Flacco understands why the Ravens' defense receives the lion's share of credit when the team wins, but the fourth-year quarterback doesn't believe he deserves to be an afterthought, either.
"I'm sure if we win, I'll have nothing to do with why we won, according to you guys," a smirking Flacco said Wednesday, according to The Baltimore Sun. "It is what it is. We're going to do our best to try to win it, and it doesn't really matter what the reason is."
This isn't the first time Flacco has been outspoken this season about perceived disrespect. Back in November, he said he was "baffled" by the media fawning over Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, citing the relatively muted coverage -- in Flacco's opinion -- that accompanied the Ravens' huge AFC North win over the Steelers in Week 9.
Flacco led the Ravens on a 92-yard touchdown drive to steal that Nov. 6 game from their division rivals, the type of clutch performance that turns doubters into believers. But some still perceive the QB as a supporting character a notch or two below the elite at his position.
Flacco said the makeup of his team -- namely the presence of All-Pro running back Ray Rice -- dictates he could never be in the same discussion as the NFL's top passers.
"You guys want everybody to be Aaron Rodgers and be Tom Brady, but you guys do realize, those guys' (teams) don't run the ball?" Flacco asked rhetorically. "If we try to do that, the criticism that we'd take around here would be ridiculous. ... You guys want an elite quarterback. You have to stop complaining when we go out there and throw the ball 60 times a game."
The Sun reported that Flacco was good-natured throughout his candid conversation with the media, but it's clear he'll have something to prove when the Ravens host the Texans in Sunday's divisional playoffs.
Flacco is the only quarterback in NFL history to qualify for the postseason in each of his first four seasons in the league. He can dip into valleys that match his peaks, but veteran linebacker Ray Lewis believes Flacco absolutely is capable of leading Baltimore to its first Super Bowl since the 2000 season.
"There's something about Joe I've liked from Day 1," Lewis said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. "You have to appreciate a young kid who comes out with that much talent, and now you see where his talent is going. Now he's more of a mentor, getting the offense to understand him. You see his composure and how he's settling in to really control this offense. Now where we are, why wouldn't it be Joe to lead us to a Super Bowl?"
Flacco has more doubters than perhaps Lewis realizes. Luckily for the QB, he can use the next month to alter his reputation for good.