On Friday the Cleveland Browns announced that newly acquired quarterback and Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco was going to be their starting QB this weekend against the Los Angeles Rams. Flacco spent his first eleven season with the Browns’ division rival, Baltimore Ravens, where he brought B-more to the post-season six times, going 10-5 and winning one Super Bowl in the process. In 2018, the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson to back-up Flacco and eventually take over for the aging QB. That may have happened sooner than expected for both Baltimore and Joe, as he sustained a hip sprain in November of 2018, and Jackson was inserted as the starter. Flacco avoided surgery on his hip, but was designated to the backup role, and in February of 2019 he was traded to the Denver Broncos as the Ravens decided to move forward with Jackson behind center.
In his first season with the Broncos, Flacco was hit and suffered a spinal disc injury, knocking him out for the season after just eight games. Denver placed Joe on the IR and after the season ended, they released him with a “failed physical” designation. In March of 2020, Flacco found a new home, signing a one-year deal with the New York Jets. After one season in a backup role with the Jets, Joe signed one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in March of 2021. One month later the Eagles drafted QB Jalen Hurtz, and Joe was relegated to QB2 once again. Philly would later trade Flacco back to the Jets in October of that year. Joe re-signed with the Jets for the 2022 season, backing up Zach Wilson and Mike White.
Flacco was a free agent until November 20th, when he signed with the Browns, which is somewhat fitting. In the last three seasons with the Jets, Joe played in 12 games. I’m going to use those twelve games as a comparison to how current QBs are performing this season, in Week 13. In those twelve games with the Jets, Flacco had a Passer Rating of 81.5. Today, that would put him right behind Desmond Ridder, and ahead of quarterbacks Garner Minshew, Kenny Pickett and Josh Dobbs. Not to mention it’s better than Cleveland’s other QBs, PJ Walker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Joe threw 14 touchdowns in those 12 games, which would put him right behind Joe Burrow this season, and ahead of Matthew Stafford, Dobbs, and current Ravens’ QB, Lamar Jackson. Flacco’s six interceptions would place him in the same company as Dak Prescott, Brock Purdy and Justin Herbert.
So, why not Joe Flacco? The last time that Joe played on a team that had a #1 ranked defense (like Cleveland does currently) it was 2012; the year he won a Super Bowl in Baltimore. It wasn’t ALL the defense that won the Super Bowl for the Ravens that year either. “January Joe” threw for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns, no interceptions, and had a QBR of 117.2. In fact, during his postseason career, Joe has thrown 25 TDs, ten INTs, and has a Passer Rating of 88.6: seven points better than his regular season PR. Flacco’s ten postseason wins ranks 12th all time right behind Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Aaron Rogers and Patrick Mahomes, who each have 11 postseason wins. Seven of Joe’s postseason wins were on the road, which is an NFL record that he shares with Tom Brady.
Here’s the deal: Cleveland WILL make the playoffs. The Browns are currently 7-4 with their remaining games being at the Rams, Jacksonville at home, Chicago at home, at Houston, the NY Jets at home (which will be awesome for Flacco!), and at Cincinnati. Let’s just say, Cleveland only goes 3-3. At 10-6, they should still make the playoffs. Personally, I think the Browns go 4-2 in their last six games (finishing 2nd in the AFC North behind the Ravens) and make the playoffs easily. What happens next will be up to “January Joe” and potentially the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. What could be even better? Joe leading the Browns into Baltimore…maybe even for the AFC Championship.
As a Baltimore fan, I’m cheering for “my” Ravens to keep the #1 seed in the AFC, win some playoff games, and make it to another Super Bowl. However, I’m also a Joe Flacco fan. I’ve watched him win 99 regular season games, and ten more postseason games. I look forward to watching him win his 100th regular season game this weekend. Joe believes that he still has some left in the tank and that he can win games, and so do I. If, by some chance, the Flacco-led Browns find themselves against the Ravens in the playoffs, I will cheer for both. It will be a win-win situation for this Ravens fan. Can “January Joe” lead the Cleveland Browns to their first Super Bowl Championship in franchise history? Would that solidify Flacco getting into the Hall of Fame? Would Joe finally be considered “Elite”? Now THAT’S a storyline most NFL fans can cheer for. Thanks for the “read”!