver
Joe Flacco is now in his fifth season, and is starting to follow a similar path to that of Eli’s. Even though he’s still two games away from his first Super Bowl ring, Flacco has slowly started to gain that respect. That respect has come from the outstanding performances Flacco has showcased over the past month, averaging 294 yards per game with nine touchdowns and just one interception (not including the Bengals game where Flacco threw just 8 passes).
The biggest of these games was the most recent where Flacco outplayed future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning in every passing stat. Since then, it seems that some fans, although very few, have started to notice and take a liking to the fifth year quarterback. Scouring various football forums and blogs, I found people starting to root for Flacco, commenting on how he’ll be moved up higher in the ranking of NFL quarterbacks if he beats Tom Brady and the Patriots this weekend. Coincidentally, Eli Manning had to do the very same thing to earn his respect.
While we’ll still have to deal with Flacco-bashing until he wins a Super Bowl, it doesn’t look like we’ll have to wait too long for that to happen. Less than three weeks to be exact, if things continue to go right.