Joe Flacco: All-Around Humble Guy, and Super Bowl MVP

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Just some quick thoughts on Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco‘s impending contract extension. From a die-hard, hardcore, purple blood dripping Ravens fan.

Let’s face it, he’s worth it. We’re definitely going to pay the man, and pay him top dollar. Even if he is a terrible human being, who doesn’t give money to charities, womanizes all the time, and was addicted to weed, heroin, crack, and alcohol, we’d still end up paying him in the weeks ahead. Big time.

Luckily he’s not any of those things. Surprisingly, in the search for the perfect poster boy for the new (and improved) NFL, one with strong family values and morals, Joe Flacco is exactly what the NFL and Baltimore needs at the moment. Here’s why.

1. He’s a family man who has never gotten in any type of womanizing scandal, loves his wife, his daughter, and the one that his wife is pregnant with. The happily married couple announced the coming of their second child only hours after a thrilling win in Super Bowl XLVII (WOOHOO!!!). The worst thing that’s said of him, for the most part, is that he can sometimes be extremely boring.

He has this certain caveman-esque aura that can have you imagining him driving his family to the grocery store in a vehicle made of rock, and powered by their quickly churning feet. Although this is bad for infamy or notoriety, this is good for garnering trust from football-watching families across America.

2. His stunningly good work on the football field. He may not throw for 50 touchdowns and 5000 yards a season, or anything even close, and there are times when Ravens faithful everywhere just scream for him to stop looking like a confused ogre behind a quickly deteriorating pocket. That’s not completely his fault. Actually it’s usually Michael Oher’s fault (Blind Side My Ass). But other statistics, not advanced statistics or true QBR or any other fancy stathead crap, say he’s better than anyone else in the game over the past 5 seasons. Such as regular season wins, regular season losses, and postseason wins. It’s really that simple.

Like many other people in America currently, I don’t really give a flying dog turd about all the hours of computing that go into making some of the more ridiculous statistics found in ESPN the Mag, or Sports Illustrated, NFL.com, etc. If I can’t add it up on my fingers and toes, or at the very worst with a bunch of pencil scribbles on my bar napkin, it doesn’t really make much sense to me. What I know is that Joe Cool 2.0 has 9 playoff wins in his first 5 seasons and averages over 10 regular season wins a year. He’s never NOT made the playoffs like some other “elite” QB’s out there.

The definition of an Elite quarterback is ambiguous at best. Falcon’s QB Matt Ryan has great statistics and plenty of wins, averaging 11 wins per season. His 11-win rookie campaign helped turn the page for a city still reeling from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting scandal. Now all he needs is some playoff wins, beyond the single miraculous comeback win against Seattle.

Flacco, on the other hand, has won at least one playoff game for every year he’s played. This year he won 4, including 3 on the road. He finished with 11 passing touchdowns to 0 interceptions during the playoffs. I’m pretty sure no other QB, including Joe Montana, Steve Young, John Elway, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning. His career statistics, regular + postseason, are as follows: 20,308 passing yards, 130 total TD, 64 INT, 509 rushing yards, and 21 fumbles lost. 2-1 TD to INT ratio, check.   Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl MVP, check. 4000+ yards avg. per season, check.

Did I mention he’s never missed a start? 93 of 93 games.

He wasn’t a 1st-overall draft pick, or even a top-10 pick. He somehow someway got himself drafted 18th-overall, even though he wasn’t even a D-I starter! That’s a story for another day, but basically he couldn’t get the starting gig at Pittsburgh, so he decided after much consideration to go to D-I FCS Delaware, just up the road from Baltimore. He had to fight and scratch his way into the NFL, where his tall, solid build and laser-rocket arm, combined with Troy Smith’s sudden illness, made him a starter in week 1. In his rookie year. The rest is history.

3. He’s the best quarterback in Ravens history, by a long shot. Not including his Super Bowl victory, or his string of consecutive seasons with a playoff appearance/playoff win, Flacco just exudes the type of confidence and quiet leadership needed to pilot a AFC North team to victory. I want you to carefully think about Baltimore’s long turbulent history with quarterbacks.

