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Poll: Ravens' fans, would you trade 2012 Super Bowl trophy for a playoff appearance in each of last four seasons?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have missed the playoffs in three out of the last four seasons with a combined record of 31-33 (including playoffs). Yes, if you are a Ravens' fan, you have seen that sentence many times since the Ravens had its playoff hopes dashed on Christmas. Knowing what you know now about the struggles the Ravens have had in the last four seasons, would you as a Ravens' fan trade the Super Bowl 47 trophy in exchange for four straight playoff appearances with zero championships to show for it?

I know, some people (maybe a lot of people) will look at this headline and say it is such a stupid question to ask. However, from the way some Ravens' fans have been acting over the last year or so, many have criticized Joe Flacco's contract and how it has crippled the team's spending (when it really hasn't done that at all). Flacco's cap number from 2013-2015 was the following:

  • 2013 6.8 million
  • 2014 14.8 million
  • 2015 14.5 million
That's not crippling the salary cap at all. 2016 was the first year Flacco's cap number exceeded 20 million dollars (22.5 million to be exact). Some Ravens' fans are having buyer's remorse criticizing the organization for giving Flacco such a big contract in 2013 and wishing he was never signed at all. Some have even gone as far as saying Tyrod Taylor should have been the Ravens starting quarterback since 2013. Criticizing the Ravens for giving Flacco a huge contract in 2013 is hindsight 20/20 at its finest. If this isn't hindsight 20/20, then nothing is.

First of all, at the time when the Ravens won the Super Bowl with Flacco also winning Super Bowl MVP honors, the thought of letting him walk when it looked like he was putting everything together as a franchise QB during that playoff run during the 2012 season would have been ridiculous. No, let me correct that, it would have been flat out stupid.

The same Ravens' fans complaining about Flacco's contract are the same ones who would be whining if the Ravens had let him walk in 2013 and in result the team would miss the postseason four straight seasons which most likely would have happened. Not to mention there would have been questions after questions about what could have been if Flacco stayed.

To let Flacco walk in 2013 would have been bad business practice and some of these Ravens' fans and others on the outside looking in don't consider the human element of letting Flacco walk. You talk about losing a locker room almost immediately after winning a Super Bowl not to mention the reputation the Ravens could/would have received from free agents in terms of loyalty.

The Ravens were already the first team in NFL history to not re-sign its Super Bowl winning QB in the following offseason (Trent Dilfer in 2000). Even though Dilfer wasn't anywhere close to Flacco in terms of production, to let another Super Bowl winning QB leave the organization immediately would have sent the wrong message.

The Ravens spent over a decade trying to find a franchise quarterback before Flacco arrived and to let Flacco leave after the 2012 season would have been asking for a complete overhaul in the Ravens' front office in all likelihood. No, things are not great since the Ravens won its second Super Bowl title, but the right choice was made in keeping Flacco. Besides, it isn't like the NFL Draft over the last four seasons has seen quality depth in terms of starting caliber NFL QB's.

Choosing four straight playoff appearances by the Ravens since 2013 instead of winning a Super Bowl title in 2012 and taking the baggage that comes along with it is pretty dumb in my opinion. For a personal example, I'm a Utah Jazz fan. I watched my favorite players in Karl Malone and John Stockton retire without a championship despite making the playoffs 18 straight times together from 1985-2003.

As a Jazz fan, I would have traded five of those playoff appearances in 18 years by the Jazz in exchange just to beat Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls once in the NBA finals whether it is 1997 or 1998. You either win the championship or you don't and I get the sense that there are some Ravens' fans who don't appreciate how hard it is to win a Super Bowl trophy and they act like it is just another playoff win.

The reality of the situation is, Flacco doesn't get his big contract if the Ravens didn't win it all in 2012 especially if he was the main reason for the team losing. Some fans should be a bit more thankful for the 2012 title even with the struggles over the last four seasons.