Ravens QB Flacco winning respect with Super Bowl berth

Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:43pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Underrated Joe Flacco said before the season that he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL, and he backed up his self-confidence by leading the Baltimore Ravens into the Super Bowl.

The strong-armed Flacco threw three touchdown passes through blustery wind in a second-half surge that carried Baltimore to a 28-13 road victory over the New England Patriots in Sunday's AFC championship.

Flacco has shown impeccable timing as the 28-year-old shifted his salary drive into high gear as his initial five-year $12 million deal expires after this season.

"I assume everybody thinks they're a top-five quarterback," Flacco told a Baltimore radio station last year. "I mean, I think I'm the best. I don't think I'm top five, I think I'm the best.

"I don't think I'd be very successful at my job if I didn't feel that way."

Flacco was initially mocked after making those statements, but has put his self-confidence into action as demonstrated when he explained a change in approach discussed by the Ravens during halftime when they trailed the Pats 13-7.

"We hadn't gotten much going on offense. Our defense was playing really well, it was still a six-point game, all we had to do was go down and put the ball in the end zone," he said.

"We felt like we had to score, had to put pressure on the (defensive backs), put pressure on the linebackers in coverage. We knew we had to come out here in the second half and make some plays in the passing game with some of our guys."   Continued...

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco looks to pass against the New England Patriots during the NFL AFC Championship football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)