Owner to Flacco: 'You're the leader now'
June, 10, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco received his Super Bowl ring on Friday. He also got some added responsibility.
"You are the leader now, like it or not," owner Steve Bisciotti said, via the team's website, in his speech at the Ravens' ring ceremony.
This isn't exactly a newsflash. The Ravens lost some strong leaders in Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin, in addition to one of the greatest leaders in NFL history in Ray Lewis. Bisciotti just gave Flacco a $120.6 million contract, which makes the Super Bowl MVP the new face of the organization.
Flacco, though, isn't Ray Lewis. He's not interested in being Ray Lewis. Flacco won't be gathering teammates in the huddle before games to give a passionate speech. That will be Terrell Suggs' job. He's not going to be the vocal leader on offense. Ray Rice will likely take that role.
Flacco will lead like he's always led. Through example and through his confident play. The Ravens don't win the Super Bowl four months ago without Flacco assuming a leadership role. After the San Francisco 49ers had pulled within two points, Flacco called an audible for a pass play with less than eight minutes to play that was beyond risky. Flacco then threw a beautiful back-shoulder pass to Boldin, which set up a much-needed field goal.
Emotional rants often leads to more face time in national television. It's the type of take-charge attitude that Flacco showed in that critical situation that leads to championships.
"Not many guys do what you did in five years. Not many did it your way," Bisciotti said. "Not many like the way you do it. But I said at the end-of-the-year press conference after last year's (AFC Championship Game) defeat, that I think the fans of Baltimore will be rewarded by your low-key presence, and it will stand the test of time. Indeed it did, and we all hope it continues to do that."