Joe Flacco was mocked when he said he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL in a radio interview last April. Flacco still might not be the best quarterback in the NFL, but he has what every other quarterback wanted: A Super Bowl XLVII ring.
Oh, and he got the Super Bowl MVP award to go along with it.
Flacco was so happy after the game, he dropped a too-fast-to-bleep "(expletive) awesome" that won't make the FCC happy. But he'll be forgiven by Ravens fans, considering he led them to the top of the football world.
Hear that? That's the cash register ringing, as the free agent prepares to cash in from the Ravens after one of the best postseasons by a quarterback in NFL history.
Flacco was tremendous in the first half as the Ravens built a huge lead. He threw for 192 yards and three touchdowns before halftime. He showed great poise to deliver a ball that Anquan Boldin could catch for the first touchdown of the game. He hit Dennis Pitta for a 1-yard score, and then showed off the deep ball that is his trademark on a 56-yard touchdown to Jacoby Jones. He finished 22-of-33 for 287 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Flacco wasn't great in the regular season. He had just 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and his 3,817 yards or 87.7 quarterback rating wasn't up with Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. But when the calendar changed to January, nobody was better.
Flacco had 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the postseason and had 1,140 yards in four games. His desperation touchdown to Jones against Denver forced overtime and was one of the greatest plays in NFL history. He outplayed Brady in the AFC championship game, and then carved up the 49ers' strong pass defense for a huge early lead that Baltimore never gave away despite a strong run by San Francisco in the second half. It's hard to imagine a quarterback playing much better over a four-game playoff stretch.
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Flacco may never reach the consistent heights of the top few quarterbacks in the NFL. But he etched his name in the game's lore with a great playoffs capped by a MVP performance on Sunday night. He even got lifted up on his teammates' shoulders at the end of the game, after carrying the Ravens to a Super Bowl title.
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