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Jacoby Jones: How the Ravens Real MVP Made Flacco’s Career, and Changed the AFC North Forever

February 21, 2013 by Palmer Sucks

Jacoby Jones: How the Ravens Real MVP Made Flacco’s Career, and Changed the AFC North Forever

Commentary by PalmerSucks

February 18, 2013


In what likely signals the end of Western civilization, Average Joe Flacco is possibly about to become the richest NFL player… of all time!


Never mind that Baltimore fans were calling Flacco a flop after losing to the Batch-led Stillers this season. No, thanks the incredible good fortune of a) winning a Super Bowl and MVP honors in a contract year, and b) being a quarterback, he now has even the financial networks asking “Should Joe Flacco Be the Highest Paid NFL Player?”


Even Merrill Hoge has hopped the huge bandwagon, declaring “Flacco is the best quarterback in football… without question.” I used to respect what Hoge had to say about the game. Now I think he’s taken one hit to the head too many.


The truth is, Flacco has been a good-not-great QB with a decent 87 career QB rating. His 2012 regular-season 86.3 number fits perfectly within his so-so range. In fact, Flacco’s only visited the 90s – the level of what’s considered top-tier -- once, with a 93.6 season back in 2010. Average Joe has been just that – average – despite all the know-it-alls out there now declaring you a moron if you can’t see how “elite” he is.


Unfortunately for the Ravens’ salary cap, Flacco deviated from his regular-season norm with a blazing-hot 117 playoff rating. This included a Montana-like 11 TDs-to-0-INTs ratio.


Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, claims the Ravens will now have to pony up top dollar for Flacco both for past performance and future potential. That of course is false; in fact the Ravens are going to be paying big thanks to this one freak playoff run that happens to have occurred (for Flacco) just at the right time. And it’s this big upcoming contract that will change the face of the division for good.


But now let’s get to the heart of the matter – the situation Baltimore faces going forward.


Below is a list of key games won by the Ravens – a loss in any of them and it’s questionable whether the Ravens make the playoffs, let alone win the Super Bowl:







Oct 14


Flacco goes cold after red-hot 3 TD first half; Jones 108-yard kick return preserves win

Nov 18


Jones punt return saves Flacco from embarrassing Sunday-Night loss to crippled Leftwich

Nov 25

San Diego

Ridiculous Rice conversion of one-yard dump-off into 29-yard 4th-down do-or-die conversion

Jan 12

Denver (Divisional Playoff)

Jones turns underthrown should-have-been-picked Hail Mary heave into last-second game-tying TD

Feb 3

San Francisco (Super Bowl)

Flacco 3 TDs first half, zero in second; Jones kick return again saves win



As you can see, this season Joe Flacco received more bailouts than Goldman Sachs. And the man who provided most of the aid was Jacoby Jones – the true MVP not only of the Super Bowl, but of the Ravens’ entire season.


Flacco will get the big money, but Jones did the big lifting. In the Super Bowl, Jones not only saved the game with the kick return, but also by turning Flacco’s crap underthrown bomb into gold. (I thought the get-up-and-get-in TD in the first half was the game’s biggest play.) It was just as he’d done in Denver, where yet another underthrown Flacco heave became a bizarre walk-in touchdown.


Seriously, how Jones didn’t get voted Super Bowl MVP is beyond me. I understand the QB bias, but they had no trouble giving it to Santonio Holmes in a game where Roethlisberger led the game-winning drive. (Holmes also dropped a pass in the end zone, and was given a second chance to catch the winning ball.) Flacco, on the other hand, led no TD drives the entire second half. To say it simply: no Jones, no Lombardi trophy for the Ravens this season.


Joe Flacco was Super Bowl MVP all right – of the first half. After his three-TD start he accounted for zero more, including a scoreless third quarter. That’s a dominating performance?


But of course, not one of the TV-sports parrots bothered to mention this, busy slobbering as they were over Flacco’s legendary performance. And these guys get paid big money? The “Super-Bowl MVP” was pretty much a spectator in the second half, and, aside from volunteering to come off the sidelines and tackle the punt returner should he break one, did little to decide the game’s outcome. That was done by way of four very questionable red-zone calls on the part of the 49ers offense – which had nothing to do with Flacco.


