Rob Long: Dawning Of A New Day
For years the Baltimore Ravens had been known for their signature hard-nosed defense that, at times, intimidated and reigned terror on their opponents.
As the National Football League has evolved, it seemed that the Ravens and their fanbase were stubborn about following the evolution. In January, 2001, the franchise won it’s first Superbowl and they did it on the backs of that stud defense. That was then… This is now.
The NFL doesn’t want teams like that Ravens team and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team as the faces of the league. There just wasn’t enough “sex appeal” about those teams. Elite quarterbacks are more recognizable with novice fans and people who watch the league through NFL Red Zone Channel.
Turn the page to the modern-day Ravens and you’ll see a team that’s led by it’s quarterback. Yes, they are even as much as fans of the “old school” Ravens try to kick against it, this is Joe Flacco’s team and The Brass proved that by rewarding him the riches contract in league history.
The six year/$120.6 million dollar contract represents so much more than just money. It’s a statement that says, “Now, more than ever, you must own this team from a player’s standpoint.” That’s what Flacco needs to do. He has to play like the highest paid player on the field and do it on a weekly basis.
The expectations are going to be a lot higher now for Flacco. He’s going to receive even more criticism if he doesn’t produce. He’s been paid like an elite quarterback, now he must certainly play like an elite quarterback. The Ravens believe he can do so, that’s why they gave him the contract.