Happy Tuesday, Ravens Nation! I hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day, celebrating in whatever way you pleased! Hopefully the internet hoaxes and such didn't keep you guys up at all last night! Let's answer some questions, and then you all can get back to work or school, since I know you surely need to!
Q1: Is Joe Flacco elite?
A simple question that has been asked around social media all year long. A question that ESPN analysts, NFL analysts, and the average journalists have debated for months. Is Joe Flacco elite?
There are many people that say Flacco isn't even close, but there are also many people that say he's already there. What do I think? I think he's one step away. Joe Flacco proved that he can play football in last year's postseason. Here are just a few reasons why I think Flacco is VERY close to elite.
- He has made the playoffs AND won a playoff game in all 5 of his NFL seasons.
- He tied a record set by Joe Montana with 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions last postseason.
- He has made it to three AFC Championships.
- He has won a Super Bowl.
- He has been a Super Bowl MVP.
- He has just as many playoff wins as Peyton Manning. (9)
- He has 7 less postseason wins than Tom Brady. (16)
- He became the highest paid player in NFL history after Super Bowl XLVII.
- Outplayed the "elite" Brady AND Manning in 2012 postseason.
- Purple is the color of the curtains in the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem, The Raven.
- Purple symbolizes royalty and power.
- The league had it chosen for them.
- Ravens' wings are black, and slightly purple, thus wanting to make the Ravens colors purple and black, just like an actual Raven.
- Ray Lewis, LB (Played 17 seasons, all with Ravens) --- Ray Lewis is one of, if not the best, linebackers of all-time. The 17-year veteran finally retired in 2013 after winning his second Super Bowl with the Ravens. (XXXV & XLVII) The linebacker will always have a special place in Ravens' fans heart, as he was known as "The Original Raven," since he played since 1996, the Ravens first year in the NFL.
- Ed Reed, S (Played 11 seasons, all with Ravens -- still active, playing for Texans) --- Ed Reed is another Raven that everyone has grown to love so dearly. Reed played 11 seasons with the Ravens, and is still kickin' it in the NFL, unfortunately with the Houston Texans. Ed Reed is known as one of the greatest safeties of all-time, the greatest in Ravens history.
- Jonathan Ogden, OT (Played 12 seasons, all with Ravens) --- Jonathan Ogden, one of the best offensive linemen ever, is one whom all Ravens fans know and love. Ogden was elected into the Hall-of-Fame in 2013, during the very same week that his former team was playing in the Super Bowl. Made the Pro-Bowl 11 times out of his 12 seasons, one of the greatest possible accomplishments.
- Matt Stover, K (Played 19 seasons, 12 with Ravens) --- It may seem weird that a kicker is on this list, but to most Ravens fans, it makes sense. Stover kicked with the Ravens for 12 seasons, becoming one of the greatest kickers in the history of the NFL. Stover retired as the third most accurate kicker ever, and the fourth leading scorer in NFL history. Stover was inducted into the Ravens Ring-of-Honor during a game vs. the Bengals on November 20th, 2011.
- Jamal Lewis, RB (Played 9 seasons, 6 with Ravens) --- Jamal Lewis may not be recognized as one of the bests ever, but he sure is one of the best RB's in Ravens franchise history. He is most known for the 2003 season, where he rushed for 2,066 yards, third most all-time. Lewis was inducted into the Ravens Ring-of-Honor on September 27, 2012, a game against the Cleveland Browns. (I, personally, was at that game! It was my first ever Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium!)
- Peter Boulware, LB (Played 9 seasons, all with Ravens) --- Peter Boulware leads the Ravens franchise in sacks with 70, as he also is one of the greatest LB's to ever play in Baltimore. Boulware is overlooked most of the time, but his fantastic play on the QB earns him a spot on this list. Boulware was inducted into the Ravens Ring-of-Honor in 2006.
- O.J. Brigance, LB (Played 7 seasons in NFL, 1 with Ravens) --- O.J. Brigance may have not been with the Ravens long, but he always will be a part of the organization. Brigance was diagnosed with ALS in 2007, a very fatal disease. Brigance is one of the largest forms of motivation for the Ravens, as he is always on the sidelines. Brigance was a part of the presentation of the AFC Championship trophy, as well as the Lombardi trophy in 2013. Brigance is the only player to win both a Grey Cup (CFL) & a Super Bowl. (NFL) Talking and thinking about Brigance brings tears to many Ravens fans eyes, but it is good to know that he is still fighting and going strong. We love you, O.J.!
- Michael McCrary, DE (Played 10 seasons, 6 with Ravens) --- McCrary isn't mentioned a lot, but he was a large contributor to the Ravens defense when it was racking up league highs and becoming the toughest defense in the NFL. McCrary is mainly known for his ability to sack the quarterback, as he is also known for all of the community work he did for the city of Baltimore while he was a member of the Ravens. McCrary was inducted into the Ravens Ring-of-Honor in 2004.
- Art Modell, Owner (Owned Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens) --- The question never asked for the greatest Raven PLAYERS. Art Modell is the reason the Baltimore Ravens are here today. Modell decided to move the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and re-name them to the Baltimore Ravens. Cleveland Browns fans hate to hear the name, but Ravens fans can't hear it enough. Unfortunately, Modell passed away in 2012. The Ravens had a patch that they wore on their jerseys for Art. After his death, every team in the NFL had a moment of silence on the following Sunday, to remember the great man that was. (All teams, except the Cleveland Browns, whom were told not to hold a moment of silence for Art by Modell's family.) Art Modell was inducted into the Ravens Ring-of-Honor in 2003.
- Derrick Mason, WR (Played 15 seasons, 6 with Ravens) --- Derrick Mason is the Ravens all-time leader in receiving yards (5,777) & receptions. (471) Mason also holds other Ravens receiving records. Derrick Mason was a large member of the Baltimore Ravens, and one of the most memorable. Unfortunately, Mason was released in 2011, only to play one more season in the NFL. On June 11, 2012, Derrick Mason signed a 1-day contract with the Ravens. He said that he wanted to "retire a Raven."
- Haloti Ngata
- Jacoby Jones
- Vonta Leach
- Terrell Suggs
- Marshal Yanda