Joe Flacco

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Joe Flacco
refer to caption
Flacco in September 2012
No. 5 Baltimore Ravens
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-01-16) January 16, 1985 (age 31)
Place of birth: Audubon, New Jersey
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Audubon (NJ)
College: Delaware
NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 18
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 7, 2016
Passing attempts: 4,378
Passing completions: 2,668
Percentage: 60.9
TDINT: 167–108
Passing yards: 30,159
Passer rating: 84.0
Player stats at

Joseph Vincent Flacco (born January 16, 1985) is an American football quarterback who plays for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Delaware after transferring from Pittsburgh, and was drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

In his rookie year, Flacco started every game and led the Ravens to two road wins in the 2008–09 NFL Playoffs, becoming the first rookie quarterback in league history to win two road playoff games. As a rookie starting quarterback he won 13 games, 11 during the regular season.[1] In his second season, he improved his numbers, setting single season franchise records for completion percentage (63.1) and quarterback rating (88.9), and in his third season he became the all-time leader in Ravens history for passing yards and passing touchdowns. He is the only quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons.

With Flacco as Baltimore's starting quarterback, the Ravens have won the AFC North twice, appeared in three AFC Championship Games, and defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Flacco was named Super Bowl XLVII's MVP, concluding a postseason run in which he tied Joe Montana's single postseason record for touchdown passes (11) without an interception. That offseason, Flacco signed a six-year contract worth $120.6 million, a record high for a quarterback at the time.[2] Flacco has become known for his outstanding performance in the postseason, having established a career playoff record of 10-5 and holding the record for most postseason road victories by a quarterback with 7.

Flacco is known for having one of the strongest arms in the NFL,[3] which allows him to use an "aggressive, high-risk deep downfield passing game."[4]

Early years[edit]

Flacco was born in Audubon, New Jersey, the son of Karen (née Madden) and Steve Flacco.[5] He is of Italian and Irish descent.[6]

Flacco played football, baseball and basketball at Audubon High School and was the starting quarterback for the Green Wave. The Flacco family is originally from Haddon Township, New Jersey. Regarded as a three-star recruit by, Flacco was listed as No. 39 among quarterback prospects in the class of 2003.[7]

College career[edit]

Flacco in the 2007 NCAA Division I FCS football season playing for Delaware in the FCS championship game, Chattanooga, Tennessee, December 14, 2007

University of Pittsburgh[edit]

In 2003, as part of the Pittsburgh Panthers football team, Flacco was redshirted as a freshman for a team that went 8-5.

In 2004, he was the backup quarterback finding limited playing time behind starter Tyler Palko. He only saw action in three games against Ohio University, University of Nebraska, and the University of South Florida. He finished the season with one completion for 11 yards.


Flacco saw his first full-time action during the 2006 season. Playing for Fightin' Blue Hens Flacco threw for 2,783 yards, and 18 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. [8] Delaware struggled to a 5–6 record, and failed to qualify for the FCS playoffs.

In the 2007 season, Flacco led his team to an 8–3 regular season record while compiling 4,263 yards, 23 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.[8] He was considered one of college football's most accurate passers in 2007.[9][unreliable source?] Arguably his best game came against Division 1-A Navy where he threw for 434 yards and four touchdowns.[10] Flacco showed another solid performance in the first-ever meeting against the Delaware State Hornets in the first round of the playoffs. Behind Omar Cuff's record-setting day, Flacco threw efficiently for 189 yards and a touchdown, leading the Blue Hens to an easy 44–7 victory.[11] Flacco continued Delaware's playoff run by upsetting the Northern Iowa Panthers 39–27 in the FCS quarterfinals and upsetting the Southern Illinois Salukis 20–17 the next weekend in the semifinals. Flacco threw two touchdowns to win against both the Panthers and Salukis, but went on to lose in the championship game to the Appalachian State Mountaineers 49–21.[11]

Flacco set 20 school records during his career at Delaware.[12]

In early September 2009, a 20- by 30-foot poster of Flacco was added to the facade of Delaware Stadium.[13]

Professional career[edit]

2008 NFL Draft[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 6⅜ in 236 lb 4.84 s 1.62 s 2.79 s 4.27 s 6.82 s 28½ in 9 ft 2 in 27
All values from the NFL Combine[14]

At Delaware, Flacco was pessimistic about his chances to play in the NFL, and after his junior year asked his coach for permission to play baseball. The coach predicted that he would be selected in the NFL Draft, surprising Flacco.[15] With a solid showing at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, Flacco solidified himself as a top five quarterback in the 2008 NFL Draft.[16] Flacco won the long distance throw competition in ESPN's State Farm College Football All-Star Challenge with a 74-yard throw, beating out Matt Ryan, Colt Brennan, Chad Henne, and John David Booty, later winning the Taco Bell Quarterback Scramble with a time of 15.72 seconds.[17]

Members of the Baltimore Ravens' front office, having attended Flacco's workout at the Senior Bowl, were impressed by his ability to throw in rainy and windy conditions. Flacco again impressed the Ravens' personnel in the poor weather conditions of his workout at Delaware, despite their low expectations given Delaware's small-school pedigree—Flacco performed the workout on an uncut, unlined field with his own footballs. Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta later stated the workouts left him confident Flacco could succeed in the late-season conditions in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.[18]

Flacco was drafted by the Ravens 18th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft after the team traded out of the eight overall selection to the 26th, then up again.[18] The selection made Flacco the highest drafted player ever from the University of Delaware.[12] He was also the first Division 1 FCS (formerly 1-AA) quarterback selected in the first round of the draft since Steve McNair went third overall to the Houston Oilers in the 1995 NFL Draft. Draft commentators initially criticized the pick as a "reach", feeling Flacco would likely have still been available in the middle of the second round. DeCosta, however, stated waiting was too much of a gamble and that choosing Flacco in the first round was "an easy decision to make."[18]

Baltimore Ravens[edit]

On July 16, 2008, he signed a five-year contract with a maximum value of around $30 million, and $8.75 million guaranteed.

