The day after the Super Bowl it seems like everyone will be reviewing the commercials and deciding which one was best. The sports channels will review every detail from the game and the players who made the big plays. The news will focus on the weird black out at the Super Dome. However, the best lesson to be learned from the Super Bowl is in the story behind the story of Joe Flacco.
There will be a lot of emphasis put on Joe Flacco’s performance in the Super Bowl but let’s look at Joe’s history for the real lesson. Coming out of high school in New Jersey, Joe was a three star recruit and was rated the 39th best high school quarterback in the country. Where are the other thirty-eight quarterbacks today and where is Joe Flacco?
Being a three star recruit is certainly not shabby but those kids do not get the attention of the four and five star recruits. Those guys are the rock stars. In last year’s Super Bowl, somebody did a review of each player participating and came up with only a couple of players who were four or five star recruits out of high school. So, only a couple of four and five star recruits were now playing in the Super Bowl, which is the biggest game at the highest level. The rest of the players were one, two, three or even no star recruits. The bottom line is this: A whole lot of people will spend a whole lot of time judging you and they will often be wrong. Joe Flacco did not listen to people judging him as a three star recruit and the 39th best vs. being a four or five star recruit. Joe Flacco persevered and used the one judgment that mattered in the end, his own.
Joe Flacco was offered and accepted a scholarship to play football at Pitt. His freshman year he was redshirted and therefore did not play. The next year he saw limited playing time and was beat out by another quarterback by the name of Tyler Palko. Tyler Palko wound up with a good but not great college career at Pitt and today is a back up quarterback in the NFL that hardly anyone knows. Joe Flacco was once again judged as being inferior and as disappointing as that had to be, he once again persevered.
Joe Flacco decided to transfer to Delaware to play football. Delaware is not exactly a hot bed of football. You don’t see Delaware playing on TV and you do not hear about them on ESPN. Delaware is in the College Football Sub Championship Series. What that really means is that they are not one of the big time programs in a big time conference. Joe Flacco was relegated to a lower level once again. Once again, Joe Flacco persevered.
Joe set many records at Delaware and had an outstanding football career. At the NFL combine for the 2008 draft where the top college football players are put through numerous physical and mental drills and tests, Joe Flacco had an extremely impressive performance. The Baltimore Ravens drafted Joe Flacco in the first round. Joe was the 18th player taken and was the second quarterback taken in the draft. Joe Flacco’s star had risen but he was still judged as second best. Joe Flacco once again persevered.
In his first year with the Ravens, Joe was third on the depth chart behind two other quarterbacks. Although a first round draft choice, Joe was once again being judged and was considered third best option. By chance, the starting quarterback went down with an injury and the back up quarterback came down with an illness. This opportunity left Joe as the only option and elevated him to a starting position. Joe Flacco once again had persevered.
In six seasons Joe Flacco has set many records and is the only quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs in each of six seasons. Along the way, Joe set records for playoff wins for a rookie and numerous other distinctions. However, throughout those years there was a large contingent of fans and media who said, Joe just wasn’t good enough. They said Baltimore would not win a Super Bowl with Joe Flacco. It was said by many that Joe Flacco was good but not good enough and he just didn’t have what it took for Baltimore to get over the hump and win the big game. Each year, Joe Flacco took a lot of heat and was still being judged as not quite good enough.
Joe Flacco is now a Super Bowl winner and the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII. On Joe’s journey, he has been constantly judged, often maligned and usually was declared not quite good enough most of the time. The bottom line is that all of those so-called experts were wrong and only one expert was right. That expert was the only expert qualified to make the final judgment and that was Joe Flacco. Joe Flacco persevered and refused to quit. I can imagine if Joe Flacco were being asked right now, that he would say to borrow a line from a Rolling Stones song, that he had “Moments of doubt and pain.”
The next time you are being judged, under appreciated or the next time you are a little down on yourself, remember Joe Flacco. The story behind the story of Joe Flacco is by far the best story and lesson of Super Bowl XVII.
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