Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco Almost Wasn’t A Starter
Joe Flacco received a $120.6 million contract this offseason based on his stellar playoff performance and his game-managing abilities shown in the previous five seasons. He gained his starting job by default.
Due to a shoulder injury and tonsillitis, the Baltimore Ravens now have their franchise QB. After a rough 5-11 2007 season, the Ravens bid farewell to head coach Brian Billick and said hello to newly-hired head coach John Harbaugh.
With the exit of Billick, critics everywhere knew there would be competition between Troy Smith and Kyle Boller for the starting QB position. What we also knew was there was a possibility the Ravens would draft a QB to bring into camp — that QB was Joe Flacco.
As camp went on, Harbaugh became impressed with Smith and favored him for the starting job. Harbaugh saw experience in Boller and potential but youth in Flacco; however, it was Smith who took command of training camp and had a strong lead going into the preseason.
As the preseason went on, Flacco took a backseat to Boller and Smith. Harbaugh needed to see more out of Smith before declaring him the starter, so he announced Smith as the starter for the third preseason game against the St. Louis Rams.
It was destiny for one man and disaster for another. Smith was diagnosed in his hotel room with tonsillitis and a blot clot the morning of the preseason game. With Boller already out with a shoulder injury from his run-in with the Minnesota Vikings, it was clear Harbaugh had no choice but to throw Flacco into the deep end and see if he could swim. The rest is history, folks.
Flacco is now arguably considered among the elite quarterbacks in the league. And the other two guys? Well let’s just hope they learned to be a little frugal with their money. Imagine if these two QBs had not been knocked out of the competition; Baltimore would be singing a different tune and with the politics of the NFL, and there might be one less Super Bowl winning quarterback in the league.