Joe Flacco is coming off one of the most impressive and historic stretches of any quarterback in NFL history.
On the Ravens' run from the end of the regular season to the Super Bowl, Flacco completed 60 percent of his passes (97-for-192), threw 13 touchdowns, no interceptions, and averaged 289.8 passing yards per game. He was named the Super Bowl MVP and then signed the richest contract in NFL history after the season.
With a Super Bowl ring and a big contract now to his name, what can the Ravens expect from Flacco?
"Joe is going to be a great quarterback, we've been saying it from the beginning," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I expect him to be a great quarterback. I expect him to be a winning quarterback."
Owner Steve Bisciotti said after the season that it would be "absurd" to expect Flacco to replicate the playoff run for the rest of his career, and Harbaugh echoed that sentiment.
"To have the kind of run that Joe had from the Giants game through to the Super Bowl, to maintain that for the next year, or three years, or five years, would be the most unbelievable performance ever in the history of football," Harbaugh said. "Could it be done? Well, let's try to make it happen. But he'll have stretches like that. He'll have stretches where he plays like that. And he'll have stretches where he won't quite play like that."
Flacco has been one of the most scrutinized players in the NFL over his five years in the league. He's often a topic of debate as to whether he deserves to be in the "elite" quarterback class with players like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning.
The knock on Flacco is often that he's benefitted from having great players around him, but the way he carried the offense to a Super Bowl victory has put much of that talk to rest.
"People say, 'Well he's had a great defense, or he has a great offensive line, or he has a great running game,'" Harbaugh said. "Well yeah, that's the idea. And the idea of a quarterback is to build off your strengths and minimize your weaknesses as a team."
Flacco is clearly the leader of the Ravens offense, and giving him a record contract was a clear sign that the Ravens will continue building the team around him. Flacco's 63 wins are the most in the NFL since 2008, and the expectation is that he'll continue to put the Ravens in position to compete for championships.
"I think that the fans should expect Joe to be at his best as often as he can be," Harbaugh said. "Joe is going to fight for that."