2008 season[edit]

Flacco (right) and Boller during 2008 training camp

Due to a season-ending injury to incumbent starter Kyle Boller and an illness to former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, Flacco became the starting quarterback in the 2008 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. He completed 15 of 29 passes for 129 yards, his longest pass being a 15-yard play to Derrick Mason. He threw no touchdowns and no interceptions in his debut, but he had a 38-yard rushing touchdown,[19] which was the longest rushing touchdown by a quarterback in Ravens' franchise history. Flacco's touchdown put the Ravens up by 17–3; the team eventually won the game by 17–10. He led the Ravens to a 28–10 week 3 win over the Cleveland Browns despite a sub-par performance going 13/19 for 129 yards and throwing 2 interceptions (the week 2 game with the Texans was postponed due to Hurricane Ike).[citation needed]

In a week 4 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Flacco played his first road game, his first Monday Night Football game and also threw his first professional touchdown pass on a three-yard corner to tight end Daniel Wilcox. However, the team still lost the game 23-20 as the young QB was sacked five times and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by linebacker LaMarr Woodley. In Week 5, the Ravens lost 13-10 to the Titans with Flacco's futility continuing going 18/27 for 153 yards but throwing two interceptions in the loss. His stats got even worse in Week 6 in a 31-3 loss at the Colts as he went 28/38 for 241 yards in his first professional 200 yard or more passing game but in the midst of things, he threw three interceptions. In a week 7 victory over the Miami Dolphins, Flacco earned his first career road victory, throwing for over 230 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Through week 7, Flacco also maintained a completion percentage of 64.2, the tenth best in the NFL.[citation needed]

Flacco (crouching) lines up against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008

In a week 8 win over the Oakland Raiders, Flacco not only passed for a touchdown but also ran for one. Flacco also caught a 43-yard pass in a trick formation deemed the "Wildcat". Many analysts viewed this and the last game as the potential launching point into a career of success.[citation needed] After the week 8 win, head coach John Harbaugh announced that the "Suggs package", a two quarterback offense using Flacco and Troy Smith, would be part of the offense the rest of the season.

In a week 13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, he threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, for the Ravens' sixth win in their previous seven games. In that seven game stretch, he compiled a passer rating of 99.1, the best of any quarterbacks in that span.

In a week 16 win over the Dallas Cowboys, he was 17-for-25 throwing 149 yards, one touchdown, a lost fumble and a passer rating of 96.9. In winning the game, he became the last quarterback to win at Texas Stadium as this was the last game ever played at Texas Stadium. This would also make him the second rookie quarterback ever to win at Texas Stadium, behind Ben Roethlisberger.

In week 17, Flacco had a new personal best, 297 yards. He was 17-of-23 for a quarterback rating of 115.8 as the Baltimore Ravens routed the Jacksonville Jaguars 27–7.

In his first season, Flacco was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, NFL Rookie of the week, the NFLPA Rookie of the week, and NFL Rookie of the Month for November.

Flacco finished his rookie season 257/428 for 2,971 yards with a total of 16 touchdowns (14 passing, 2 rushing), and 14 turnovers (12 interceptions and 2 lost fumbles).

In the wild card round of the 2008–09 NFL playoffs, Flacco became only the third rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first post-season start, and the first to do it on the road, when his Ravens defeated the Dolphins, 27–9. Flacco completed 9-of-23 attempted passes, accumulating 135 yards without throwing a touchdown or interception. He also scored the victory-sealing rushing touchdown on a quarterback draw in the 4th quarter. Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, and Mark Sanchez are the only other rookie quarterbacks to ever win their debut playoff game.

He then won his second game versus the Tennessee Titans. Flacco led the Ravens to a 13–10 win in the divisional playoff round. Flacco made tight-window throws to Todd Heap and Mark Clayton on the go ahead scoring drive in the 4th quarter to set up a game winning field goal from Matt Stover. On the day Flacco was 11-of-22 for 148 yards and a touchdown, without turning the ball over for the second straight game. He is the first rookie quarterback to win two playoff games.[20]

In the 2009 AFC Championship Game versus the Steelers, the Ravens lost 23-14, with Flacco throwing for 141 yards, being sacked a trio of times and throwing three picks, one being the game clincher to Troy Polamalu, who returned the pass for a touchdown.[21]

Flacco was awarded as the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year on January 29, 2009.

2009 season[edit]

Flacco at Ravens Training Camp in 2008.

In the season opening game in Baltimore against the Kansas City Chiefs, Joe Flacco led the Ravens to their first win of the season. He threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs, along with 18 yards rushing. He also threw one interception and had a quarterback rating of 95.8. During this game, the Ravens broke the franchise record for most offensive yards in a game with a total of 501.

In week 3 against the Cleveland Browns, Flacco threw for a career-high 342 yards and accumulated a quarterback rating of 111.8 He also threw for one touchdown, a 72-yarder to Derrick Mason. He then surpassed his own career high of 342 in week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, with 385 passing yards, along with two touchdowns, though Baltimore lost the game by two points.[citation needed] In Week 12, Flacco defeated the Steelers for the first time in his career, 20-17, on Sunday Night Football. In Week 14, Flacco threw another long touchdown pass to Mason, this one 62 yards, in a 48-3 demolishing of the Detroit Lions.

In week 15 against the Chicago Bears, Flacco broke his personal record for most touchdowns thrown in a game with four, while notching 234 passing yards and completing 72 percent of his passes, earning him a career-high passer rating of 135.6. The Ravens would go on to win the game 31-7. With 3,613 yards and 21 touchdowns, Flacco became the first Ravens quarterback since Vinny Testaverde to throw for more than 3,000 yards and more than 20 touchdowns in a single season.[citation needed] He also tied his interception number from his rookie season of 12.

