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Who I Like Sunday and Why

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Who I Like Sunday and Why

Posted on 13 January 2014 by Dwayne Showalter

Championship weekend is upon us and for the first time since 2011, and only third time since 2008, the Baltimore Ravens are not involved.  That sounds pretty good to say actually.  To be in it three times in five years would have been kind of bitter had Josh Bynes not tackled Tedd Ginn around midfield to end the 49ers comeback last February and give the Ravens their second Lombardi Trophy.

It certainly would have been nice to watch them participate again in the playoffs this season, but let’s face it, it frays nerves, causes gray hair and (in may case) makes it fall out.  Let some of these other cities get their hopes dashed, dreams crushed and see parade plans canceled.

Think about the playoffs already.  Cincinnati, for all the good mojo they created during the regular season, lost at home…again…in the first round.  Nice job Bengals.  Do us all a favor and go back to your holes.  Please don’t win the division again.  It embarrasses the AFC North.

How about the Chiefs?  After two straight losing seasons, they were back in the playoffs (last losing at home to Baltimore in January ’11) and feeling spry after finishing 11-5.  Then they choked a huge lead to a second year quarterback.  Stew on that KC.  And you can probably apply the same to Eagles fans.  The only differences?  Lost a small lead, at home, were 10-6 and were coming off of two non-winning seasons – they finished 8-8 two seasons ago.

The Packers weaseled in at 8-7-1.  They had Aaron Rogers back at quarterback and all was looking up in Green Bay.  That is until Phil Dawson connected on a short field goal to dash hopes, crush dreams and cancel parade plans.

This past weekend the big four muscled up.  The 49ers showed the fans in Carolina what championship football was all about.  Seattle throttled the Saints for three-and-a-half quarters before allowing them a chance to tie it late.  I have my reasons to dislike Drew Brees (lets just say its fantasy related) but for the record, I usually root against dome teams.  What a shame for the Crescent City.  In San Diego, they don’t really make Super Bowl plans, at least not since the game itself stopped making regular appearances there.  As for the Chargers, Phillip Rivers was never a favorite when at NC State.  His gyrations Sunday didn’t do anything to erase those feelings.  As for Indy, no sympathy here.  Domed team, our colors and logo.  They may have their day again, and soon, but not this year.

So here we go into the final four, NFL style.  I can’t root for Seattle.  I find the whole “12th man” thing kind of a joke.  I thought that was Texas A&M’s deal anyway.  The fans look like idiots and the weather always is rotten.  Not even cold or snow rotten.  Just 40 degrees and crappy rotten.  Their home record may be a by-product of it being such a dreary looking place.  Denver and New England is a toss up to me.  I kind of lean toward New England because Brady seems to do it without stars around him and was never the chosen one, being drafted in the sixth round out of Michigan.  Manning was the first overall pick in 1998 by the Colts.  I also like the fact the Manning has the same amount of rings as Joe Flacco!

But mostly, they are at home.  And if there is one thing I enjoy watching it’s a stadium full of disgruntled fans emptying out late in the 4th quarter like the Pats forced in Pittsburgh a few years back.  The Ravens had a habit of  doing that over the years too.  Tennessee and Oakland in 2000.  Miami in ’01.  Miami and Tennessee again in ’08.  New England in ’09 and 2012.  Kansas City in 2010.  And Oh yeah, Denver too last year (caution one F-bomb but one of my favorite clips of all-time!).  Unfortunately, we have witnessed this here in Baltimore a few times.  I saw Oakland in 1977.  And Tennessee and Indy in ’03 and ’06 respectively.  It stinks.  But if it’s not my team, it’s kind of funny.

In the end, I think I will pull for San Francisco the most.  With them and either AFC team, a Super Bowl that features two teams the Ravens beat to win Super Bowl XLVII would be pretty neat to watch.  Go Niners.

