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Joe Flacco has been proving himself to be elite since college

Before Joe Flacco as a Super Bowl MVP, he showed off his arm against college football's elite.
Before Joe Flacco as a Super Bowl MVP, he showed off his arm against college football's elite.

Before Joe Flacco as a Super Bowl MVP, he showed off his arm against college football’s elite.

Delaware’s own Joe Flacco said he deserved to be considered among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. After leading the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl championship and being named the game’s most valuable player, any argument against that idea, for now, is rendered moot. To be honest, I now readily admit I view Flacco in a much different light today than I did prior to Flacco’s Super Bowl performance. But should it really be a surprise to see Flacco now entering his name in the mix alongside the top quarterbacks in the NFL today? After all, this is a player who has had to prove himself his entire career, and a player who has thrived on having to do so among other quarterbacks considered to be superior.

We all know Flacco’s story by now, probably. The New Jersey native started his collegiate career at Pittsburgh, where he was unable to get playing time ahead of Tyler Palko. Perhaps this was one of the biggest mistakes, especially in hindsight, of Dave Wannstedt’s tenure in Pittsburgh. Flacco transferred to Delaware and was not given a transfer exception from Pitt, meaning Flacco had to sit out an entire season without a scholarship despite moving from FBS to FCS. Pittsburgh would go on to have three straight bowl-less seasons while Delaware moved Flacco in to the starting job under center and eventually grew in to an FCS title contender. Flacco led the Blue Hens to the national championship game in 2007 but fell short against the powerhouse from Appalachian State, 49-21. This was the season Appalachian State toppled Michigan to start the season. It must have been something about those winged helmet designs.

Unfortunately I did not get a chance to watch a whole lot of Flacco at Delaware, a result of not being able to watch FCS football too closely until the playoffs kick off. This means I am left with the few highlights I can recall of Flacco’s college career, which means a flash back to his performance in the college football all-star skills competition.

I remember most Flacco’s arm strength in the college football all-star skills competition. Flacco flicked a football 74 yards right after tossing one 71 yards with great ease. It sure impressed ESPN’s Todd McShay, who noted Flacco had “the wow factor, if nothing else” with that kind of arm coming from “that small school level.” He beat out Michigan’s Chad Henne, USC’s John David Booty, Hawaii’s Colt Brennan and, of course, Boston College’s Matt Ryan.

Take a look at where those quarterbacks are today. Booty is out of football. Brennan is playing in the Canadian Football League. Henne is a back-up quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Matt Ryan is considered the top young quarterback in the NFL, but now he is chasing another member of his NFL QB Draft Class in Super Bowl rings (and appearances). Flacco has accumulated more road playoff wins than Joe Montana and Ryan continues to search for a signature playoff victory. Perhaps his time will come, but for now Flacco is sitting atop a mountain and deservedly so.

There was also the short segment that featured Flacco being interviewed by former Michigan running back Mike Hart, who asked Flacco about the similarity between helmets worn by Michigan and Delaware. Hart bluntly asked Flacco why Delaware stole the design from Delaware, seemingly unaware of the fact that the design originated at Princeton. Flacco appeared to be more informed on the history of the helmet. What I found somewhat comical during the skills competition was the fact that Flacco had to wear a different helmet for one of the competitions (unfortunately not included in the video below), so as to not confuse the scorers with Michigan’s Henne. Henne was allowed to keep his Michigan winged helmet, but Flacco was asked to wear a standard, white helmet.

2008 NFL Draft QB Class

What other quarterbacks were drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft? Let’s take a look…

  • Matt Ryan, Boston College (Round 1, Pick 3) – Atlanta Falcons
  • Joe Flacco, Delaware (Round 1, Pick 18) – Baltimore Ravens
  • Brian Brohm, Louisville (Round 2, Pick 25) – Green Bay Packers
  • Chad Henne, Michigan (Round 2, Pick 26) – Miami Dolphins
  • Kevin O’Connell, San Diego State (Round 3, Pick 31) – New England Patriots
  • John David Booty, USC (Round 5, Pick 2) – Minnesota Vikings
  • Dennis Dixon, Oregon (Round 5, Pick 21) – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Josh Johnson, San Diego (Round 5, Pick 25) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Erik Ainge, Tennessee (Round 5, Pick 27) – New York Jets
  • Colt Brennan, Hawaii (Round 6, Pick 20) – Washington Redskins
  • Andre’ Woodson, Kentucky (Round 6, Pick 32) – New York Giants
  • Matt Flynn, Louisiana Tech (Round 7, Pick 2) – Green Bay Packers


About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.