The 2013 Ravens were unlike any other in the history of championship teams – they relied on three kick-return touchdowns, without which they wouldn’t have won a championship. And the man responsible for them was not named “Joe Flacco.”


The NFL franchise-type QB generally holds a career passer rating well into the 90s. As stated before, Flacco’s average runs considerably lower. But no matter – thanks to his playoff run at just the right time, the Ravens will now be forced to pay franchise-QB money for a second-tier quarterback.


This sets up two scenarios which will affect the division for years:


  1. Blasting the Ravens’ Cap: Paying Flacco the big money affects the team’s ability to re-sign players like Anquan Boldin (another Flacco savior) or the terrific Paul Kruger, the driving force behind the Ravens’ defense this year. Already Boldin is talking about retiring if the Ravens can’t re-up him. A loss of either player closes the gap between Baltimore and the rest of the division.


  1. “Now starting for your Cleveland Browns, it’s Joe Flacco!”: Don’t laugh – the Brownies have a ton of money to spend and a wacky history of spending it. They may just try to lure Flacco with big money and the promise of a deep threat like Mike Wallace. A left-field signing like this could truly upset the North.


Of course, Cleveland doesn’t even have to sign Flacco to make an impact. Should they even make him an offer, it will drive up his value, much to the Ravens’ agony. But here’s where things get really good: by doing little more than waiting around, the Stillers can really stick it to their rivals.


Here’s why: if the Ravens want to keep Flacco, they’ll likely have to apply the exclusive franchise tag to him. They’d love of course to keep things non-exclusive, which would bring his salary down to around $14 mil a year. The exclusive label, on the other hand, brings him to Brees country, about $20 mil.


The franchise rate is calculated by averaging the top-5 salaries at the position. Naturally, the Ravens want to wait as long as possible before using the tag, in case any newly negotiated QB deals with top-5-paid QBs come along and lower the average (provided they get done before the tag deadline).


Of the 5 teams holding such contracts, who’s probably the only one set to do anything? Well by a wild coincidence it’s… the Stillers. The team will likely be looking to restructure Roethlisberger’s deal – but by waiting until after the tag deadline (March 4th) they can ensure the Ravens get stuck with a higher-cap number. (Cue the “mwahahahahaha!” laugh.)


Losing Boldin would be especially rough on Flacco; he’s what makes those crazy jump balls possible. Boldin’s said to have the strongest hands of any WR in football. He’s the perfect possession partner, freeing up the nine-route warriors to do their thing. I thought Arizona made a big mistake letting him go – it’s not just lame quarterbacking that’s brought down Fitzgerald’s numbers since then. (Let me add, for the Flacco crowd, Antrell Rolle was on the radio declaring that the Ravens couldn’t have won anything without Boldin – not Flacco.)


So the first big hit of the 2013 season can be delivered by the Stillers. Hey, why not?


It’s time now for the Stillers to gear up and take advantage of the situation, both off field and on. Calling out underperformers like Woodley is another step in the right direction (whether Ryan Clark likes it or not). The number-one need for defense – in LeBeau’s system – is edge-rush pressure. The team hasn’t had it since Harrison got hurt. Something has to change, and maybe the latest brouhaha is needed.


The Ravens are hardly miles above the Stillers – Baltimore was one Jones punt return from getting swept by Pittsburgh this year. Adding a real rusher in the draft would help too; remember the days when Flacco was getting harassed all game? Those days need to return.


Baltimore showed you could win a championship with Flacco provided you surround him with the best supporting-cast in football. Whether or not Flacco can carry the load, regardless of which receivers come and go (like Brady’s done in New England) remains to be seen. I do know this: it’s not an easy feat to pay a second-tier QB top dollar and put the kinds of players around him he needs to succeed. Perhaps Flacco will go on to show his playoff run was no fluke – at least the Ravens better hope so.


Oh, and one more thing: it would be hilarious if the Ravens had to get rid of Suggs, the man who loves to go around rubbing in Joe Flacco’s success, because of Joe Flacco’s success.


Despite the hype, the fact is this: Joe Flacco is a decent QB who had an up-and-down season, then caught fire in the playoffs. That’s great for the Ravens’ trophy case; we’ll see if that’s such a great thing going forward for them. Especially as they work a deal with a Super-Bowl MVP-winning QB in a contract year.


I know I’ll be enjoying watching every fun-filled moment.



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