 

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 13 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Syracuse @ Maryland (Thursday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Georgia Tech @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm Comcast Center); Boxing: Jean Pascal vs. Lucian Bute (Saturday 10:15pm from Montreal live on HBO), Ivan Redkach vs. Tony Luis (Friday 10pm from Memphis live on Showtime); MISL: St. Louis Ambush @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm from Baltimore Arena live on YouTube), Baltimore Blast @ Syracuse Silver Stars (Sunday 1pm from Syracuse, NY live on YouTube)

10. Paul Mooney (Saturday 7:30pm Howard Theatre)l Iliza Shlesinger (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Doug Stanhope (Thursday 8pm Magooby’s Joke House); Todd Glass (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Sunday throughout Baltimore County); Enough Said“, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler“, “Riddick” and “Carrie” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit“, “The Nut Joband “Ride Along” out in theaters (Friday)

Iliza Schlesinger is both humorous and not safe for work.

I have no interest in seeing Jack Ryan, but I could use some more Keira Knightley in my life.

9. Jay-Z (Thursday 8pm Verizon Center); Stone Sour/Pop Evil (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live); Rusted Root (Monday 7:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Big Daddy Kane (Friday 9pm Howard Theatre); Charles Bradley (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Big Head Todd and The Monsters (Saturday 7pm 9:30 Club); Gipsy Kings (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Dangermuffin (Friday 8pm Gypsy Sally’s); Bruce Springsteen “High Hopes”Switchfoot “Fading West” and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings “Give The People What They Want” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’ve seen Jay-Z a few times, probably won’t make down to DC Thursday night. But if he ever toured with The Roots there would not be a price I wouldn’t pay.

Charles Bradley > Charles Barkley > Matt Barkley > My elementary school friend Matt Besche. Actually, strike that. Matt Besche is WAY better than Matt Barkley.

Drew Forrester said the new Springsteen record isn’t a home run. Fair enough. I really like this tune though.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are example number 6,789,403 why Brooklyn is now the capital of the music world.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Wake Forest @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center); Boxing: Arash Usmanee vs. Juan Antonio Rodriguez (Friday 9pm from Tacoma, WA live on ESPN2)

10. Jimmie’s Chicken Shack (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live); Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Cracker (Saturday 6pm 9:30 Club); Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (Friday & Saturday 7:30pm Birchmere); Peter Gabriel “Scratch My Back & I’ll Scratch Yours” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

JCS is celebrating the 15th anniversary of one of the most important records OF MY LIFE.

I would like to go see Dirty Dozen Brass Band, yes, thanks for asking.

Cracker does that one song you kinda remember.

And now here’s Ricky Skaggs.

9. Blue Man Group (Friday-Sunday France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at The Hippodrome); Jim Gaffigan (Friday & Saturday 7pm & 9:30pm Warner Theatre); Rob Schneider (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “Archer” season five premiere (Monday 10pm FX); Lone Survivor“, “Her” and “August: Osage County” out in theaters (Friday); Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Friday-Monday throughout Baltimore County)

Obviously the only thing that matters this week is the return of Archer. Enjoy the next eight minutes of your life. They won’t get better.

Also, this is great.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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“The Reality Check” Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 11 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 29)

I’m sorry I ever doubted the Jags being the worst team in the NFL.

31. Cleveland Browns (28)

So…you know…no pressure, Ravens.

30. Oakland Raiders (32)

Did you know their Tight Ends are something named “David Ausberry & Jeron Mastrud”? They look like they should play for Baltimore.

29. Buffalo Bills (30)

I still want Tuel Time.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22)

You deserve to drop to 28 if you lose to the Jets.

27. New York Jets (31)

I don’t think they should get comfortable.

26. Arizona Cardinals (25)

It’s a road loss with some good. Not a disaster.

25. San Diego Chargers (24)

The Texans are a very good team, but there’s no excuse to lose that at home.

24. Carolina Panthers (23)

The Seahawks are a very good team, but there’s no excuse to lose that at home.

23. Tennessee Titans (27)

They get more credit for their win because it was on the road at a good team what we thought was a good team.

22. Minnesota Vikings (18)

Christian Ponder can’t possibly last the season.

21. Detroit Lions (26)

A good team can’t follow up a division win with a loss to the Cardinals-even if it’s on the road.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (12)

What the hell was that? I mean, besides an awful lot of fun.

19. St. Louis Rams (20)

A game they should have won and did. That’s not a bad thing.

18. Washington Redskins (14)

Also from the list of “things I particularly enjoyed”.