After the season, Flacco was named to USA Today's annual "All-Joe" team.[22]

An injury limited Flacco's performance Wild Card Weekend against the Patriots. The Ravens routed the Patriots 33-14 despite Flacco throwing 4-10 for just 34 yards with one interception. The following week against the Colts, Flacco again performed poorly; thus, the Ravens lost 20-3.[citation needed]

Flacco drops back to pass during practice.

2010 season[edit]

In the season opener, Flacco and the Ravens opened New Meadowlands Stadium against the New York Jets. Flacco threw for 248-yards while completing 52.6% of his passes, throwing one interception and losing a fumble. In a defensive contest, the Ravens came away with the 10-9 win over their former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.

In week two at the Cincinnati Bengals, Flacco had arguably his worst NFL start of his young career, throwing for 154-yards while completing just 43.6% of his passes and throwing a career high 4 interceptions, while throwing one touchdown and accumulating a passer rating of 23.8. Coming off of the worst start of his career,[citation needed] Flacco and the Ravens had their home opener against the Cleveland Browns. Flacco bounced back from his week 2 loss to the Bengals and had his best game of the young season, throwing for 262-yards and completing 71% of his passes. He then hooked up with prized offseason acquisition wide receiver Anquan Boldin for 3 touchdowns, while throwing no interceptions and accumulating a passer rating of 128.7. The Ravens would win the contest 24-17.[citation needed]

Going into week 4, Flacco had never won against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, who were 3-0 and boasting the league's best defense but without franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger due to suspension. Late in the game on a fourth and 1 play, the Ravens called a fade pass to Boldin in the endzone but the pass was overthrown. The Steelers got the ball back with two minutes and forty seconds left but were not able to keep possession for the rest of the game. The Ravens got the ball back and Flacco embarked on the greatest drive of his young career. With 68 seconds left on the game clock, down 14-10, he drove the Ravens 40 yards down the field and threw the game winning 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Flacco threw for 256-yards and a touchdown, while completing 65% of his passes and achieving a passer rating of 82.7 in the victory. In a 2009 playoff rematch, the Ravens traveled to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. Flacco had a relatively good game throwing for 285-yards and 2 touchdowns while completing 77.1% of his passes and a passer rating of 119.3, but in a losing effort as the Patriots came back from losing 20-10 to win the game in overtime 23-20.[citation needed]

In week 7 the Ravens played the Buffalo Bills at home. To start the game, the Bills unexpectedly scored 2 touchdowns, putting the Ravens in a 14-0 hole. But Flacco responded by throwing for 250-yards and 3 touchdowns, and the Ravens eventually won the game 37-34 in overtime, despite one lost fumble by Flacco. In this game, Flacco tallied over 8,000 passing yards for his career.

In week 9, coming off a much needed bye week, Flacco and the Ravens took on the Miami Dolphins in Baltimore. The Dolphins were an undefeated 4-0 on the road that season and the Ravens were 3-0 at home. Flacco threw for 266-yards and 2 touchdowns and a passer rating of 129.6, posting his third straight 100-point passer rating of the season and fourth overall. The Ravens won the game 26-10.

The next week, on Thursday Night Football, the Ravens traveled to Atlanta to take on the Falcons, led by Flacco's fellow 2008 draftee, and close friend, quarterback Matt Ryan. Flacco went 22/34 with 215 yards passing, three touchdowns and an interception, but was outdueled by the Falcons and their magnificent QB-WR tandem of Ryan and Roddy White, as the Ravens lost 26-21. In week 12 at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Flacco threw his 53rd career touchdown pass, becoming the Ravens all-time leader in passing touchdowns. He finished the game with 289 yards and two touchdowns as the Ravens won 17-10, despite being sacked four times and throwing a pick.

On December 26, 2010, with a win against the Cleveland Browns, Flacco became one of only four NFL quarterbacks to lead his team to the playoffs in all three of his first three seasons. During this game, Flacco reached 10,000 career passing yards.

Ending the season, Flacco set season highs in passing yards (3,622), passing touchdowns (25), passer rating (93.6), and a season low in interceptions (10), yet set a career high with four lost fumbles.

In defeating the Kansas City Chiefs (30-7) in the wildcard round of the 2010–11 NFL playoffs, Flacco completed 25 of 34 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions (yet he did lose another fumble), for a post-season-high passer rating of 115.4. With the win, Flacco became the first quarterback in NFL history to start and win a playoff game in each of his first three seasons, and tied Len Dawson, Roger Staubach, Jake Delhomme, and Mark Sanchez for most career post-season road wins by a quarterback.[23]

In the divisional round, Flacco and the Ravens would once again head to Pittsburgh to play their arch-rival Steelers. The difference this time would be the season was on the line. The Ravens got out to an early 21-7 lead after a 12-yard rush by running back Ray Rice, a fumble recovery run back for a touchdown by defensive end Cory Redding, and a four-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to tight end Todd Heap. But in the third quarter, which the Ravens had been dominant in all of the regular season, Baltimore fell apart. The Ravens turned the ball over three times in their own territory with an uncharacteristic fumble by Rice, an interception by Flacco, and a fumbled snap by Center Matt Birk (Flacco was credited with the lost fumble), and with those the Steelers took a 31–24 lead. But even after all of the Ravens miscues and errors, the Ravens still had a shot to win it at the end when Flacco threw a dart to Houshmandzadeh, but it was dropped. Flacco finished the game 16 of 30 for 125-yards, one touchdown and one interception.

