Joe Flacco's Super Bowl Performance Was Among Best in Recent History
There's no disputing Joe Flacco's MVP-winning performance in Super Bowl XLVII was elite.
Pro Football Focus ranked every Super Bowl performance by a quarterback in the PFF era (from 2006 on, in addition to 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2004).
That's 36 quarterback performances, and the former Raven came in at No. 5.
"Flacco had an 86.5 passing grade in his Super Bowl 47 victory," PFF's Anthony Treash wrote. "He stayed with the play better than any of these quarterbacks — on throws where the time-to-throw was longer than 2.6 seconds, Flacco had a 93.7 grade with two big-time throws while completing 11 of 15 attempts for 170 yards and two touchdowns."
Overall, Flacco was 22 of 33 for 287 and three touchdowns with a 124.2 rating in the Ravens' 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. He was named the game's MVP.
The only quarterbacks who graded higher were the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers (XLV), New York Giants' Eli Manning (XLVI), Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles (LII) and Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson (XLVIII).
Flacco's performance was ranked ahead of those by the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Kurt Warner, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger.
Fast forward seven years, and Flacco is still trying to get healthy before he evaluates his next step in Denver. He was placed on injured reserve (neck) after eight games, and after the season ended, Flacco said he was about a month or so away from an MRI that would determine whether he needs surgery.
"I look forward to playing football again at whatever capacity that is," Flacco said, per DenverBroncos.com.
Student Who Live-Chatted With Lamar: 'I Was Shaking'
Imagine you're a high school junior sitting in Algebra II class looking for a way to pass the time for a few minutes before the bell rings to go to your next class. The next thing you know, you're chatting with your all-time favorite athlete on Instagram Live and you're about to become a viral sensation.
Welcome to the world of Caleb Allen, a Georgia student whose Instagram Live conversation with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson Monday was viewed by millions.
"So I was chilling there, right? And I was with my friend. We'd just finished up our math for the day," Allen told The Baltimore Sun's Jonas Shaffer. "We were waiting for the bell to ring to go to the next class. And I'm like, 'New_era8 went live [on Instagram]. Why not? I'm bored.'
"So I click on it. And I'm looking at the chat, and this little thing goes up: 'Request to join.' And why not? So I click it. And a little circle comes up. It says, 'New_era8 has accepted.' And I'm like, 'Cole. Cole. Cole.' I'm freaking out to my friend. And Lamar just comes up, and I'm like, 'Holy [crud],' right?'"
One day after watching Jackson lead the AFC to victory in the Pro Bowl and win the Offensive MVP award, Allen was watching Jackson tell him to get his grades up.
To say the experience was surreal would be an understatement.
"I was just kind of freaking out, so of course there were things I wish I would've said," said Allen, a diehard Ravens fan who became an admirer of Jackson during the quarterback's days at Louisville. "But I was just freaking out so much, I was shaking. The conversation about the grades, you know, it went there. It was whatever. I wouldn't have imagined that'd be the conversation. I don't know. It was cool, though. He's an amazing guy. It was great."
That evening, Allen began to realize how much the video had spread.
"I was telling my friends, of course, and one of my best friends was in the class, so first my little [social] circle knew, because I texted them all, that I just talked to my favorite player, and I never shut up about him," Allen said. "But I was at work later that night at Little Caesars, and I was chilling, and my family and my grandma texted me. And I was like, 'Wait a second. This is a thing.'"
Allen said the next thing on his bucket list is to meet Jackson. You never know, it could happen – as long as Allen keeps his grades up, that is.
More Awards for Lamar Jackson, John Harbaugh
Before the NFL hands out its official individual awards Saturday night in Miami, NFL.com's panel of 24 analysts made their selections. Jackson was the runaway choice for MVP and John Harbaugh won Coach of the Year.
Jackson received 22 votes, with the two other votes going to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
"With his arm and legs, Jackson electrified the NFL every time he stepped on the field, and while others had MVP-worthy moments or stints, Jackson impressed from Week 1 all the way through his final game in Week 16," Willie McGinest wrote.
Jackson nearly won Offensive Player of the Year as well. He received eight votes, one less than New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, who set an NFL single-season record for receptions with 149.
Harbaugh received 12 votes for Coach of the Year to beat out the 49ers' Kyle Shanahan (eight votes).
"Harbaugh's willingness to radically change the offense and commit to a full-time option approach was not only bold, but incredibly successful, as apparent by the Ravens' NFL-best 14-2 record," Charley Casserly wrote.
The actual award winners will be announced during the NFL Honors live broadcast on FOX at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
Eagles Beat Ravens to Marquise Brown in 2019 Re-Draft
The Athletic's NFL beat writers re-did the 2019 draft, and the Ravens again selected a wide receiver in the first round, only this time it wasn't Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.
Brown went to the Ravens at No. 25 in the real draft, but in The Athletic's do-over, he was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 22. So with Brown off the board, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec chose DK Metcalf for the Ravens.
"A year later, Brown still looks like the right call, but he's not available in this format. So DK Metcalf would be a nice consolation prize," Zrebiec wrote. "The Ravens need a fast and physical receiver who could make contested catches and get behind the defense. Metcalf proved he can do both as a rookie in Seattle, and the pre-draft concerns about his game were overblown."
In the real draft, Metcalf went to the Seahawks with the last pick in the second round.
On the Eagles' hypothetical selection of Brown, Bo Wulf wrote: "[Brown] gives them a natural replacement for DeSean Jackson and a long-term space creator for Carson Wentz's offense." Philadelphia's original pick was left tackle Andre Dillard.
As highlighted in Late for Work last week, Brown also was unavailable at No. 25 in ESPN NFL Nation reporters' 2019 re-draft. In that scenario, Brown was drafted by the Tennessee Titans at No. 19, so the Ravens selected wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who in April went to the Washington Redskins in the third round.
After Brown tied a franchise rookie record with seven receiving touchdowns despite missing two games and never being 100 percent as he recovered from foot surgery, expectations for him in 2020 are high.
"Marquise Brown found his way into the NFL record books, sped past defensive backs and proved to be the team's best weapon in its passing game in the playoffs," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote. "The most impressive part: Brown provided only a glimpse of what he could do. … The expectation is Brown will become faster and more impactful in his second season."
Brown's quarterback agrees with that assessment.
"Even though he was hurt with his foot, he still felt like he should be Julio [Jones] already," Jackson said at the Pro Bowl. "I told him, 'Bro, you're good. Your foot's not already 100 and you're making plays.' This year, he's going to be dangerous."