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I Give In – Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco Is The Real Deal

I Give In – Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco Is The Real Deal

For the second year in a row, I find myself writing my begrudging respect for an NFL quarterback after his Super Bowl performance. I tipped my hat last year by writing Eli Manning – 2x Super Bowl MVP – a Leader’s Journey. This year’s NFL playoffs made a believer out of me as I watched Joe Flacco put up the best numbers at the quarterback position. And in this case, the stats do not lie! Check out the graphic shown below courtesy of ESPN. Notice the 11 Touchdowns to 0 Interceptions! And that longest pass play of 70 yards…yeah, that was against my beloved Denver Broncos to tie the game at the end of regulation. It still hurts – give me a moment, will ya.

Joe Flacco had highest QBR in 2012 NFL postseason

With a pedestrian 87.7 quarterback rating during the regular season, Joe Flacco withstood intense criticism even as Ravens management pondered his contract status. Many a fan, and perhaps even some teammates in the Ravens locker room, wondered if he was the long-term solution at quarterback.

But real leaders prepare for the big stage, take motivation from criticism, and rise to the occasion to become champions.

Flacco’s quarterback rating in 4 playoff games:

  • 125.6 Against the Indianapolis Colts
  • 116.2 Against the Denver Broncos (somebody wake me from this nightmare)
  • 106.3 Against the New England Patriots
  • 124.2 Against the San Francisco 49ers – on the biggest stage, the Super Bowl

So what can we learn from Joe Flacco?

  1. Listen to your naysayers – but only for motivation. I do not believe in disregarding criticism because there are nuggets of truth to be found and leveraged. Correct what you can, and move on.
  2. Adapt to adversity – in addition to the naysayers, the Baltimore Ravens fired the offensive coordinator in the middle of the season. Rather than use it as an excuse, Flacco quickly adapted to the new coordinator’s more aggressive play-calling.
  3. Trust in your skill set – Flacco always had a strong arm, and he used it for some bombs when receivers got behind pass coverage (great, now I’ll be dreaming about that 70 yd reception again). However, he also showed mobility to avoid sacks in the Super Bowl, accuracy to hit his receivers when they were open, and that “muscle between the ears” to make good decisions. Those good decisions show up on the stat line with the zero interceptions against 11 touchdowns.
  4. Sign the big contract – The Ravens shelved contract talks in the middle of the season as they mulled over whether Flacco was a top-tier quarterback…or a middle-tier quarterback. When it came time to “put up or shut up”, Flacco put up astounding numbers against great competition (including two hall of fame quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) in this postseason. Do your job well, and the rewards will come.

What did you learn from this improbable Baltimore Ravens run to Super Bowl victory? I hope that next year I’m writing another Denver Broncos Excellence post shortly after Peyton Manning hoists another Super Bowl MVP trophy. C’mon, let a sports fan be an optimist for a bit…this post was tough to write!

Photo of Joe Flacco By Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. Brian I knew this one had to hurt to write. But I appreciate your lessons to be learned and how Flacco’s success can be a motivation to us all. And who would have thought that Joe Flacco has as many Super Bowl wins and MVP’s as Peyton Manning? Combined they are tied with Eli. : )

    • Definitely hurt to write, but Flacco is a good young quarterback in this league. Similar to Eli, he had one heck of a defense to rely upon. Peyton actually had that this year, but it wasn’t Peyton’s INT that killed the Broncos…it was three long pass plays for TDs. One of those was after the game was virtually sealed.

      Still need a reliable defense to win the Super Bowl, and the Ravens are getting a long in the tooth there. They will need to reload.

      • It just goes to show you that sometimes it’s not how good you are as much as how good you play at the right time.


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