The single most significant moment of 2013 in Baltimore sports came in February in New Orleans. One of the most significant moments in Baltimore sports history occurred that night inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. And while the contributions of other Baltimore Ravens cannot be dismissed in discussing how the postseason unfolded-Jacoby Jones was outstanding, Jimmy Smith was in position on the most important play, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed provided emotional leadership, Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta made big catch after big catch-the single most significant factor was the play of the quarterback.
Joe Flacco was the perfect representation of Baltimore in the moments that mattered the most. Despite not being the “sexiest” quarterback in the NFL-or the most popular-or even particularly well-liked, Flacco showed a level of grit, determination and spectacular ability that brought tears to the eyes of fans in Charm City who have longed to see the legacy of Johnny Unitas continued by…well…anyone.
If Joe Flacco never accomplishes anything else of significance in a Ravens uniform (which is doubtful), his opening five weeks of 2013 will be forever remembered in folklore. We will tell our children and our grandchildren about what these moments meant to us-the Mile High Miracle, the comeback in Foxborough, the return to Super Bowl glory. We’ll remember not only the jubilation but the tears we shed in celebration of the moment. We’ll remember who we shared those moments with and we’ll never forget how special they were.
We have a quarterback to thank for that as much as anyone else.
But Flacco’s story in 2013 is not limited to a brilliant postseason and a difficult follow-up campaign. Like with other “Local Sportsperson of the Year” winners, involvement in the community and doing the right thing for our area is of particular importance.
When it comes to doing the right thing, Joe Flacco proved he was worth-say $120 million?-in 2013.
After Glenelg student Matthew Cheswick was killed by a drunk driver in 2012, his family created a Memorial Fund in his honor to warn of the dangers of drinking and driving. In April, fresh off signing that big contract and being chased by paparazzi around the country, Flacco showed both class and humility by spending an afternoon working at a local fast food restaurant to help raise $25,000 for the fund.
Flacco has continued to work annually with Special Olympics Maryland and the Maryland State Police in support of the Polar Bear Plunge. He was unable to participate in the 2013 event due to the Ravens’ Super Bowl run, but has remained committed and has filmed PSA’s throughout 2013 to continue to support.
Flacco also took on a new charitable endeavor in 2013, partnering to support the Living Classrooms Foundation. Our own Nestor Aparicio explained Flacco’s willingness to participate this way.
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