2011 season[edit]

After the 2010 season, the NFL began airing a yearly series on their TV channel, NFL Network, called the NFL Top 100. It would rank the league's best 100 players entering the upcoming season. The first ever list, the Top 100 Players of 2011, had Flacco ranked at number 90.

Shortly after the end of the 2010 season, the Ravens fired quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, to Flacco's dismay.[24]

On July 28, 2011, Flacco's leading receiver over his three professional years Derrick Mason was cut to clear cap space.[25] Additionally, 2010 number 3 and number 4 receivers T. J. Houshmandzadeh and Donté Stallworth were not re-signed, and longtime Ravens tight end Todd Heap was cut and signed by the Arizona Cardinals.[26] Flacco was left with Anquan Boldin and recently drafted rookies Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss sitting atop the wide receiver depth chart until the Ravens traded for Lee Evans,[27] a speedy target to take advantage of Flacco's arm strength. Second-year tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta stepped in to replace the former Pro-Bowler Heap. Of the ten Ravens with a reception in the 2010–2011 season, only four returned for the 2011–2012 season, leaving Flacco with many new targets.

Flacco and the Ravens started their 2011 season off with a bang. Taking on the arch-rival Steelers for a playoff rematch, Flacco went 17/29 with 224 yards passing, three touchdowns and a 117.6 quarterback rating. He and his Ravens routed the Steelers 35-7, as he beat Ben Roethlisberger for the first time in his career.

Flacco had his best game of the season in Week 3. He went 27/48 with a season-high 389 yards through the air and three touchdowns, all in the first quarter and to rookie wideout Torrey Smith (who actually finished the game with a five catch, 152-yard breakout performance). Flacco had a 103.6 rating, as well as 27 yards rushing and a lost fumble. The Ravens scored a season-high 37 points in the 30-point blowout victory, and also gained a franchise record 553 offensive yards.

Flacco had three more 300 yard games during the regular season, against the Texans, Cardinals and Steelers in a Sunday Night Football matchup. He won all three of these games, sweeping Pittsburgh for the first time in his career, but also lost fumbles in each one. Despite losing to the Chargers in Week 15, the Ravens clinched the playoffs for the fourth straight year that week.

The Ravens clinched their division, along with the number 2 seed in the AFC, in a Week 17 win over the rival Bengals. Flacco threw for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Flacco finished the season starting all 16 games. He had 312 completions on 542 attempts (57.6%). He threw for 3,610 yards, 20 TDs, 12 INTs and had one rushing score. He averaged 225.6 yards per game, was sacked 31 times over the course of the season and set a new career high with six lost fumbles. He finished the year with an 80.9 QB rating.[28]

Flacco continued his playoff dominance that year. In the Divisional playoff game against the Texans, he threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns, with no turnovers. In the AFC Championship Game, Flacco completed 22 out of his 36 attempts while throwing for two touchdowns and one interception along with 306 yards passing. These stats were enough to outplay New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who threw for 67 fewer yards, 2 fewer touchdowns, and 1 more interception than Flacco.[29] Despite Flacco's performance, the Patriots won to advance to the title game.

2012 season: Super Bowl MVP[edit]

On the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2012 list, Flacco was ranked number 74.

Despite Flacco's success—the Ravens were in the playoffs each of his first four seasons[15]—few saw him as among the NFL's best quarterbacks. Before January 2015, he had never been selected for the Pro Bowl.[30] In April 2012 Flacco was, as The New York Times later stated, "almost universally mocked" when he stated that he was the best quarterback in the NFL, superior to Brady, Peyton Manning, or Aaron Rodgers. "I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way", Flacco said.[31] In July he turned down the Raven's offer of a new contract, reportedly for $16 million a year, telling his agent that he believed he could improve and earn more.[15]

Flacco under center against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 2, 2012.

In Week 1, Flacco looked sharp going 21/29 for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 44-13 win at home against the Bengals on Monday Night Football.

In Week 2, Flacco went 22/42 for 232 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in a surprising 24-23 loss to the Eagles.

In Week 3 during a Sunday Night Football game, Flacco went 28/39 for 382, 3 touchdowns and an interception in a surprising 31-30 comeback win over the Patriots. This would be the first time ever the Ravens had defeated the Patriots in a regular season game.

In Week 4, Flacco went 28/46 for a season-high 356 yards with a touchdown and an interception and rushed for a touchdown in a 23-16 win against the Browns.

In Week 5, the Ravens barely survived a close game against a struggling Chiefs team. Despite the 9-6 win, Flacco went 13/27 for 187 yards and an interception.

In Week 6, Flacco went 17/26 for 234 yards and a touchdown as he led his team to a close 31-29 win at home against the Cowboys.

In Week 7, the Ravens traveled down to Houston to take on the Texans (whom they played in the 2011 season and in the playoffs). Flacco struggled going 21/43 for 147 yards, a touchdown but 2 costly interceptions in a 43-13 loss.

In Week 8, Flacco's stats looked semi-sharp during the Ravens' bye: 150/252 on pass attempts with 9 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and 18 sacks. Also, Flacco had a rushing touchdown and a lost fumble. Combined: 10 total touchdowns and 7 total turnovers.

In Week 9, a struggling Flacco traveled to Cleveland with his Ravens team for game 2 against the Browns. The Ravens were down 15-14 heading into the 4th quarter. Flacco was able to move the Ravens down the field on 2 drives to set up a total of 11 unanswered points for a 25-15 comeback win over the Browns. Flacco went 15/24 for 153 yards and a touchdown in the game. His record improved to 10-0 all time along with coach John Harbaugh against the Browns.

