Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff once said, “until you find your franchise quarterback, the search for him consumes you.” Dimitroff found his in 2008 third overall pick Matt Ryan, who took the reigns as a rookie that season and hasn’t looked back.
Another 2008 first round quarterback who’s done the same is Joe Flacco, who the Baltimore Ravens selected at 18th that year following some trade trickery. Flacco will suit up as the starter on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills for his eleventh season in purple and black, but it was on this day ten years ago that he did it for the first time against the Cincinnati Bengals:
Kevin Harlan provides the perfect soundtrack as Flacco rumbles towards his first ever NFL touchdown on a near 40 yard scramble. The rookie managed the game en route to a 17-10 win, getting off to a good start in what ended up being a great season for the team.
This is all even more impressive considering he wasn’t even supposed to be the quarterback that season. A season ending injury to incumbent Kyle Boller and an illness to backup Troy Smith brought a quick ending to the notion that the former Delaware Blue Hen would redshirt in 2008.
This wasn’t the plan at all for Baltimore’s front office who didn’t seem to believe he was ready to play. Former quarterback and current Bleacher Report personality Chris Simms has since told the story that the team worked him out with the intent of possibly throwing him out against the Bengals in the first game.
Regardless, it was Flacco who ended up being the guy that season, and other than the injury shortened 2015 campaign, he’s been QB1 ever since. With Lamar Jackson now in town and looming as his future replacement, Sunday could mark the beginning of the end of his longtime tenure.
As a result enjoy it; it may just be the last week 1 we ever see number 5 in a Ravens uniform. Here’s hoping for another win, and just maybe another 40 yard touchdown run... we can dream, right?