A lot of people were wrong about the 2013 Super Bowl winners.
Not many people, including myself, put much stock in Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens when the playoffs began. That’s true even after they defeated Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks to reach New Orleans.
That was, by the way, an immensely impressive feat. Baltimore ran the gauntlet in order to compete for the championship, earning its place among the best to have graced the gridiron.
Sure, Baltimore and Flacco garnered some respect for their dramatic postseason improvement. But until they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy and left the Superdome as champions it was hard to really believe in the Ravens.
After the team’s goal-line stand halted the San Francisco 49ers in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLVII, it didn’t fully sink in until the next morning. It was hard to come to the realization of what they had just accomplished.
For themselves it was probably impossible to grasp, especially because internally they didn’t see themselves as underdogs—as many on the outside looking in did.
Sit back for a second and think about the magnitude of what Flacco and the Ravens just accomplished. En route to the NFL championship Baltimore eliminated not one, not two, but three elite NFL teams.
Two future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks, a promising rookie No. 1-overall draft pick and perhaps the future of the sport in Colin Kaeperick were among the casualties as the Ravens carved their place in NFL history.
While a changing of the guard may certainly be on the horizon as the read-option grows in popularity and is adopted around the league, there is currently no substitute for a strong-armed quarterback who takes chances and makes plays down the field.
Flacco was incredible in the playoffs, leading his team to four straight wins while throwing 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Even more impressive was his third-down passing in the Super Bowl. He completed seven of 10 passes in that situation for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
In the process Flacco and the Ravens proved, without a shadow of doubt, that they belonged in discussions as the best in the league.