17. Miami Dolphins (19)

Dannell Ellerbe looked really good Sunday. I know it’s one game.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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You would never trade the 15-7-0 for a sixth round pick

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You would never trade the 15-7-0 for a sixth round pick

Posted on 09 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Do you remember how this goes?

15 positive observations from the weekend of football, seven not so positive observations and we acknowledge a “zero” from outside the world of football. A reminder, there’s never any Ravens game analysis here. It’s a trip through the weekend of football via videos, GIFs, memes, pictures, links, Tweets and shtick.

It’s been awhile. Be gentle. You know I would be.

15 Positive Observations…

1. Dear Tennessee Titans. Remember that thing Brian Billick said in the locker room that one time? Can we forget about all of that? We love you. A lot. Like MORE than we love red velvet funnel cake. No. Really.

This particular level of beautiful idiocy is even more delicious because former Terps LB Moise Fokou was the one to come up with the ball. I cried. I hugged a stranger.

Look, the Steelers were awful (which is delicious), but Troy Polamalu still did something AMAZING.

But hey Steel City, at least you didn’t do this.

2. Joe Flacco is so jealous of the guys CJ Brown is able to throw the football to.

Dave Stinebaugh is capable. Deon Long is good. Stefon Diggs is absurd.

3. I don’t really want to get too emotional this early in the season, but if you don’t want to give Ken Niumatalolo a “bro-hug” you’re a terrible American.

Navy is amazing. Just days after Coach Ken Niumatalolo’s mother passed away, they go to Bloomington and beat the Hoosiers for the second straight year. They’re just absolutely amazing. It was their 20th win over a BCS program since 2003. You might ask yourself, is that good? Well…yes.

Much love to you Coach Niumatalolo. And with the return of Navy football, the return of the amazing Navy football pregame videos.

4. The Saints’ decision to have a head coach be the head coach this season has gotten them off to a better start.

Pretty neat moment at the start of the game in The Big Easy, as Sean Payton and former Saint Steve Gleason lead the team out together.

This was one of the better games of the day, and came down to Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro making a damn fine play to end the game. I hope his family treated him to an eclair as a reward. (Raise your hand if you got it.)

5. High five to the guy who randomly picked Shane Vereen because “what the hell he’s still sitting there” late in his fantasy football draft.

Vereen came into the game because Stevan Ridley had a fumbling problem. But it’s understandable when you’re getting by tough opponents like “Air” and “Ground”…

For some inexplicable reason, Tom Brady decided to do his best Mark Sanchez impression.

Bills fans of course handled the arrival of the Pats with class and dignity and…yeah.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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San Fran mayor Lee pays off Super Bowl bet in Baltimore

Posted on 27 April 2013 by WNST Staff

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was in Baltimore on Friday to settle a bet he made with the city’s mayor on the outcome of the Super Bowl game between the 49ers and Ravens in February.

Lee agreed on a friendly wager with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake ahead of the big game in New Orleans on Feb. 3, in which the 49ers fell 34-31.

As the losing mayor, Lee visited the winning city and started his day cooking Maryland blue crabs at Faidley’s Seafood at Lexington Market.

Rawlings-Blake then hosted Lee in a day of service.

The mayors attended a kick-off revitalization event at a vacant lot with Baltimore-based organization Power in Dirt and AmeriCorps, which is a federal community service agency.

Other events scheduled for the day were a repair of a police station, and a tutoring session with the city initiative, “Third Grade Reads,” which trains volunteers to be reading tutors for first-, second-, and third-graders who are reading below grade level.

(Report courtesy of Bay Area News)

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Reed leaves Houston without contract in hand

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Reed leaves Houston without contract in hand

Posted on 15 March 2013 by Luke Jones

After looking like signing a deal with the Texans was imminent after a two-day visit, Ravens free-agent safety Ed Reed did what he’s done on a number of occasions the last few offseasons by throwing everyone a curveball.

Instead of completing a deal with Houston as many expected, Reed left the city without an agreement in place. A deal isn’t expected on Friday, but the Texans remain optimistic in signing the veteran defensive back, according to multiple outlets.

