These voters are ELITE.
That is an ugly team.
"Our offseason obviously hasn't gone exactly as we might have hoped," said general manager Ozzie Newsome, while refusing to comment on the Flacco rumors. "So we have to see what options are out there for us, as we need 53 players to fill a roster and the last time I checked we had six."
The Ravens knew they would lose linebacker Ray Lewis to retirement, but since he danced off the scene the team has also lost its starting center, its best receiver, two additional starting linebackers and a starting safety with more players expected to jump ship in the coming days.
Bears general manager Phil Emery says he received a call from Newsome this morning offering Flacco, "an elite quarterback," in exchange for "all of your defensive players, Brandon Marshall and your top three picks in this year's draft."
News Joe Flacco Asks for Entire Contract to be Given in Signing Bonus: "In case I, you know, start sucking again"
"Joe is concerned, and I would say understandably so, that he is going to return to being the quarterback he was for the past five years," said Joe Linta, Flacco's agent. "He feels like he stepped in something and that it for some reason stuck to his shoe for a whole month. And now if, or possibly when, he comes out and starts being an average quarterback again, they'll cut him long before he gets anything close to $120 million."
Friends and teammates of Flacco's say he has been stressed out over the contract negotiations, saying things like "I don't know how long I can keep this up," and "I feel like it all might have just been a big fluke," and "honestly, I was just throwing the ball up in the air as far as I could and people were catching it. My own team. Next thing I knew we had a Super Bowl trophy. I think I might be screwed now."
"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."
"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."
Straight Outta Jersey.
"I don't mean to sound boastful, but facts are facts," said Flacco. "Peyton Manning is going to look across the sidelines and see Joe Flacco standing there and realize he's probably going to have to play the best game of his life, and even that might not be enough to win. I imagine it will be very intimidating for him."
Flacco, the 12th highest rated passer in the league this year, who completed less than 60-percent of his passes for the second year in a row, said before the season that he sees himself as the best quarterback in the league. That belief has only been strengthened.
"Who has accomplished what I have in this league?" said Flacco. "Sure, sure. The critics are always going to mention guys who have gotten to Super Bowls or won Super Bowl or put up big stats, or guys who have gotten to a Super Bowl and won Super Bowls and put up big stats, but those are all lazy, conventional ways to measure quarterbacks. People who know football, who know greatness, like me and my parents and coach Harbaugh, recognize how good I really am."
Manning said that playing Flacco will indeed present some unique challenges.