When the Baltimore Ravens used their first-round draft pick on quarterback Joe Flacco in the 2008 NFL Draft, they were hoping to have found their answer at long last for the most important position in the game, and in many ways they have. Testament to that point is a second Super Bowl trophy in their trophy case at the team facility.
That trophy also came with a new contract, of course, and for a time, Flacco was the highest-paid player in the league. He was, again, the highest-paid player in the league for a time this offseason as well when his deal was renewed, prior to Andrew Luck resetting the quarterback market with a historic new deal.
Though his career quarterback rating is just 84.7, and he has never posted a total for a season above even 95, those in and around the team seem comfortable regarding Flacco as among the best in the game, even if team site writer John Eisenberg noted that “the debate over his elitism has literally become a joke”.
Eisenberg also says, however, that his ability to be on the field is a part of what justifies the team paying him what they have over the course of the past several years. Prior to suffering a season-ending ACL tear in November last year, Flacco had never missed a game in his career, and had one of the longest active games played streaks at that time.
Despite the fact that he suffered the injury in just November, he said in mid-June that if there were a Super Bowl to be played, he would be ready to play in it. That would be seven months removed from the injury. Of course, Rod Woodson returned from an ACL injury to play in a Super Bowl the same season…
Still, it should not be dismissed what it means to the Ravens to have Flacco under center, and that applies both to the typical circumstances and to the current circumstance as he continues to rehab from his knee injury.
While he may not have always performed at an ‘elite’ level, he has been a consistent presence at the quarterback position that the Ravens lacked for some time before him, and that has admittedly translated into a lot of wins, including many postseason wins. His 10 playoff wins are the most by any quarterback since he has been drafted, it must be said. More than Ben Roethlisberger. More than Tom Brady. More than Aaron Rodgers.
As a matter of fact, while his career postseason completion percentage—skewed by his early years—is a merely respectable 56.6, he has a 10-5 overall record, throwing 25 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, averaging 7.2 yards per throw, and that includes two game-winning drives. He has 24 touchdowns versus four interceptions in his past four postseason appearances.
Equally important is the fact that he has accepted and been accepted as the role of team leader, and everybody sees him as such in the organization. What he means to the franchise may mean a great deal more than it might seem from the outside, which is why he’s fairly paid the way he is.