1996 – Vinny Testaverde(16)

1997 – Vinny Testaverde(13)/Eric Zeier(3)

1998 – Jim Harbaugh (Yes, that Jim Harbaugh)(12)/Eric Zeier(4)

1999 – Tony Banks(10)/Stoney Case(4)/Scott Mitchell(2)

2000 – Tony Banks(8)/Trent Dilfer(8)

2001 – Elvis Grbac(14)/Randall Cunningham(2)

2002 – Jeff Blake(10)/Chris Redman(6)

2003 – Kyle Boller(9)/Anthony Wright(7)

2004 – Kyle Boller (16)

2005 – Kyle Boller(9)/Anthony Wright(7)

2006 – Steve McNair(RIP)(16)

2007 – Kyle Boller(8)/Steve McNair(6)/Troy Smith(2)

2008 to 2012 – Joe Flacco (16)

Summary: in the 12 years before drafting Joe Flacco, the Ravens started 15 different QBs. A single QB started the entire season only 3 times. Flacco has started and FINISHED 5 entire seasons by himself, including every postseason game. I don’t think 18-20 million per year is too much to ask, do you?

4. Humble and soft-spoken, Flacco does everything asked of him without a complaint. He’s the first one in, and the last one out (as expected). He takes less credit and more blame than he’s due, while usually saying all the right things when dealing with press conferences or public appearances. Can you manage the game without F-ing things up for the defense? Sure. Can you win the game on the strength of your arm? Absolutely.

5. Joe Flacco is the FUTURE of Baltimore professional football. There’s a 99% chance  Ray Lewis is retiring. That’s been the heart and soul of this team since the day he got drafted. Except for one almost forgotten season, the defensive captain has always been there, making sure everyone’s prepared and ready to play on game day. Now we prepare for life without Ray Lewis and probably numerous others.

Ozzie Newsome, the genius General Manager of the Ravens, has already publicly stated he won’t restructure many contracts, pinning all his hopes on another Super Bowl next season while basically sacrificing 2014.

That means we’re probably gonna lose our other defensive captain Ed Reed as a salary cap casualty. Keep in mind that’s another hall of fame-type player who will no longer be with the Ravens. Pro-Bowl fullback Vonta Leach could be next. WR Anquan Boldin, TE Dennis Pitta, DE Paul Kruger, all starting players who will be free agency decisions this offseason. Oh, C Matt Birk is retiring too, supposedly, but he’s said that before.

Hopefully we don’t lose ALL these players. I just don’t have much hope in a repeat if we can’t at least salvage a few of these cap casualties. Regardless of whether we do or don’t, it’s going to take top-5 QB money to keep Flacco around Charm City, and we’d be incredibly stupid not to pay him.

Let’s just say I hope there will be some great players available at the end of each round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

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Andy Roddick is BACK in the ’09 Wimbledon Finals

Do you have any idea how long I have been waiting for Andy Roddick to make it to the Wimbledon Finals?

Do you have any idea how many times he has disappointed me? Probably not I suppose but just try to look at it from my point of view…

My infatuation with Andy Roddick began back in my high-school days, way back when Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus-Rex were roaming the Earth. I had been playing tennis, both for pleasure and in competition, since the 3rd grade. I guess it has at least a little to do with the fact that I was born Asian, we just happen to love the game of tennis.

At least in America we do.

For some reason, just like Soccer, Cricket and Rugby, Tennis is a sport that’s a huge deal for just about every other country besides the United States. The Russians absolutely SWEAR by tennis, especially their women, which can be seen in such famous players as Martina Navratilova, Anna Kournikova and  Maria Sharapova. I only mentioned the latter two because they are smoking hot and their influence extends beyond just the sport they play. As for Martina, well, she’s just one of the best women to have ever played the game, hand’s down.

The majority of Asia, Europe and even the Middle East/Africa play tennis at a high level as well, tennis games are a big deal throughout the year in these countries, rather then just when the grand-slam tournaments are on.

