"You always have to look to improve and you can't make decisions based on loyalty and emotion. This is a business," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is quoted in a report. "As long as contract negotiations with Elvis Grbac go as planned, Super Bowl XLVII will be Joe Flacco's last game as the starting quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens."
Newsome said he wished Flacco well and appreciated his service to the team, but the GM also stated he "shared the near-universal opinion in football that the quarterback position with Joe at the controls has long held us back, this blip over the last three games notwithstanding."
Grbac has quarterbacked the Ravens before, taking over for Trent Dilfer after the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV. The 42 year-old, whose career bests in single-season yardage, touchdown passes and passer rating best the career highs of Flacco, says he has unfinished business in Baltimore.
"It's time that a quarterback comes in here and provides leadership, a go-to guy, a vertical passing game," he said. "This is a great team. I can make it better."
"We've always dreamed of coaching in a Super Bowl," said Kevin, 11, older brother of Jeff, age nine. "We always pretend coach in the backyard, going through game scenarios and calling timeouts. It's so much fun."
Jeff says he believes the brothers' dream will one day come true.
"My mom says that dreams even ones that people call lame or depressing or weird can come true if you really believe and work hard," the boy said. "She told me that right after I tried out for head coach of my 8-to-10 year-old football team."
"They were the first boys to ever try out for coach," said the boys' mother, Cheryl. "I mean, obviously, right? Because it's weird. But I asked the coach if there was any way he could use them as assistants, and he eventually agreed."
The two boys, who are believed to be the only people to ever ask for EA Sports' "NFL Head Coach" game for Christmas, now stand on the sidelines holding clipboards and markers while their peers play.
"What kind of weirdo dreams of being a coach one day?" said the team's head coach, Chuck Riley. "I wanted to be a quarterback when I was their age. And a star quarterback, too, not the kind that Jim Harbaugh was. To be honest, Kip and John or whatever those kids' names are creep the hell out of me. But I let them help out with the team because I don't want to get sued for discriminating against disabled kids. I assume they're disabled, right?"
1. Joe Flacco sucks.
Stop trying to convince yourself that he's good. He's not. Deep-down Ravens fans know it, too. They've seen him constantly overthrow receivers and fumble late in games for five years. Five years. The same people who are telling you he's ELITE now wanted him thrown out of town six weeks ago. And for good reason, too: because Joe Flacco sucks. Three good games in a row aided by a complete Denver collapse in the secondary doesn't change that. All it means is that his next game, the Super Bowl, is going to be a dramatic regression to the mean. (That's fancy talk for 147 yards passing and four turnovers.) Not a single person in America (outside of Joe Flacco) will be surprised when WHEN this happens.
2. John Harbaugh sucks.
This guy has never garnered a ton of accolades for his strategy or game management. Or any accolades, actually. That's why every Baltimore season since his arrival has ended with him walking off the field with a dumbass confused look on his face. He does a fine job when it comes to motivating today's modern moron athlete with stupid cliches and claims of disrespect and no one believing in them, but anyone can do that. Jim Harbaugh was the better athlete. Jim Harbaugh is the better coach. There's no debating this. The Ravens enter the Super Bowl with the crap Harbaugh brother. Too bad.
3. Ray Lewis sucks.
And he has for a while. "But he has so many tackles in the playoffs!" The tackle stat for linebackers is a joke. Remember when Lewis used to stuff ball carriers at the line of scrimmage? You do? Wow. You have a very long memory. Because based on watching games during the Obama administration, Lewis' "tackles" now come from getting pushed backwards onto a running back six yards down the field. What a warrior! But now his slow ass is going to try to chase down Colin Kaepernick? Excuse me while I coat myself in deer antler spray in hopes it will give me enough strength to stifle my laughter.
Sports media: asleep at the wheel on steroids since 1990.
Picture Maryland: The Naive State
They're really going to be upset when it breaks that Cal Ripken, Jr. took roids.
"It's a crisis of faith," said Lord. "You put all your faith in Ray Lewis only to get let down and humiliated like this. I honestly tend to be a little skeptical and cynical about humans. I mean, not one hasn't sinned so far. But I thought Ray Lewis was different. Guess I was wrong and that's the first time I was ever wrong, which as you can probably imagine, is also disappointing."
The Lord says he now regrets all of the times He defended Lewis.
"We've had a lot of debates in the Three-In-One about Ray," said Lord. "They always say that Ray puts on the holy thing to help his image and cover up his guilt over his role in that double murder. They say he has never given a full accounting of what happened that night and why he fled the scene covered in blood and why he destroyed the clothing he was wearing. They say a great man and great leader wouldn't have six kids by four different women. They say that instead of being humble as We instruct, he craves the spotlight. But I always insisted Ray was legit. That he had found the path. Now this. Done in by deer antlers, of all things. I knew We never should have created deer. They look stupid. What's the point of the antlers?"
"Their support of me has never wavered dating all the way back to two weeks ago when we beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos," said Flacco. "And the win over Tom Brady and the Patriots made it back-to-back weeks of not being seen as the only thing preventing this team from winning a Super Bowl. I've never felt so loved. It feels great."
Flacco says he is confident that as long as he doesn't go out and "really suck it up" in the Super Bowl, Ravens fans "will continue to support me unconditionally."
"Granted, I've never played well this many games in a row in my life, so the wheels are likely to come off at any moment," said Flacco. "Still, though. And, heck, even if I do play well and we still happen to lose, I'll probably be blamed for the loss. But the opportunity is there for me to not forever be seen as the weak link."
"Ray didn't make the Pro Bowl team. He wasn't on the roster," said AFC head coach John Fox. "But am I going to tell Ray Lewis he can't play? He saw all those NBC national TV cameras out there and couldn't be stopped."
Lewis quickly made his presence known, shoving national anthem singer Brian McKnight to the ground and doing a tearful dance with the American flag draped over his shoulders. He then shouted down head coaches John Fox and Mike McCarthy to give a pregame speech to both the AFC and NFC teams. Next he paced around the midfield logo for 20 minutes, pounding his chest and yelling "WOOOOOOO!" as the crowd politely clapped, many eventually leaving.
Finally, unable to remove Lewis from the field when he noticed a camera hovering over the field, referees started the game, players running full-speed past the linebacker for the opening kickoff as he continued his performance at midfield.
The Ravens legend finally wrapped the midfield portion of his routine late in the first quarter and ran off the field to stand by NBC sideline reporter Doug Flutie.
"I'm just glad to be here to be a leader for these men," Lewis said.
"Ummm we're not on camera right now," said Flutie. "I I didn't even ask to interview you."
"I'm crying, man," Lewis said, dumping a cup of water on his face. "Look at these tears. People will want to see this."