In Week 10, Flacco had a strong showing in a win over the Oakland Raiders, completing 21 of 33 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, while rushing for his second touchdown of the season. The following week, Flacco threw for only 164 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in a 13-10 win against the Steelers at Heinz Field. In another low-scoring win, this time against the San Diego Chargers, he went 30/51 for 355 yards, including a short pass to Ray Rice, who broke numerous tackles to a turn a critical fourth-and-29 into a highlight reel conversion.

The Ravens had amassed a 9-2 record. However, Flacco played poorly once again in a Week 12 rematch with the Steelers, completing only 16 of 34 passes for 188 yards with one touchdown and an interception. The game saw the Ravens squander a ten-point lead and lose 20-23, despite their division rival starting backup Charlie Batch at quarterback. The following week against the Washington Redskins, Flacco went 16-of-21 with three touchdowns but again amassed less than 200 passing yards in the season's first back-to-back losses. With the offense remaining inconsistent and the team missing opportunities to win their division with each loss, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was unexpectedly fired and replaced by quarterbacks coach – and former Indianapolis Colts head coach – Jim Caldwell. The change at coordinator was followed by a lopsided loss to the Denver Broncos, leading to widespread criticism of Flacco in the media.[32]

Flacco and the Ravens responded with a decisive, 33-14 win over the defending Super Bowl-champion New York Giants in which Flacco threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns, with another rushing. With the division finally clinched, the team rested many starters in the regular season finale, a loss to the Bengals.

Despite the victory over New York, much of the local and national media wrote the team off as Super Bowl contenders,[33] with ESPN writing that the team had "backed into the playoffs with a disastrous December."[34]

On January 6, 2013, in the Wild Card Playoffs round against the Indianapolis Colts, Flacco finished the game 12 of 23 for 282 yards, two touchdowns, and a career postseason high 125.6 passer rating. The 24-9 win at home set up a Divisional round rematch with the Broncos, who entered the game as nine-point favorites after their regular season win over the Ravens, which included a 98-yard interception touchdown return by Broncos' cornerback Chris Harris that marked the lowest point of Flacco's season.[35] Continuing his postseason success, Flacco played one of the best games in his career, throwing for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the 4th quarter, the Ravens were down 35-28 and had one last chance to tie the game. After an incomplete pass and a 7-yard scramble, on 3rd down and 3, Flacco heaved a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, sending the game into overtime. The pass has been called the "Mile High Miracle", and "one of the greatest plays in NFL history"[36] and drew comparisons to Roger Staubach's "Hail Mary", Terry Bradshaw's "Immaculate Reception", and Joe Montana's "The Catch".[37][38] The Ravens would go on to win the game in double overtime 38-35 after an interception by Corey Graham from Peyton Manning and a 47-yard field goal from Justin Tucker, sending the Ravens to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship for a second straight year.[37]

On January 20, 2013, Flacco and the Ravens avenged the previous year's AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots with a 28-13 win, securing their spot in the 2013 Super Bowl. Flacco threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns, notching his third straight game with a passer rating over 100. With this win, Flacco became the second NFL quarterback to defeat both Peyton Manning (with the Broncos) and Tom Brady in the same postseason since both became starting quarterbacks in 2001 (the first to do so was Mark Sanchez in 2010).

Flacco attempts a pass to Ray Rice in Super Bowl XLVII, which Baltimore won 34-31 over the San Francisco 49ers.

In a 34-31 win over the favored San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, played on February 3, 2013, Flacco completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and another three touchdowns, tying him for first place on the list of most consecutive playoff games with at least three touchdown passes (3 games). With a record fourth playoff game with a 100+ passer rating in a single postseason,[4] Flacco was named the game's Most Valuable Player.[31] For winning the award, he was given a then-brand-new red Chevrolet Corvette.

Flacco finished the postseason having completed 73-of-126 (57.9 percent) passes for 1,140 yards with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions, tying Montana and Kurt Warner for the most touchdowns in a single postseason[39] and additionally tying Montana for the most touchdowns without an interception in a single postseason.[40] Flacco's 117.2 passer rating tied him for third place all-time with Steve Young in a Super Bowl-winning postseason.[40]

These accomplishments gave Flacco what The New York Times stated "might be the best start to a player's free agency in the history of professional sports", as his contract expired after the season.[31]

2013 season[edit]

On March 4, 2013, Flacco became the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history when he signed a six-year contract worth $120.6 million.[2] However, within months, he was surpassed by the Packers' Aaron Rodgers[41] and the Falcons' Matt Ryan.[42]

Flacco was ranked #19 on the NFL's annual Top 100 Players list heading into the season. In the presentation, several defensive players attested to Flacco's ability to deliver throws under heavy pressure, and his tendency to step up in big moments.

In the regular season opener, Flacco faced off against the Broncos in a rematch of the previous season's AFC Divisional Playoff game. Flacco threw his first touchdown of the season on a two-yard pass to Vonta Leach to take a 7-0 lead, but the Ravens ended up losing the game 49-27. He completed 34 of 62 passes for 362 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, beginning his season 0-1 for the first time.

In week 4, Flacco threw a career-high five interceptions against the Buffalo Bills in a loss, despite throwing for 347 yards. The Ravens fell to 2-2. This resulted in a first place tie between the Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Cleveland Browns, who shared at least first place for the first time since 2007. The Ravens went on to beat the Dolphins but found themselves losing three in a row to the Packers, Steelers, and Browns (his first career loss to Cleveland).

Flacco finally seemed to have found his rhythm in Week 6, throwing for 342 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers. However, the Ravens still couldn’t pull out the win, as Flacco was sacked five times and lost a fumble.

Flacco made a lot of big plays in Week 9, throwing for 250 yards, two touchdowns, running for 25 yards and throwing a two-point conversion pass, but was once again sacked five times and threw an interception in the loss to the Browns.

Against Cincinnati, Flacco completed 20 out of 36 passes with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions, lost a fumble and was again sacked five times in a 20-17 win decided in overtime.