In America, sure there are a lot of players, especially in high-school or at rich, uppity country clubs, but for the most part America has not consistently ranked very high at the professional level…with only a few exceptions. The major difference is that when you look at the top 25 players in the world, both men and women, over the past couple decades it seems to have been primarily comprised of Russian and Eastern European names.

So basically, since a very young age, I had very few American role-models to look up too in terms of Tennis.I can basically count all of them on one hand and I’m talking both sexes combined.

The Williams sisters, who I believe are monstrous, brutal and perhaps the perfect specimens from which elite tennis playing females should be cloned. Have you seen their sheer muscle definition or the power in their serves? This duo of destruction has rampaged through the professional tennis-scene for over a decade now.

John McEnroe, who probably wouldn’t be a role-model for most other people but because of my own short fuse and natural god-given talent for tennis, was the first professional tennis player I ever heard of. He’s also one of the most evil people on the planet in my opinion and as far as I’m concerned, a great man.

Andre Agassi, with or without hair, had the most will-power and heart I have ever seen in tennis, at any playing level. He won sets and tournaments that he probably had no right to win, against players in their prime much younger and stronger then him. Throughout the ’90s and even past the turn of the century, Agassi proved that wisdom and heart will always be a match for strength and speed. Oh yeah, he was also married to one of the most beautiful white women I have ever seen…Brooke Shields.

Well, when she was younger at least. Now she had all that plastic surgery and her head is bigger and her features all blunt and blocky…Blechkkk.

Pete Sampras, classic and distinguished throughout his career, he foiled my other favorite player, Andre Agassi, on numerous occasions. Until Roger Federer, the Swiss tennis player currently ranked number one, overtakes him, Sampras is the holder of the record for most majors won in men’s singles with 14. It’s only coincidental that this article is being written at the same time that Federer is attempting to win his 15th major…Against Andy Roddick.

Fnally there’s Andy Roddick. Lean, muscular, American as can be and the owner of the most powerful first serve ever to be clocked in Tennis, at around 155mph. He’s not quite as old as my other favorite American players, nor has he won as many tournaments. He’s currently ranked number six on the ATP list and is the highest ranked American player(yay!). In the past, he has been ranked number one in the world.

The reasons I have always rooted for the sometimes-underdog are pretty simple. He plays fast, aggressive and has a punishing serve. He was born and raised in the heartland of America (Omaha, Nebraska) so basically he bleeds red, white and blue. He is known as the “other A-Rod” and unlike a lot of other pro athletes, he doesn’t splurge and go out to bars and clubs excessively. Also, he’s married to the pretty ridiculous Sports Illustrated model, Brooklyn Decker.

Even though he has made it to 27 career finals matches, he is still often considered an underdog for one unfair and obvious reason: He has a career head-to-head record of 2-18 when facing Roger Federer. Now personally, I don’t think that’s so bad in and of itself. Federer is not a typical professional Tennis player. He is pretty much a lock to make it into the Tennis Hall of Fame and arguably THE BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER OF ALL TIME. For Roddick to have even been ranked in the top 3, during a time-period that includes both Raphael Nadal AND Federer is remarkable.

Luckily, this year’s edition of Wimbledon did not feature Nadal- the Spanish defending champion made a surprising withdraw due to a case of tendonitis in his knee-leaving the playing field at the All England Club a little easier then it typically would have been. Early this morning, #2 Roger Federer defeated #24 Tommy Haas and #6 Andy Roddick defeated #3  Andy Murray in the semifinals.

So I guess what it comes down to is the Twenty First showdown between Roddick and Federer that is set to take place over the next couple days. This is the third time they will battle in the finals on the lush grass of Centre Court. Andy is better coached, better versed, stronger and more versatile than he has been in years…hopefully that and a good bit of luck will help swing things his way this time. Federer will always remain a dangerous opponent but this time I believe, I must believe, that Roddick has the confidence and stamina necessary to keep the sets close, jump the net and neutralize and respond to Federer’s potent offense.

Mikey, Wong_83@hotmail.com