Negotiations will continue through the weekend, but the 34-year-old left Houston without a contract in hand after the Texans wined and dined Reed on Thursday. According to the NFL Network, Reed spent roughly 4 1/2 hours at the team’s offices at Reliant Stadium on Friday before leaving the building without an agreement.

Meetings were described as positive and this doesn’t mean the safety won’t still sign with the Texans, but a full-court press was made by the organization to entice Reed to sign a contract before he’d return to his home city of Atlanta. After his six-year, $44.4 million contract officially expired on Tuesday, Reed began his free-agent tour on Thursday by meeting with Texans officials and even defensive coordinator Wade Phillips before spending the night in Houston.

Meanwhile, USA Today reported Friday afternoon that the Ravens and general manager Ozzie Newsome remained in contact with Reed throughout his visit with the Texans.

The Texans rolled out the red carpet for the nine-time Pro Bowl safety as the organization announced general manager Rick Smith was on his way to pick up Reed in owner Bob McNair’s private jet. Reports suggest the Texans have been hot after Reed’s services since the start of free agency on Tuesday afternoon.

“Both of us are contenders and want to get a championship, but we still have some things to work out,” Reed said to reporters upon landing in Houston. “Conversations have been great, amazing. We’re on the same page as far as what we need to get done.”

Despite dealing with a chronic nerve impingement as well as a torn labrum in his shoulder, Reed was one of only two players to make all 16 starts for the Baltimore defense and collected four interceptions and 58 tackles in the 2012 regular season. The ball-hawking safety also intercepted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Ravens’ 34-31 win in Super Bowl XLVII.

Reed hired David Dunn to be his agent recently and has remained hopeful he would remain with the Ravens.

The 34-year-old acknowledged Houston’s close proximity with family living in his home state of Louisiana was a major selling point for his interest in joining the Texans. Reed spoke of the Ravens and Baltimore on Thursday much like a man who was moving on.

“It’s been a great ride,” Reed said in Houston. “The fan support has been truly amazing, a lot of love and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It’s definitely tough, but after 11 years, you pretty much understand things about the business.”

Visiting Houston is an obvious sign that Reed could be the next Baltimore defensive player to exit this offseason, but the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year also needs to establish a market for himself and determine whether the grass is greener on the other side in joining a new team for what will be his 12th professional season.

The situation has been compared to Ray Lewis’ flirtation with free agency following the 2008 season, but in this case, the Ravens have sent a clear message they’re essentially starting over on defense after the exits of Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, Bernard Pollard, Cary Williams, and Paul Kruger. The organization will depend on defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, linebacker Terrell Suggs, and cornerback Lardarius Webb — three of the highest-paid players on the team — to be the pillars of a defensive unit clearly in transition.

It remains to be seen whether Reed will be included in those plans — regardless of the cost.

But, for now, Reed remains without a home after looking like his trip to Houston would result in his official departure from the Ravens.

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J. Jones savors celebration after memorable first year with Ravens

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J. Jones savors celebration after memorable first year with Ravens

Posted on 06 February 2013 by Luke Jones

You’d forgive Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones for being skeptical of the celebration held in Baltimore on Tuesday to celebrate the Super Boxl XLVII Ravens.

Growing up in The Big Easy, the 28-year-old return specialist knows a thing or two about a citywide party. But even Jones couldn’t help but shake his head in disbelief as more than 200,000 Ravens fans flocked to the downtown area for a parade and rally at M&T Bank Stadium to celebrate the second championship in the 17-year history of the franchise.

As he did following his record-setting 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, Jones offered his rendition of Ray Lewis’ famous dance after the 37-year-old linebacker showed it off one more time in front of the hometown fans. It was just one of many memorable scenes on a day few will forget in the history of Baltimore sports.

“I’m from New Orleans and we have Mardi Gras,” Jones said. “We have parades and we have people out there and you’d be like, ‘Wow.’ But that right there, that was times 10. That was crazy. I don’t think nobody went to work. No kids in school, no nothing. Baltimore just shut down. I hope no doctors were out there. Somebody would have died!”

It was quite a change from a year earlier for Jones, who encountered death threats and heard stories of Houston Texans fans burning his jersey in outrage over a critical fumble on a punt in a divisional playoff loss to the Ravens last January. Released a couple months later, Jones found a home in Baltimore after signing a two-year, $7 million contract.

