Page last updated on Tue Dec 01 16:56:27 EST 2015
Thu, 24 Jan 2013 01:30 AM EST

Underrated Joe Flacco said before the season that he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL, and he backed up his self-confidence by leading the Ravens into the Super Bowl.

The strong-armed Flacco threw 3 touchdown passes through blustery wind in a 2nd-half surge that carried Baltimore to a 28-13 road success over the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC championship.

Flacco has shown excellent timing as the 28-year-old shifted his salary drive into high gear as his first 5-year $12 million contract expires after this season. Baseball betting lines

“I assume everyone thinks they’re a top-5 quarterback,” Flacco told a Baltimore radio station last year. “I mean, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I am top 5, I believe I’m the best.

“I don’t think I’d be particularly successful at my job if I did not feel that way.”

Flacco was at first mocked after making those statements, but has put his self- confidence into action as demonstrated when he explained a change in approach discussed by the Baltimore Ravens during halftime when they trailed the Patriots 13-7.

“We hadn’t gotten much going on offense. Our defense was playing very well, it was still a 6-point game, all we had to do was go down and put the ball in the end zone,” he said.

“We felt like we had to score, had to put pressure on the (defensive backs), put some pressure on the linebackers in coverage. We knew we had to come out here in the 2nd half and make some plays in the passing game with some of our guys.”

“I’ve always trusted in Joe,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh declared about the quarterback taken 18th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. “Joe’s a great quarterback. He’s proved that, and he isn’t just proven that this year, he’s proved it for 5 years.”

When he entered the NFL, Flacco ran a conservative offense for a Ravens team built on a stifling defense. As he matured and the veteran defense aged, he has grown into the leader of an offense now regarded of as the most potent unit on the team.

The quarterback from the unheralded University of Delaware football program may not have meant to be taken literally about his boast of being the best, but his dynamic postseason has forced doubters to reconsider his standing.

Through 3 playoff games this season, he has thrown 8 touchdown passes and no interceptions, outdueling number one overall pick Andrew Luck of the Colts and future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning of the Broncos and the Patriots’ Tom Brady.

During the 2nd round of the playoffs, Flacco heaved a 70-yard touchdown pass in the last minute of regulation against Denver to persuade overtime and set up a Ravens victory.

Flacco has a 8-4 career record in the playoffs, becoming the 1st quarterback to win at least one playoff game in each of his first 5 seasons and moving past Eli Manning into top spot on the NFL list of road playoff wins by a quarterback with 6.

He has not been too shabby in the regular season either, with 54 regular-season wins in his 5 seasons. This season he threw for 22 touchdown and 10 interceptions.

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