NEW ORLEANS –- Joe Flacco isn’t exactly Mr. Personality. He admits he’s boring, prefaces a lot of his remarks with shoulder shrugs and his self-deprecating humor shows he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Now Flacco will be in the limelight more than ever, and more than he’d like, after leading the Ravens on an improbable Super Bowl championship run that ended with a 34-31 nail-biter vs. the San Francisco 49ers in the Superdome.
“If you say there’s going to be some kind of celebrity with it, I’m cool with that, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable with it. I kind of like to go about my business,” said Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP who threw three first-half TDs and put himself in prime position to receive a $100 million contract during the offseason Monday morning. “The people in Baltimore have always been great, so it’ll be cool to go back there and just kind of see their reaction that our whole team gets when we get back there.”
What a journey for Flacco it has been. In five NFL seasons, he’d led the Ravens to three AFC title games. They finally won this time, knocking off the New England Patriots on the road after upsetting the Denver Broncos the previous week, also on the road.
The Ravens’ only other Super Bowl title came in 2001, when one of the league’s greatest defenses dominated the New York Giants 34-7.
This Ravens team won it with mostly offense and with some timely stops by the defense in the red zone.
In Week 15, Flacco had two turnovers that cost the Ravens against the Broncos in a regular-season game. He threw an interception at the goal line just before halftime. Instead of trailing 10-7, the Ravens were down 17-0 and never recovered.
Flacco chased Chris Harris for 98 yards as he reached the end zone. Flacco dove for the tackle and whiffed. He stayed there on the ground at M&T Bank Stadium. Dejected? Angry? Embarrassed?
Not at all. Flacco, unflappable as always, didn’t fret that 34-17 loss or that the Ravens lost four of their last five games to end the regular season.
“I’m pretty much the same. I’ve been pretty much the same guy all along. I think, obviously, as you get guys around and you mature a little bit, you become better and better and that’s the only way to stay on top of your game is to continuously get better,” he said. “But, that was just one of those games that didn’t go our way.
“I wasn’t lying on the ground, because I was pissed I threw a pick. I was lying on the ground, because I just ran 100 yards trying to run down a guy that’s way faster than me. I didn’t get him. I was close, but couldn't quite get him. It was just one of those things, and it may look like a turning point, but I think our team is playing pretty well, even during that stretch when we lost some of those games, and sometimes they get blown out of proportion.”
And now it'll be Flacco's image that gets blown up as he goes on a whirlwind tour. He's got a Chevy Stingray as an MVP gift. And he's headed to Disney World.