The sixth-year receiver and former third-round pick immediately felt right at home with the Ravens as the organization simply encouraged Jones to be himself as he had a reputation for being a bit of a free spirit in addition to doubts about his hands. He is among countless players to declare this year’s team as the closest they had ever been a part of.

His two-touchdown performance while playing in the Super Bowl was the icing on the cake for a season that included Jones’ first Pro Bowl selection as the return specialist in the AFC.

“Never in a million years you would think one year you come in and play with a group like that,” Jones said. “That’s crazy. I don’t think you can ever have another team like that again. I hope we can all stay together.”

Jones accumulated a Super Bowl-record 290 all-purpose yards and set three other records in the NFL’s championship game, including longest play, longest kickoff return, and longest kickoff return for a touchdown. His 56-yard touchdown catch on a moon-ball from quarterback Joe Flacco gave the Ravens a 21-3 lead late in the first half.

The performance wasn’t good enough to outdo Flacco as the game’s Most Valuable Player, but Jones received another honor instead. The Lane College product was surprised to learn he was chosen to be on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated magazine.

“What? Me? Nah,” said Jones in disbelief following Tuesday’s celebration. “They get my good side? I had the helmet on? Alright, I’ll take that one any day.”

Jones SI cover

Jones was just what the doctor ordered this season as the Ravens finally cured their problems at the return spot and at the No. 3 receiver position from a year ago when they received next to nothing from a number of returners and former wide receiver Lee Evans respectively. He averaged 30.7 yards per kickoff to lead the NFL and had three returns for scores during the regular season.

Though finishing with only 30 catches for 407 yards and a touchdown in the regular season, Jones’ 70-yard miracle touchdown against the Denver Broncos — nicknamed “The Prayer in Thin Air” — and acrobatic touchdown catch against the 49ers were as big as any plays in the Ravens’ improbable postseason run to a championship. His speed on the outside paired with second-year wide receiver Torrey Smith made the Baltimore passing attack one of the most dangerous in the league this season as Flacco had vertical options on each side of the field in three-receiver sets.

He may not have taken home the MVP award or the Corvette Stingray that accompanied it, but Jones’ unique skill set was on full display for the entire world to see on Sunday night.

“Jacoby has just been a blessing to this team and we are so grateful to have him,” said coach John Harbaugh following Super Bowl XLVII. “The kick return was well-blocked and Jacoby made it with his speed. The other play, to go up and make the catch, go down and outrun someone to the corner of the end zone — it should go down in Super Bowl history.”

For a time, it appeared Jones’ return score to open the second half would turn out the lights on San Francisco’s title hopes, but a power outage in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome made that play on words less than amusing to the Ravens. The 34-minute delay was a catalyst for the 49ers to regroup and erase most of a 22-point deficit before Baltimore prevailed with a final stand at the goal line late in the fourth quarter.

However, the quirky Jones may have been the only Raven who was pleased when the lights went out in New Orleans just moments after his record-setting kick return. It was the latest example of how his sense of humor and candor were accepted with open arms in the Ravens locker room.

“I was happy, man,” Jones said. “I was tired after that 108. I was on the sideline throwing up. I was trying to catch my breath. I wasn’t even tripping. It came right on time. I got a chance to get a little water. Still caught some passes and slowed my heart rate down. We got back on track and still got the [win].”

Getting back on track — and much more — was exactly what Jones did this year in finding a perfect home with the Ravens.

 

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/49ers

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/49ers

Posted on 05 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Jacoby Jones 108 yard kickoff return TD (3rd quarter)

4. Jacoby Jones 56 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 10 (2nd quarter)

3. Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Randy Moss on two point conversion attempt incomplete (4th quarter)

2. Joe Flacco 15 yard pass to Anquan Boldin on 3rd and inches (4th quarter)

1. Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree on 4th and goal incomplete (4th quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Super Bowl brilliance brings Flacco’s offseason comments full circle

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Super Bowl brilliance brings Flacco’s offseason comments full circle

Posted on 04 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

NEW ORLEANS, La. — Remember that time when I asked Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco that thing?

