The Ravens' best sound bites on Wednesday media days are traditionally provided by linebackers Terrell Suggs or Ray Lewis, or running back Ray Rice. All three spoke to a large gathering of reporters today, but it was quarterback Joe Flacco who stole the show with uncharacteristic candor.
What got the normally-reserved quarterback going was a question about the long line of elite quarterbacks who have won Super Bowls in recent years.
"If you look at the teams that won, yeah you can look at the quarterbacks but that’s just because you guys, ESPN, everybody wants to pump them up as being the best quarterback that year. It’s really going to come down to what team is the best," Flacco said. "I’m sure if we win, I’ll have nothing to do with why we won according to you guys. It is what it is. We’re going to do our best to try to win it and it doesn’t really matter what the reason is.”
Flacco was then reminded that quarterback Trent Dilfer helped the Ravens win their only Super Bowl, though it was the team's punishing defense that received much of the credit.
“I don’t care if people look at it that way. I don’t necessarily see it that way," Flacco said. "You guys want everybody to be Aaron Rodgers and be Tom Brady, but you guys do realize, those guys' [teams] don’t run the ball? If we try to do that, the criticism that we’d take around here would be ridiculous. We could win eight games like that and we could lose one and you guys would be like, ‘Oh man, what are you guys doing?’ This is what you guys said you wanted and if you lose one game, oh my God. You guys got to remember that. You guys want an elite quarterback. You have to stop complaining when we go out there and throw the ball 60 times a game.’"
Flacco, who was in rare form four days before the team meets the Houston Texans in an AFC Divisional playoff game, had a smile on his face for most of the interview and his tone never was combatative.
However, his comments were more proof that Flacco does indeed hear the criticism from a portion of the Ravens' fan base and doesn't necessary feel that he gets the necessary appreciation for helping the team get to the playoffs for four consecutive years.
Asked if he felt the criticism would have quieted after his last-second touchdown pass to Torrey Smith beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, Flacco said, "I don’t know. I don’t care. We’ve won a lot of games around here. This is the second year in a row we’ve won 12 games, I could care less. At the end of the day, do you see the criticism sometimes and say, 'What the hell are they talking about? Yeah. But who cares, you know. It all comes down to three games now: win this one, win the next one and win the Super Bowl. What are they going to say? That’s what we got to do, that’s what I got to do. I’m not really thinking about anything else.”