JOE COOL

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Ray Lewis has gone out a champion. But that’s not the image we’ll be seeing on sportscenter. Joe Flacco has lead his team to a super bowl win. He’s graduated from the quarterback who just couldn’t take his team all the way. The game was an incredible one with the power outage bringing the 49ers back to life, but somehow the Ravens held on.

The Ravens have had a long and winding road to this one. It’s been tough with lots of criticism, injuries and wondering. But now that it’s over, you now have to start asking questions – how did Joe Flacco manage to do this? Just a little while ago, he was that quarterback who simply couldn’t finish. Now he ended up with an MVP trophy. He has become more and more confident, helping his game improve.

I’ll admit, I got the pick wrong. But that is the beauty of sports. It’s unpredictable and you can’t call anything until it happens. There are miracles. The 49ers were a better team all season, and the Ravens simply got hot.

They plowed through the 49ers during the first half, leaving them at 28-6 before the power outage before the 49ers rallied to bring it within 2 points. But Joe Flacco crossed the line from good to great to elite. He stayed cool and collected and took them down the field to put them 5 points up. The end came soon for the Niners.

Congratulations, Joe.

Welcome to the club.

The pregame hype was all about Lewis. But the game was all Flacco.

The pregame hype was all about Lewis. But the game was all Flacco.

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Judgement Day for Flacco and Ryan

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RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK, NEW YORK; APRIL 26th, 2008.

“With the third pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Matt Ryan, from Boston College.”
“With the eighteenth pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Joe Flacco, from The University of Deleware.”

And so began an era. After two failures at the QB position, two fired coaches, it was time.

All of the sudden, the Ravens & Falcons were in the playoffs, one year later. The Ravens were one win away from the Super Bowl, and the Falcons were defeated in the wild card round – a disappointing end, but a promising future. The next year, the Falcons missed the playoffs, but ended with a winning record. The Ravens made the playoffs, and lost in the Divisional Round. In 2010, they both made the playoffs, but they failed to move past the divisional round, another sad end to a promising season. The Ravens came within a missed field goal last year, but the Falcons couldn’t get past the wild-card round.

So now it’s time.

After all of those losses, people have said – “They don’t have playoff experience”, or that they are “Still young – maybe next year”. Well, this is next year.

Ryan finally jumped the Hurdle of getting a playoff win, and the Ravens made a huge upset over the Broncos, but that doesn’t matter anymore. In all honesty, these two games are the second-most important of the season. Here’s the thing though – in some of these wins for Flacco, he was dismal. Other times, he was great. Ryan hasn’t been so good in his playoff games either, except for that last one.

But they need to finally prove they can lead their team to a Super Bowl. The promising season is this season. In all honesty, if they can’t do it this year, I don’t think they can do it at all.

They have their playoff experience, they are at their prime. This game could define an entire career –

They had better not mess it up.