Back in the summer of 2011, the National Football League was in the midst of a lockout that was imposed by the owners of the 32 teams.
Fans throughout the country were not very happy. Quite frankly, neither was I.
We always knew, however, that the work stoppage would come to an end and we would get back to talking about the sport in terms of what was going to happen on the field.
Let the players and owners hammer out their differences. I wanted to talk football.
When fans--and media--talk about their team, oftentimes, they want to talk about the quarterback.
BOB HAYNIE SOUNDS OFF:
Here in Baltimore, the QB is Joe Flacco. He has been that guy since the Ravens picked him in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
If you remember, the 2010 Ravens went 12-4 and made it to the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs. There, they suffered a gut-wrenching 31-24 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Despite the loss, and the fact the Flacco didn't have a monster game, I felt as though Baltimore was extremely close to being a Super Bowl caliber club.
Flacco was the main reason I felt that way.
Let's get back to the summer of 2011.
The NFL lockout is still happening. But I was feeling good about Joe Flacco.
The Ravens are close, I would say. As a matter of fact, they will get the Super Bowl within the next couple of seasons.
And Flacco will be the reason that happens.
In 2011, Baltimore made it all the way to the AFC Title Game. They would lose a heartbreaker to the New England Patriots, 23-20. Albeit in a losing effort, Flacco outplayed New England QB Tom Brady.
Expectations were high for the Ravens coming into this season. When Flacco threw for 299 yard and two TD's on opening night against the Cincinnati Bengals, it looked as though he was ready to ascend to elite ( I said it ) status.
It didn't turn out that way. Even though the Ravens were putting together, yet another, playoff season, Flacco was not really setting the world on fire. As a matter of fact, I started to doubt whether or not he was a player capable of putting the team on his back and leading them to a title.
That was a mistake on my part.
This postseason, Joe Flacco has been awesome. He has thrown for eight TD's and zero interceptions. In the rematch with the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, Flacco was a star. He threw for three touchdowns as the Ravens schooled New England 28-13 to advance to Super Bowl 47.
So, even though I did question Joe's skills, briefly, I did have faith that he could get it done.
Get it done he did.
The Ravens still need to beat the San Francisco 49'ers in New Orleans to be World Champions. Their job is not finished.
Deep within, I always knew Joe Flacco was a Super Bowl level quarterback.
By getting there, he has done the impossible.
Make me look smart.
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