I Love Joe Flacco Photo credit: Pepsi

Street Talk I Love Joe Flacco

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“I’m like the only person [who hasn’t seen it],” Flacco said.

“I could have watched it, who knows how long ago. Probably not a week after we made it, my mom sent me the email they sent me, and I’m like, ‘Cool, I’m not watching it.’ But my wife was happy that she got to see it, and all these guys [liked it].”

Of course, Joe Flacco is talking about his recent Pepsi commercial. The quarterback has a secret which he doesn’t like to talk about – he is absolutely horrible at hosting football parties. While it’s amusing that Joe Flacco isn’t willing to watch his own commercial, it’s not at all surprising.

Just a Regular Guy

Flacco seems like the exact opposite type of person you’d expect to be an NFL quarterback. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like the sound of his own voice, who gets bashful in the spotlight. In a league with superstar quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, Flacco is the dorky brother.

This is why I love Joe Flacco. It is not despite the fact that he seems like a regular guy that he is my favorite player. He is my favorite player because of it. He seems like the most normal person in the NFL. Like many of us who don’t spend their lives in the spotlight, he might seem quiet and awkward when you meet him.

That initial quiet awkwardness has led many in the national media to think that Flacco is lacking in the personality department. I understand why many would think he is dull based off of a first impression, but when he opens up, despite the “dull” narrative associated with the Ravens’ quarterback, he is anything but boring. In shows like NFL Network’s Sound FX, we’ve seen just how goofy Flacco can be.

In what was probably one of the most stressful moments of his career, Flacco’s personality was on full display. In the waning moments of Super Bowl XLVII, with a world championship hinging on his teammates stopping a Ted Ginn kick return, Flacco was able to make a joke. He was able to sound like a guy hanging out with his buddies instead of a guy whose Super Bowl aspirations were hanging in the balance.

His joking nature at one of the biggest moments of his career comes from a much underrated – and very dorky – sense of humor, which allowed him to have one of the most glorious and ugly mustaches in NFL history.

Joe Flacco's Fu Manchu, which Flacco sported during the 2011 season, shows off his good sense of humor.

And created one of the best post-Super Bowl moments when the car that he would receive for winning Super Bowl XLVII MVP was pointed out to him (quoted portion of video starts at 5:50).

“I get a car? Do I really? I get a car!”

The NFL’s Best Quarterback

The regular guy persona extends to interviews. In an era when athletes give the most scripted, useless meetings with media, Flacco is refreshingly honest comparatively.

Flacco seems the most comfortable, as any regular person would, when he can just have an honest conversation with his interviewer. In a radio interview back in 2012 with WNST, Flacco’s honesty has never been more apparent. When he was asked whether he is a top five NFL quarterback, before he signed his monster contract, Flacco had this to say:

At 15:17 mark:

“Without a doubt. What do you expect me to say? … I assume everybody thinks they’re a top-five quarterback. I mean, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’m top five, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way. I mean, c’mon? That’s not really too tough of a question. But that doesn’t mean that things are gonna work out that way. It just means that that’s the way it is, that’s the way I feel it is, and that’s the way I feel it should be.”

That awkward, quiet impression that I mentioned earlier? It’s more like a quiet confidence, as he makes abundantly clear with this answer. While no one outside of the Ravens’ organization would ever try to convince you that Flacco is the best quarterback in the league, Flacco actually believes it to be true. Despite criticism from writers like Mike Florio, who want Flacco to say, “That’s not for me to decide. Those labels are determined by others,” Flacco isn’t afraid to let you know what he thinks, and in a setting that suits his personality, he gave an honest answer that most quarterbacks would have reserved for their friends and family.

Even while considering himself the best quarterback in the league, Flacco maintains a humble persona. He comes across as a guy who still feels surprised when someone asks for a picture with him, the kind of dork who goes to McDonald’s to celebrate a $120 million contract. He doesn’t take himself seriously. His response to WNST’s questions about transitioning to the Gary Kubiak offense does a great job of showing that.

At 2:38 mark:

“It’s not tough to learn an offense. At the end of the day, you have a formation, you have protection, you have a direction to run the ball and you have a route to run as a receiver. It’s not that tough. If you can’t learn an NFL offense, then obviously you shouldn’t be there. … I’m saying, we’re not the brightest people, so therefore how hard can an NFL offense be?”

How many quarterbacks would you expect to actually say that to the media? Maybe they’d say it to their closest friends and family, but never publicly. Which is why I’d expect talking to him a couple of days without cameras around after a game would be so amusing. When he can make these types of honest statements in public, I can’t even imagine what he’d say in private.

While Joe Flacco might not be the best quarterback in the NFL, he is absolutely my favorite. His personality is the best fit for Baltimore and the Ravens’ organization. The respect that the media often denies him correlates well with the collective chip on Ravens fans’ shoulders, which has grown from years of media refusing to put Baltimore among the AFC’s elite (whatever that word means anymore) franchises.

But Flacco won’t let that disrespect bother him. He genuinely doesn’t care.

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About Tyler Lombardi

Tyler has followed Baltimore sports his entire life. His favorite player growing up was Steve McNair, so he was ecstatic when he became a Raven in 2006. When he’s in front of the TV watching the game, it’s best to avoid non-football discussion. It’s quite likely he isn’t listening anyway, as his girlfriend can attest to.

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