The NFL's 2011 season has been called "the year of the quarterback," and praise has been rightfully heaped upon Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and rookie Cam Newton.
There has not been a rush, though, to heap praise on Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Joe Flacco has noticed.
From the Baltimore Sun, here's what Flacco told the media on Wednesday:
"If you look at the teams that won, yeah you can look at the quarterbacks but that's just because you guys, ESPN, everybody wants to pump them up as being the best quarterback that year. It's really going to come down to what team is the best," Flacco said. "I'm sure if we win, I'll have nothing to do with why we won according to you guys."
Oh, Joe. Chin up, buddy. If anyone's failed to recognize you as an elite quarterback, that's probably just because you're not one.
I say that with no malice or disrespect intended, it's just that, you know, Joe Flacco is Joe Flacco. He's a decent quarterback. I'm not sure what he's looking for here. If he wants to be regarded as equally instrumental to Baltimore's success as Aaron Rodgers is to Green Bay's, or Drew Brees is to New Orleans', it's not going to happen. Because he's not.
And that's OK. That's not how this Baltimore Ravens team is built. Those other teams have deep casts of dangerous receivers; Baltimore does not. The Ravens have one of the best running backs in the game; those teams do not. Baltimore has the third-best defense in the league; those teams are not in the top 20.
Also, it's important to note that Flacco had a little bit of a smile on his face when he said all of this. I don't know that he's terribly broken up about this, and he's not begging for attention, but it's also clear that it's something he's thought about. Here's a bit more:
"You guys want everybody to be Aaron Rodgers and be Tom Brady, but you guys do realize, those guys' [teams] don't run the ball? If we try to do that, the criticism that we'd take around here would be ridiculous."
It would be vocal, but it wouldn't be ridiculous. The Baltimore Ravens, as they're currently built, adopting a general strategy of throwing the ball 60 times per game would be ridiculous, because they have Ray Rice at running back and Joe Flacco at quarterback.
Baltimore's in a very favorable position to get to the Super Bowl, and if they do that, and Joe Flacco gets a ring ‒ he won't ever have to worry again about not being recognized. Rings have that magical kind of power. Until then, Flacco's just going to have to recognize who he is and who the Ravens are, and do his best to play his part and enjoy the ride.
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