It's been over a year since the lead conductor of the Joe Flacco hate train, Skip Bayless, left ESPN’s “First Take,” but it appears that his former co-host and replacement have similar thoughts on the embattled quarterback’s shot at winning another championship.
On Friday’s edition of the show, designated blowhard Stephen A. Smith made his opinions on John Harbaugh’s recent comments known, stating that without the leadership of former Ravens Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, that the team would be unable to stay motivated enough to be competive in the AFC. His co-host, Max Kellerman, echoed the fairly grim prognostication, offering a comparison of Flacco to New York Giants’ passer Eli Manning in that he can't elevate the already limited talent around him.
All of these points make a certain degree of sense, but have been retread to the point that they are lazy, and fairly easy to be made. The “leadership” comments are especially grating, as it it obvious that the loss of personality that occurred after 2012 wasn't good for the franchise, but in practicality will never actually keep it from winning another Super Bowl.
Kellerman’s comparison between Flacco and Manning makes sense, but to state that the team will never be the same simply because they don’t have the requisite playmakers right now is short sighted. There's no telling what could happen between now and when Flacco retires, including the addition of a Ray Rice or Anquan Boldin caliber player.
The pessimism surrounding this team right now is fairly warranted, but as guest host Will Cain stated, it won't take a colossal effort to stay competitive in a currently watered down AFC. Furthermore, it's going to take lot more than some bizarre diet or sleeping habits to truly convince me that Tom Brady will be around for another five years, and once he is gone, the door is truly wide open.
Here’s to hoping that “First Take” will yet again be wrong, and Flacco and the Ravens will bring another championship back to Charm City.