So, how has your last 12 months gone?
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco went from being one of the most questioned athletes in all of professional sports to one of its hottest at the beginning of last season, only to fall back down to one of the most ridiculed, before climbing to heights he’s never reached before, culminating in a Super Bowl MVP performance. Well, that might not have actually been the culmination for Casa Flacco, now that I think about it.
Earlier this week, Flacco signed a six-year, $120.6 million deal with the Ravens, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL, and presumably immune to any and all future criticism he might have to endure from the public. Want to call him overpaid? Fair enough. Do you believe that he’s not one of the five best quarterbacks in the league? You’re certainly entitled to that opinion.
But he’s now rich. And he can hire someone to deal with all that negativity now.
Look, I’m not one of those blindly-devoted Ravens fans who feels that Flacco is the best quarterback in the NFL. I’d take Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers over him without blinking an eye, and I don’t put him on the same level as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, either. But the Ravens weren’t going to sign any of them. There are also some young guns, like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson that I would feel better about having for the long-term, but the Ravens weren’t going to get any of them, either.
They have Flacco, and that’s enough to win, as evidenced by his three AFC Championship game appearances and Super Bowl title in his first five years in the league.
Is he the most consistent guy in the world? Not on the field, where he looks like Johnny Unitas one minute and Johnny from the movie “Airplane” the next. But he usually shows up against good competition, and he doesn’t throw a lot of interceptions, which can keep a talented team in games long enough for one of their playmakers to make a difference.
Off the field, he’s amazingly consistent. In fact, if the guy from the Dos Equis commercials is “the most interesting man in the world,” Flacco might be the least. He has all the personality of a pebble stuck in the sole of your shoe. You know, when you keep hearing that scraping sound when you walk and you’re not sure exactly what it is until you notice that your foot is now at a weird angle when you take a step and it’s starting to ...
But I digress.
My point is that the man is dull. His own father said as much during Super Bowl week, and there has not been much evidence to the contrary over the years. Do you know what Flacco was doing when he heard that his agent and the Ravens came to terms on the new contract? Eating pizza with his parents and grandparents on a Friday night, and he happened to see the story come up on television. Know how he celebrated his $29 million signing bonus on Monday?
He stopped at a McDonald’s drive-thru and ordered some McNuggets.
Now, don’t get me wrong. In the world of professional sports, boring can be a good thing. I’d rather have the quarterback who spends his offseason Friday nights hanging around with family and watching television than the guy out driving drunk or hitting his wife. I’d take that 10 out of 10 times. In fact, my one criticism of Flacco’s personality is that I’d like to see him be more boring in interviews, and stop with the proclamations on his greatness.
That being said, I’m glad the Ravens locked up Flacco for the future. Oh, he can make me fling a remote control across a room like nobody’s business, and there are times I want to burn my Flacco jersey in a fiery blaze, but he’s our guy, and he’s stood up to the quarterback bullies in the league time after time. If not for a broken-up pass the year before, we’d be talking about a guy who led his team to the Super Bowl two straight years.
I think most teams would take that in a heartbeat.
As for those rejoicing about the Ravens killing their salary cap with this deal, consider the first three years of his new contract. Flacco will only cost $6.8 million against the salary cap his first year, $14.8 million in 2014 and $14.55 million in 2015, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. At that point, just like every other team with a highly-paid quarterback, they will re-work the contract and make it cap-friendly again. They will be fine.
In the meantime, the University of Delaware should update its recruiting efforts: “UD grads have been known to earn more than $150 million before they are 35 years old.”