In week 11, Flacco threw two costly interceptions against the Bears, one of which was returned for a touchdown by David Bass, and lost the game in overtime 23-20.

Flacco threw his first deep touchdown of the season when he hit Jacoby Jones for a 66-yard score in a 19-3 victory over the New York Jets. He then threw for 251 yards and a touchdown on Thanksgiving against the Steelers, winning 22-20. Flacco's best game of the season may have been in Week 14 against the Vikings. He threw for 245 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions, ran for 22 yards and threw a two-point conversion as the Ravens won their third straight game, 29-26.

Flacco's 2013 season was statistically the worst of his career. For the first time as an NFL quarterback, Flacco threw more interceptions than he threw touchdowns. His 22 interceptions in the season were 10 more than he had thrown in any other season. His 19 touchdowns were also his lowest since his rookie year. His passer rating was a career low 73.1, approximately 7 points lower than Flacco's previous worst season passer rating. He was also sacked more times (48) than he was in any other season in his career. Despite all this, he also set a high in passing yards, with 3912.[43]

The Ravens would finish 8-8 for the season and Flacco would miss the playoffs for the first time in his career.

2014 season[edit]

Despite Flacco's incredibly rocky 2013 campaign, he still made the Top 100 Players list, coming in at a considerably high ranking of 58, three spots behind Ravens' superstar offensive lineman Marshal Yanda.

Flacco in 2014

In their 2014 season home opener, the Ravens played against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals. The game saw the Ravens trailing practically the entire time; however, their one lead of the game came off of an 80-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.. As of the 2016 season, it was the longest throw of Flacco's career. However, the Ravens would go on to lose the game 23-16, after Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton connected with receiver A.J. Green for an even more stupendous 77-yard touchdown that would ultimately be the game winner. It would be the first time since 2005 that the Ravens lost their home opener. Flacco finished the game completing 35 of 62 passes and throwing for a season-high 345 passing yards along with a touchdown and an interception, with a passer rating of 71.0.[44]

In Week 2 of the season, the Ravens took on the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. In the game, Flacco completed 21 of 29 passes for 166 yards, two touchdowns to tight end Owen Daniels and threw no interceptions with a passer rating of 103.9. He also wasn't sacked. The Ravens beat the Steelers 26-6, giving them their first win of the season.

In Week 4, Flacco completed 22 of 31 passes for 327 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions with a passer rating of 137.4, as the Ravens routed the Carolina Panthers 38-10. He once again wasn't sacked either. His first touchdown pass came off of a ball that tipped off of the hand of Daniels and into the hands of Smith Sr., who raced down the sideline for a 61-yard score. His second started with a fumbled snap, which he picked up and heaved to the endzone, where Smith Sr. again hauled in the pass, this time in the back of the endzone (while being held by cornerback Melvin White) for a 21-yard score. His third was a 29-yard pass to Torrey Smith.

From Weeks 2-4, Flacco was not sacked at all.

In Week 6, Flacco had his best game of the season, and one of the best games of his career. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 306 yards and a career high five touchdown passes to four different receivers (Smith Sr., Torrey Smith, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro) with no interceptions. He once again wasn't sacked and had a season-high passer rating of 149.7. Flacco became the fastest quarterback to throw five touchdown passes, as it only took him 16 minutes and 3 seconds. The Ravens blew out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-17.

In Week 13, the Ravens took on the San Diego Chargers. Flacco once performed very well, completing 19 of 31 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns without an interception or a sack with a passer rating of 104.9. He also rushed for a touchdown. Despite leading the game until the final two minutes, the Ravens took an unexpected and rare home loss. San Diego scored a touchdown late in the game for their first lead in a very hard fought shootout that ended in a 34-33 score.

In Week 14, the Ravens made up for the unexpected loss to San Diego by beating the Miami Dolphins 28-13 and getting their fourth road win of the season. Flacco started out sloppy, but ended up completing 25 of 33 passes for 269 yards, two touchdowns and an interception with a passer rating of 106.8. He also rushed for a touchdown and was sacked only once.

In Week 16, the Ravens took on the Houston Texans with a chance to clinch the playoffs. Flacco played his worst game of the season, and arguably the worst of his career. He ended the first half with only 27 passing yards and two interceptions, as the Ravens trailed 16-0 going into halftime. The Ravens would rally in the second half, as Flacco threw two touchdown passes to Torrey Smith, but the Ravens never held a lead in the entire game and ended up losing 25-13. Flacco finished completing 21 of 50 passes for 195 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions with a season-low passer rating of 41.7. He was also sacked twice.

In Week 17, the Ravens took on the Cleveland Browns in Baltimore. They had the chance to clinch the final playoff seed, but they needed a win and for the Kansas City Chiefs to beat or tie the San Diego Chargers. Trailing 10-6 in the fourth quarter, Flacco stepped up big time. He heaved a deep pass to Torrey Smith, who caught the ball at the Browns' 16 yard line. On the next play of the game, Flacco connected with Smith again, this time for a touchdown, which put the Ravens up 13-10 for good with 7:33 left in the game. With 3:44 left in the game, Flacco threw another touchdown pass to Kamar Aiken, sealing a 20-10 win. Kansas City would beat San Diego 19-7, giving Baltimore the final AFC playoff spot. Flacco finished the game with 22 of 36 completed passes, 312 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions with a passer rating of 107.6. Flacco was also sacked one time, which caused one of his two fumbles in the game (he did not lose either).

In 5 of Flacco's last 6 games of the season, his passer rating was 99 or higher, with the one exception being the 25-13 loss to Houston.

