The Baltimore Ravens lost the two biggest leaders they have ever had in their organization this year. The retirement of one of, if not the greatest, leaders in NFL history in Ray Lewis and loss of Ed Reed to the Houston Texans in free agency has left fans clamoring with leadership questions. Like it or not this tends to happen when you have a veteran lead ball club that wins it all.
This week at the Ravens Super Bowl Ring Ceremony team owner Steve Biscotti left no doubt as to who is the new leader of this team, even if fans can't quite grasp it yet. This is Joe Flacco's team now and it probably has been for a while. It was just a little hard to see with legends like Lewis and Reed around. When it comes down to it Flacco is really the reason for this teams success over the past few years. There is no way the Ravens almost make the Super Bowl in 2011 and win it in 2012 with anyone other than Joe and with him they have a very bright future.
"You are the leader now, like it or not," Bisciotti said to Flacco during his speech to the organization.
"Not many guys do what you did in five years. Not many did it your way," Bisciotti said. "Not many like the way you do it. But I said at the end-of-the-year press conference after last year's [AFC championship] defeat, that I think the fans of Baltimore will be rewarded by your low-key presence, and it will stand the test of time. Indeed it did, and we all hope it continues to do that."
Flacco himself may already know this but he wouldn't tell you that. Joe is a guy who leads purely by example and that is exactly what he had to do with the Ravens. I'm not sure how it would have worked if he came in day one trying to lead vocally in Lewis' locker room. Having a quiet, stand up guy like Joe come in and lead with his play on the field is just what the doctor ordered for this team.
Flacco also praised Bisciotti, and said that getting referenced in the owner's speech was an honor for him.
"It was pretty cool," Flacco said. "Steve is an awesome dude, a great owner and this is a great organization. You can see how special of a night this is and how over-the-top they went for it. I think that just says a lot about him and obviously I'm honored that he would bring me up."
Joe is the perfect man for the job here in Baltimore and he has finally proven that to the world.