This one's for all the Joe Flacco haters out there, the ones who woke up this morning thinking: another NFL Sunday, another chance for no. 5 to screw up.
The haters have been all over talk radio since the Ravens' win over the Jets two weeks ago. Sure, they're a small minority of Ravens fans. But, boy, are they loud.
My buddy Mark Viviano has a theory about sports talk radio. He says 75 percent of the listeners are normal, intelligent sports fans. The other 25 percent are hateful jerks. But it's the hateful jerks who make 90 percent of the calls.
Anyway, going into Sunday's Ravens-Texans game, the Flacco-haters are all lathered up.
Flacco stinks, they say. He looked awful against the Jets. He missed receivers all day, hit just one out of 10 deep passes. No wonder he's 31st in the league in completion percentage. The guy is clueless. And he'll probably stink up the joint today.
To be honest, that kind of criticism doesn't bother me.
Flacco knows he didn't play great against the Jets. The Ravens tried to stretch the field and it didn't work. Besides, the quarterback always gets the blame when an offense isn't clicking. It comes with the job description. It's why they pay him the big bucks.
No, what gets me is when the haters take shots at Flacco's personality, too.
Why can't he be more fiery? Why doesn't he get in guys' faces when the offense screws up? How come he doesn't look more ticked off when he throws a pick?
The short answer, of course, is this: Flacco is Flacco. He's not going to change. He is who he is. If he plays another 10 years, he's going to be the same guy he is now. You look up even-keeled in the dictionary, there's Flacco's picture.
He doesn't get giddy when he has a great game. He doesn't get weepy when he doesn't. He doesn't do fiery or butt-kicking.
Oh, and he doesn't do introspection, either. This is no tortured Hamlet in shoulder-pads, ready to pour out his troubles to anyone who'll listen. Don't look for him to sit down with a shrink and go through a box of Kleenex over that 49.3 completion percentage.
Even if he did, we'd never hear about it. Maybe you know this already, but Flacco isn't real chatty with the media, either.
Here's Flacco on what he did during the bye week: "I hung out here for a little bit. Then I went home for a couple days and just got away."
What, you thought he might go skydiving?
Party with the Kardashians?
Fly to L.A. to shoot a film with T-Sizzle?
This is Joe Flacco, people. Give him a couch and a TV and he's probably thrilled. Throw in a pizza and he thinks he's in heaven.
And now he's married. The guy might never leave the house again.
But other than knowing that Flacco's an unassuming guy, I don't pretend to know what he's really like deep down inside.
People in my business, we watch these athletes play and we interview them in the locker room. And we pretend we really know them. The truth is, we don't.
But Flacco's teammates, the guys who know him best, all say the same thing. They say he's as intense and driven and competitive on a football field as anyone. And they admire his toughness and coolness under fire — and the fact he doesn't show up his teammates when one of them blows a play.
Of course, that's not good enough for the haters.
They want Joe Flacco to be someone else. They want him to be, I don't know, Brett Favre or something. But be careful what you wish for. Look how Favre turned out: a big phony in a lot of ways.
OK, fine, they're already readying Favre's bust in Canton. He was a great quarterback, one of the best of all time. He could be fiery and emotional, sure.
But look what he did with his legacy. Look how he turned his back on his teammates in Green Bay and New York and Minnesota. Look how he rewarded the city of Green Bay and the Packers fans who loved him.
And we won't even get into the creepy photos he did or didn't send to that Jets sideline reporter.
You want to embrace someone like Favre? Make him out to be a big hero? You want that type of quarterback to be the face of your franchise? Go right ahead.
Me, I think unassuming Joe Flacco has done a pretty good job for the Ravens — on and off the field.
I don't know if he'll ever be a great quarterback. No one knows that. But he's taken this team to the playoffs three years in a row. Which means he must be pretty darn good right now.
Even if the haters can't see it.
Listen to Kevin Cowherd Tuesdays at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "Norris and Davis Show."