Joe Flacco has always been a polarizing player. The question regarding his status on the totem pole of success has long been debated. Is he elite or just in the top ten? Is he even top ten? While he has always exhibited the raw talent necessary for qualifying as an elite quarterback, his intangibles have long been pointed at as proof that he doesn’t belong in the same category as Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Petyon Manning, and Tom Brady. He may be good, but he clearly wasn’t born to play football.
That discussion got more complicated late last season, however. After Jim Caldwell took over as the Baltimore Ravens‘ offensive coordinator following Cam Cameron‘s dismissal, Flacco quickly took on a different look. His performance suddenly matched his off-the-field bravado, and he went on to have one if the best postseasons in NFL history.
Flacco became just the second quarterback to post 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. Only Joe Montana can boast the same postseason production. With their backs to the wall, the Ravens were all but forced to sign him to a $120.6 million contract to keep him in a purple uniform. Suddenly, Flacco looked like a genus for turning down a $35 million extension earlier in the year.
There is a ton of dissension revolving around how much Flacco deserves his contract, but it’s all irrelevant. The Ravens didn’t sign Flacco to a behemoth contract because there weren’t any better options on the market. The Ravens signed Flacco to a behemoth contract because they have faith in him. With Ray Lewis and Ed Reed gone, a new leader needs to step up.
Flacco is that new leader, and his new contract reflects that.
The Ravens are going headfirst into the 2013 season without Anquan Boldin or Dennis Pitta. The spotlight has been on the young receivers for the most part, but Flacco deserves a lot of it, as well. He was just paid to be the Ravens’ new general. Now is the time to play like it.