I’m sure you remember it. If not, I’m happy to refresh your memory…

Oh right. NOW you remember. I asked Joe Flacco if he thought he was a “Top 5″ NFL quarterback (which had been a hot offseason debate), and he responded by telling me he thought he was THE BEST quarterback in the National Football League.

I bring this conversation back up because it seemed like everyone ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET wanted to remind you of those comments every time Flacco had a moment this season that may have been slightly more “down” than “up.”

During the week, Flacco’s comments to WNST were featured prominently in the coverage NFL Network and ESPN gave in New Orleans. On Sunday, the comments were part of the pre-game package that aired on CBS.

The comments became such a prominent part of the narrative surrounding the Ravens’ fifth year starter that it almost reached the point where you couldn’t make commentary about Flacco without including them. You would either hear “sure, Joe Flacco had a good game-but let’s not forget he thinks he’s the best quarterback in football and he most certainly wasn’t today” or if he struggled perhaps you’d hear something along the lines of “when Joe Flacco plays like this it becomes more and more laughable that he considers himself the best quarterback in football.”

Instead of judging Joe Flacco on his numbers or the Ravens’ record, it became increasingly popular to judge him based on a legitimate answer to a throwaway question presented in the context of a charity radio event at a local bar.

Joe Flacco told me something else that night back in April over in Perry Hall that didn’t get nearly the same amount of publicity. It’s equally worth remembering, however. Fast forward to the 7:30 mark of the above video.

“Everybody wants to go back and forth-’we’re this kind of team, we’re that kind of team.’ Well, you know what kind of team we need to be? We need to be a Super Bowl champion team.”

Wow.

He added “I love winning and I’m going to continue to win no matter what our numbers are.”

I’m starting to think we should have taken this sentence and carved it into stone for prosperity.

Joe Flacco very much so continued to win this season after making those comments. He won double digit regular season games once again, a second AFC North title, a first AFC Championship and Sunday night capped it with a SPARKING Super Bowl MVP performance to win his first ever Vince Lombardi Trophy. Of course, the numbers in the postseason came WITH the winning, as Flacco put together a Joe Montana-esque 11 touchdown, zero interception stretch over four games. The final three TD’s came against Montana’s former team, the San Francisco 49ers, inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVII.

So now I put it right back to you, Baltimore Ravens fans? Is Joe Flacco a Top 5 NFL quarterback? Is he the best quarterback in football?

Or perhaps you’re really thinking to yourself “this doesn’t even matter.” That’s essentially what your quarterback is thinking.

“I’ve never cared. I don’t ever want to feel like I’m in a position to defend myself” the quarterback said after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night. “It’s not right. I don’t have to do that. We’ll have (the Super Bowl win) forever.”

That’s the answer. It doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter in April. It didn’t matter when the season started. It absolutely didn’t matter in the postseason. It will not matter at all moving forward.

Joe Flacco is a great NFL quarterback. There’s simply no doubting that at this point. Whether that means he’s Top 5, Top 10 or the best quarterback in the game-I’ll leave that for you to decide.

The comments everyone in Baltimore and around the country should have cared much more about were the comments about needing to be the type of team that can win a Super Bowl title. The comments everyone in Baltimore and around the country should have cared more about were the comments about a guy caring much more about winning than numbers.

It shouldn’t have taken a magical postseason run for Charm City to fall in love with this quarterback. It shouldn’t have taken a magical postseason run for many national commentators to realize the guy could really play quarterback and had changed the culture of one of the more successful franchises in the league.

Perhaps Monday would be a good day for those of you in Baltimore that haven’t started fawning over your quarterback yet to start doing so. I’d stop a bit shy of “hero worship”, but I’d make your love known.

I haven’t even bothered with throwing out the word “elite” yet. That one doesn’t matter either. (But the answer is now YES for those scoring at home.)

I’m grateful Joe Flacco had the bravado to step up and tell me he thought he was the best quarterback in football last year. I think that bravado served him well in leading the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl title in 12 years.

I’m significantly more grateful that Joe Flacco always cared so much about winning. It made for an unforgettable weekend on the Bayou for this particular Baltimore native.

-G

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