Dear Joe – Coming Out As a Flacco Fan
As far as football competitions go the National Football League can be considered a damn good soap opera. Whilst hardcore sports fans may balk at such an analogy, the weekly comings, goings, underlying plots and ridiculous comebacks in each round of the NFL would be enough to make your average Summer Bay resident pack up their caravan and move to Yabbie creek for a less dramatic lifestyle.
So too does the NFL resemble a soap in that it is unmistakably populated by ’good’ guys and ‘bad guys’. Whilst players and others involved in the league don’t walk around to accompanying musical scores and less than subtle camera angles indicating their intentions, fans soon enough work out where a player stands in the overall picture. That is, even your occasional observer is able to tell you that Tim Tebow is Good, Mark Sanchez Bad and Rex Ryan Ugly
Of course, with a cast the size of the NFL, their exists a large percentage of individuals who are by and large ignored by the audience, simply because they have yet to reach a standard of play to garner enough interest by the viewer. Amongst these faceless linemen, kickers and clipboard clutching coaching staff sits a franchise quarterback who’s team is in with a real chance to top the AFC this season.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Baltimore Ravens QB#1, Mr Joe Flacco.
Who I would like to announce today as my favourite quarterback.
Like the kid who dresses up as Aquaman for Halloween, choosing Flacco as your quarterback crush is undoubtedly an acquired taste. Sure you’re not going to get teased mercilessly and atomic wedgied like you would if you spoke of your fondness for say, Blaine Gabbert or Carson Palmer, but even still coming out as a Flacco fan will undoubtedly get you many quizzical (if not concerned) looks from friends and family members.
It’s just that Flacco is, well, a little bit different. Always has been.
Most of your superstar NFL quarterbacks have a bio that reads a little something like this;
Born to Mr and Mrs All-American. National pass, punt and kick champion at age seven. Threw several 500+ yard games, prom king and nerd antagonist in high school. College mega star gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated. Priority draft pick. Smugly dominates NFL. Retires to life with Scandinavian supermodel wife and three kids on his Montana ranch to await lame movie cameo roles and inevitable hall of fame induction.
As for Flacco? Well we know he graduated from the mighty university of…Delaware (apparently that’s a real place and not just a punchline), went 18th in the draft and according to the ‘Personal Information’ on Wikipedia has a brother named Mike. Oh, and he occasionally sports a mustache.
Yep…that’s really about it.
Yet, this mystery is part of the appeal to Flacco fans. Just who is this man with the brooding, dark eyebrows and the cannon arm? Unlike your Manning or Brady Demi-Gods, Flacco doesn’t hog franchise limelight, ham it up on late night talk shows or openly berate his team to subdue the whims of some self important WAG. The man just throws.
Further to this Flacco is able to get the job done for his team, week in week out. Sure you could argue that his Ravens have an impressive offensive arsenal to work with, but so too does Philadelphia, Detroit and Dallas — all of whom are only outside chances at the moment of any post season action.
Baltimore on the other hand is sitting pretty atop the AFC North, and with two games against the potentially Roethliberger-less Steelers in the next month, surely they’ll have their kickers working double time for the insatiable playoff appearance.
If the Ravens do go that step further this year to the big show it’s likely that once again the NFL world will reluctantly swing its spotlight on Flacco. And it’s most likely that the questions asked of him will be about his dubious playoff pedigree. About whether someone has yet to sponsor his membership to the quarterback ‘elite’. About the absolute stinker he throws up once or twice every season.
How he answers these questions remains to be seen, but if the footballing planets do align for Flacco this Winter, it’ll be sweet vindication for the NFL’s most underrated quarterback and the small band of Fla-natics.
Even if it means in future, we might have to share him with everyone else.