Fresh from a championship which should eliminate all doubts about Joe Flacco, the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII has been awarded with the biggest contract in National Football League history. On Monday the Baltimore Ravens quarterback signed a six-year, $120.6-million deal which guarantees (based on various reports) anywhere from $54 million to $62 million.
It took some guts for Flacco to not sign an extension last summer which would have paid him between $14 million and $16 million per season. “I thought I was worth more,” Flacco said, and it turns out he’s right. He has taken his fair share of flack, especially when he declared last April that in his mind, he’s the best quarterback in the NFL. All he did was go out and prove it — if winning the game’s top prize and being named Super Bowl MVP is anything to go by.
Now that he’s shown he’s one of the most righteous dudes in the league, he can show he’s the richest dude, too — at least until Green Bay Packers pivot Aaron Rodgers does the expected and sign an even bigger deal. Flacco won’t mind if that happens.
“It’s not really about the money,” he said at a news conference. “It’s about the respect.”
That’s a lot of respect being shown by Baltimore. In a sport where little is assured, the Ravens have also put their money where their mouth is with a guarantee in the tens of millions (even if much of it will be paid in a $29-million signing bonus). It’s a reflection not only of what he’s done this season, but also where he’s been: Flacco has taken Baltimore to the playoffs every season he’s been there and is now the organization’s all-time leading passer. They also expect much from him in the future, but every elite player faces that pressure.
Despite his success, though, this view of Flacco is still not being reflected universally. At least one pundit is making the claim that being the highest-paid player in the league doesn’t make Flacco the best. If that’s the case, then you have to ask: “What DOES make someone the best?”
Flacco did not claim to be the best of all time or the best in the regular season, as any fantasy football league manager can confirm. What makes Flacco the best is this: he said it, went out and did it, and now is reaping the rewards for it. If that’s not the best — especially in America, which seems to value wealth as much as, if not more than, any other yardstick of success — then what is?
As Joe Namath (and others) have said: “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” Now another guy named Joe has done exactly that.