2014 saw Flacco have the best regular season of his career. He set highs in passing yards (3,986), passing touchdowns (27), times sacked (19), fumbles (5) and fumbles lost (0). He also attempted and completed the second most single-season passes in his career (344 completions out of 554 attempts) and tied his mark for second lowest amount of interceptions thrown in a regular season (12). He led Baltimore to a 10-6 record.

In the Wild Card round of the playoffs, the Ravens played the AFC North-winning Steelers at Heinz Field. Flacco completed 18 of 29 passes for 259 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions with a passer rating of 114.0, as the Ravens beat the Steelers 30-17. He was sacked once, after getting tripped up by his offensive lineman on the Ravens' first offensive play of the game. This became the first time that the Ravens beat the Steelers in the postseason. Flacco also continued his streak of winning a game in his team's first round of the playoffs. His biggest accomplishment, however, may have been that he became the first quarterback in NFL history to start and win a playoff game in six of their first seven seasons.

In the Divisional round of the playoffs, the Ravens traveled to Foxborough to take on the number-one seeded New England Patriots, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions in a 31-35 shootout, despite two back-to-back 14-point leads. Flacco still performed well, going 28/45 with 292 passing yards, a career-postseason-high 4 touchdown passes, 2 interceptions and a 92.1 passer rating. He was once again not sacked either.

For his efforts during the 2014 season, Flacco was invited to the 2015 Pro Bowl as an alternate but turned down the opportunity to play because his wife, Dana, was due to give birth to the couple's third child the same month.[45]

On the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015, Flacco was controversially ranked number 97, the lowest that he has ever been ranked on the NFL's Top 100 Players list. He fell 39 spots from the previous year, where he was ranked number 58.

2015 season: Season-ending injury[edit]

Flacco in 2015

The Ravens began their 2015 season in Denver, the place where Flacco had his breakout playoff performance nearly three years earlier. Leading the game 13-9 with less than a minute left in the third quarter, Flacco threw a pass down the middle of the field, aiming for Steve Smith Sr., but missed the pass terribly. It was intercepted by Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, and returned 51 yards for a touchdown. It was Flacco's first pick-six since the 2013 season finale. With less than a minute left in the game, the Ravens had the ball at the Denver 16 yard line and were trailing 19-13. Flacco threw a pass into the endzone, intended for double-covered tight end Crockett Gillmore, which was intercepted by safety, and former Raven, Darian Stewart, officially ending the game for Baltimore.

In Week 2, against the Oakland Raiders, Flacco bounced back by going 32/45 with 384 yards and two touchdowns passes to Crockett Gillmore, with a 102.5 passer rating. However, while trying to rally the Ravens back at the end of the game, he was picked off by cornerback Neiko Thorpe with less than 30 seconds left, giving the Raiders a 37-33 upset win. It was the first time in his NFL career that Flacco had started out a season with a 0-2 record.

The Ravens faced the division rival Bengals for their first home game in Week 3, and Flacco once again had a solid showing, completing 32/39 passes for 362 yards and two touchdown passes, both of these going to Steve Smith Sr., with a 92.4 quarterback rating. He also wasn't sacked for the second straight game. However, the Ravens would suffer another close shootout loss, the score being 28-24 this time, giving the Ravens their first ever 0-3 start to a season.

In Week 4, Flacco had a rough performance against the arch-rival Steelers, throwing his fifth interception, losing his first fumble since Week 10 of 2013 and being sacked five times. However, the Ravens still managed to pull out their first win of the season in a 23-20 overtime triumph.

The Ravens traveled back to Baltimore for a Week 5 game against the usually-easy-to-beat division rival Browns. Flacco showed off his versatility as an offensive player, completing 19/35 passes with 210 passing yards and a passing touchdown, with an 81.8 passer rating, while also having two rushing attempts, two rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. It was the first time Flacco had ever rushed for multiple touchdowns in a game during his professional career. However, the Ravens suffered a shocking 33-30 overtime home loss. It was the first time since 2007 that the Ravens lost to the Browns at home, as well as the first time Flacco lost to them at home and the second time he lost to them in his career.

In Week 8, the Ravens faced the San Diego Chargers. Flacco went 25/37 with 319 yards, a touchdown, a rushing score and a 103.3 quarterback rating. He scored both of the Ravens touchdowns. Baltimore won on a last-second Justin Tucker field goal, giving them their first home win of the season and second overall win of 2015.

Coming off a bye week in Week 10, Flacco passed the ball sharply, going 34/45 with 316 yards, three touchdowns and a 98.0 passer rating, while also rushing twice for 17 yards. However, Flacco also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. The Ravens would lose 22-20 to the Jacksonville Jaguars that day, after outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil had a facemask penalty on Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles on the final play of the game, giving Jacksonville the chance to kick a successful game-winning field goal. However, it was determined after the game that the Jaguars had not been set on the line during the play that they got the facemask penalty, and that the Ravens should have won the game after all.

On the final drive of the Ravens' Week 11 game versus the St. Louis Rams, Flacco suffered a torn ACL and MCL, ending his 2015 season.[46] He did, however, stay in the game to complete the drive and put Baltimore into a position to kick the a game-winning field goal, giving the Ravens a 16-13 win at home. After the game, the media began praising Flacco's toughness, as it was shocking to believe he could actually complete a drive with both a torn ACL and MCL.

The Ravens managed a 3–7 record with Flacco at starting quarterback, due to the many injuries surrounding the team. Flacco finished the season with 266 completed passes out of 413 attempts, 2,791 yards, 14 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, an 83.1 passer rating, three rushing touchdowns and five fumbles, losing 2. He also was not voted to the NFL's annual Top 100 Players list for the first time since the series had begun.

2016 Season[edit]

On March 2, 2016 Flacco agreed to a 3-year extension to remain with the team.[47] Flacco and the Ravens were off to a 3-0 start, their best since 2009.

