Joseph Vincent Flacco, popularly known as Joe Flacco, is an American footballer who currently serves as the quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He has played for the Ravens since 2008. Joe started his college football career at the University of Pittsburgh, and later shifted to the University of Delaware in his second year. He is the highest drafted player in the NFL ever to come from the University of Delaware. His career’s best season had been 2014, when he threw for 3,986 yards, 27 passing touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a 91.0 passer rating. In fact, his performance has improved the Ravens’ pass offense in the last seven seasons. In his NFL career, he has mostly played on run-first offense. In league history, he became the first rookie quarterback to win two road playoff games. Over the years, he bettered his performance, and became the all-time leader in the Ravens’ history for passing yards and passing touchdowns. Named the Super Bowl XLVII's MVP, Flacco signed a six-year contract with the Ravens at a record high sum of $120.6 million in 2013.
Childhood & Early Life
Joe Flacco was born on January 16, 1985, in Audubon, New Jersey, to Karen and Steve Flacco. He is the eldest amongst five siblings and has four brothers—Mike, John, Brian, and Tom.
While at Audubon High School, he played football, baseball, and basketball. During those years, he was the starting quarterback for the Green Wave.
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Joe Flacco attended the University of Pittsburgh, and in 2003, started playing for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team, becoming the backup quarterback in 2004. Despite being in action while playing against the Ohio University, the University of Nebraska, and the University of South Florida, he was not happy with the limited playing time he got behind starter Tyler Palko.
He moved to the University of Delaware and started playing from the 2006 season. While playing for the Fightin' Blue Hens, he threw for 2,783 yards and achieved 18 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. However, Delaware failed to qualify for Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs.
In 2007, he led his team to an 8-3 regular season record, and earned the credit for being one of college football's most accurate passers. Some of his best games were against Division 1-A Navy, Delaware State Hornets, Northern Iowa Panthers, and Southern Illinois Salukis. However, his team lost the championship game to the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Joe Flacco was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2008 NFL Draft, and in July, he signed a five-year contract with a maximum value of around $30 million (with $8.75 million guaranteed).
He was fortunate to become the starting quarterback in his debut 2008 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals as starter Kyle Boller and Troy Smith were injured. Although Flacco completed 15 passes for 129 yards, he did not throw any touchdowns or interceptions. He completed a 38-yard rushing touchdown, which turned into the longest rushing touchdown by a quarterback in Ravens' franchise history.
In the 2009 season’s opening game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Ravens earned the first victory of the season. Flacco threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns—both his career’s highs—leading the Ravens to break the franchise record for most offensive yards in a game.
During the 2010 season opener against the New York Jets, he threw for 248 yards, and completed 52.6% of his passes, leading the Ravens to win the game. In December 2010, the Ravens won against the Cleveland Browns, and Flacco reached his career’s 10,000 passing yards. He ended the season with 3,622 passing yards and 25 passing touchdowns, with a 93.6 passer rating.
The year 2013 was Flacco’s worst season of his career. He threw 22 interceptions and 19 touchdowns, which were the lowest since his rookie year, and his passer rating of 73.1 was his career’s lowest. He was sacked for 48 times, and eventually missed the playoffs for the first time in his career.
In 2014, he made it to NFL’s Top 100 Players list, and got a ranking of 58. But that year, for the first time since 2005, the Ravens lost their home opener against Cincinnati Bengals. However, one of the best games of his career came in Week 6 when he completed 21 of 28 passes for 306 yards, scored five touchdown passes—his career-high—with no interceptions, and had a season-high passer rating of 149.7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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For his excellent performance during the 2014 season, he was given the chance to play at the 2015 Pro Bowl as an alternative, but he could not accept the invitation as his wife was due to give birth to their third child the same month. However, in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015, he ranked 97.
The year 2015 was a bad one for Flacco. It was the first time in his NFL career that he had started out a season with a 0–2 record. The Ravens finished the season with a 3-7 record, and Flacco finished with 266 completed passes, 2,791 yards, 14 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, with 83.1 passer rating. Due to his poor performance, he failed to reach NFL's annual Top 100 Players list.
In 2016, he got a three-year extension from the Ravens. During the season, the Ravens won against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and gained a 3-0 record, which was their best after three games since 2009. However, they missed the playoffs for the second straight season. Flacco made a career-high record of 4,317 passing yards, and completed 436 completions, which was again a career-high and franchise best record.
Unfortunately, in July 2017, he had to stay away from the training camp due to a back injury. Even during the Thursday Night Football against the Miami Dolphins, he was injured and had to leave the game mid-way. Nonetheless, the Ravens won the game. According to critics, he has become an average player since the Super Bowl.
Awards & Achievements
Joe Flacco was the Super Bowl Champion (XLVII) and the Super Bowl MVP (XLVII). At the NFL, he was the first rookie quarterback to win two playoff games.
He was the ECAC Player of the Year (2007) and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year (2008).
In his first three years, he had earned 36 postseason wins, and is the only quarterback to start and win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons.
He is also the first quarterback to hold a passer rating of over 100 in all the four games of a single postseason. He is the fastest quarterback to record five touchdowns in a game as well.
Joe Flacco married Dana on June 25, 2011. They have three sons and a daughter—Stephen Vincent, born in 2012; Daniel, born in 2013; Francis Michael, born in 2015; and daughter Evelyn Renee, born in 2016.
He has endorsed several brands including Nike and Reebok. In 2013, he signed endorsement deals with McDonald's and Haribo. He also promoted a Zynga mobile application called ‘NFL Showdown: Football Manager’.
Three of his brothers are also into different sports. Mike was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 31st round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft, and became the starting first baseman for the Frederick Keys. John played against the United States Corps of Cadets at the 2013 Stanford vs. Army football game. Tom played as a quarterback at the Western Michigan University in 2015.