NFL statistics[edit]

NFL Regular Season
Passing[48] Rushing[48] Receiving[48] Fumbles[48]
Season Team Games Games started Comp Att Pct Yds YPA Lg TD Int Rating Att Yds Avg Lg TD Rec Yds Avg Lg TD Fum Lost
2008 Baltimore 16 16 257 428 60.0% 2,971 6.9 70 14 12 80.3 52 180 3.5 38 2 1 43 43.0 43 0 11 2
2009 Baltimore 16 16 315 499 63.1% 3,613 7.2 72 21 12 88.9 35 56 1.6 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 2
2010 Baltimore 16 16 306 489 62.6% 3,622 7.4 67 25 10 93.6 43 84 2.0 14 1 0 0 0 0 0 9 4
2011 Baltimore 16 16 312 542 57.6% 3,613 6.7 74 20 12 80.9 39 88 2.3 33 1 1 -8 -8.0 -8 0 11 6
2012 Baltimore 16 16 317 531 59.7% 3,817 7.2 70 22 10 87.7 32 22 0.7 16 3 0 0 0 0 0 9 4
2013 Baltimore 16 16 362 614 59.0% 3,912 6.4 74 19 22 73.1 27 131 4.9 22 1 0 0 0 0 0 8 2
2014 Baltimore 16 16 344 554 62.1% 3,986 7.2 80 27 12 91.0 39 70 1.8 15 2 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
2015 Baltimore 10 10 266 413 64.4% 2,791 6.8 50 14 12 83.1 13 23 1.8 16 3 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Career 122 122 2,479 4,070 60.7% 28,322 7.0 80 162 102 84.7 280 654 2.3 38 13 2 35 17.5 43 0 67 20
NFL Playoffs
Passing Rushing Receiving Fumbles
Season Team Games Comp Att Pct Yds YPA Lg TD Int Rating Att Yds Avg Lg TD Rec Yds Avg Lg TD Fum Lost
2008 Baltimore 3 33 75 44.0% 437 5.8 48 1 3 50.8 12 5 0.5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 Baltimore 2 24 45 53.3% 223 5.0 27 0 3 39.4 7 7 1.0 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010 Baltimore 2 41 64 64.1% 390 6.1 28 3 1 90.0 9 25 2.8 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2
2011 Baltimore 2 36 63 57.1% 482 7.6 42 4 1 96.1 6 26 4.3 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2012 Baltimore 4 73 126 57.9% 1,140 9.0 70 11 0 117.2 8 16 2.0 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
2014 Baltimore 2 46 74 62.2% 551 7.4 40 6 2 100.7 8 8 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Career 15 253 447 56.6% 3,233 7.2 70 25 10 88.6 50 87 1.74 14 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 3

NFL records[edit]

Ravens franchise records[edit]

  • Most career passing yards – 25,531[57]
  • Most career pass completions – 2,213[57]
  • Most career passing touchdowns – 148[57]
  • Most regular-season wins – 72[57]
  • Most postseason wins – 10[57]
  • Most consecutive pass completions: 21 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars on September 25, 2016 [58]
  • Most passing yards in a playoff game (331 in 2013 vs Denver Broncos)[57]
  • Most 300+ passing-yard games in career by a starting QB – 16[57]
  • Highest completion percentage in a single season – 63.1% (2009) (in 16 starts)[57]
  • Highest career quarterback rating – 84.8[57]
  • Highest single-season quarterback rating — 93.6 (2010)[57]
  • Most times sacked in a career for a starting QB – 241[57]
  • Fewest interceptions in a regular season by starting QB — 10 (2012) (16 starts)[57]
  • Most career fourth-quarter comeback wins – 14[57]
  • Most career game-winning drives – 21[57]
  • Most game-winning drives in a single season – 4 (2010) (tied with Elvis Grbac)[57]

Personal life[edit]

Flacco's brother, John Flacco, leading the United States Corps of Cadets for the "Rocket" during the Stanford v. Army football game

Flacco married his wife, Dana, in a traditional Catholic ceremony on June 25, 2011. He and his wife have three sons: Stephen Vincent (born June 13, 2012),[59][60] Daniel (born September 15, 2013, about an hour before the start of the Ravens' home opener)[61] and Francis Michael (born January 20, 2015) [62] and one daughter: Evelyn Renee (born September 27, 2016).[63]

Flacco signed a three-year contract with Reebok as a rookie in 2008.[64] In 2009–2010, Flacco was a spokesperson for Pizza Hut, which sold a product called "Flacco's Favorites".[65] Flacco has also endorsed Nike[66] and 1st Mariner Bank, as well as Haribo since January 2013.[66] Also in 2013, Flacco signed an endorsement deal with McDonald's to promote their new menu item, the Mighty Wings.[67] Flacco has also teamed up with opendorse to promote a Zynga mobile application called "NFL Showdown: Football Manager" as well as a line of women's apparel for Spirit Football Jersey.[68]

Flacco has embraced the Baltimore area with his charitable organization.[69]

Flacco's brother, Mike Flacco, was selected in the 31st round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles, and was the starting first baseman for the Frederick Keys, who won the 2011 Carolina League championship. He hit for a .250 average, with 5 HRs and 22 RBIs in 50 games with the Keys.[70] The Orioles traded him to the Boston Red Sox on March 15, 2013, and rather than accepting the assignment, Flacco decided to retire from baseball. He has since enrolled at the University of New Haven to play football as a tight end,[71] and declared for the 2014 NFL Draft.[72][needs update] Another brother, John, is a walk-on receiver with the Stanford Cardinal football team, and played against the United States Corps of Cadets at the 2013 Stanford vs. Army football game.[73][74] Joe's younger brother, Tom Flacco, enrolled in 2015 at Western Michigan University, where he will be playing quarterback.[75]

His cousin Dan goes to La Salle.


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External links[edit]