Broncos’ Super Bowl Odds Made Worse By Joe Flacco Trade

My, things have changed for NFL quarterback Joe Flacco since 2012 when he was the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII, and none for the better.

According to a tweet by Adam Schefter on Wednesday, the Baltimore Ravens now have an “agreement in principle” to trade Flacco to the Denver Broncos, and the news of the trade has had a surprising effect on the Broncos’ odds for getting to Super Bowl LIV next season:

They’re much worse now.

Here’s a closer look at how Joe Flacco went from being Baltimore’s main man to being Denver’s bane, man.

Joe Flacco who?

His full name is Joseph Vincent Flacco, he’s 34-years old, 6-foot-6 and weighs 245 pounds.

Flacco was born in Audubon, New Jersey, played high school football, baseball and basketball, and as a three-star recruit in 2003 went to the University of Pittsburgh, where he was redshirted his freshman year and then made a backup his sophomore season.

His Junior year, Flacco transferred to the University of Delaware and by his senior year took his Fightin’ Blue Hens to the FCS championship game.

In 2008, Flacco was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 18th overall pick in the NFL draft, making him the highest drafted player ever from the University of Delaware.

How good is Flacco?

Flacco has the distinction of being the most successful quarterback in Baltimore Ravens franchise history.

In his career, Flacco has completed 3,499-of-5,670 for 38,245 yards and 212 touchdowns with 136 interceptions for an all-time passer rating of 84.1.

Under Flacco, the Ravens had six playoff seasons (2008, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12 and ’14) and a Super Bowl Title (2012) and for a decade gave Baltimore the dependable franchise quarterback they had been lacking until then, having started 15 quarterbacks in the franchise’s first 12 seasons.

Why was Flacco Super Bowl XLVII MVP?

Without Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens could never have beaten the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII, despite a defense packed with Hall-of-Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

During that Big Game, Flacco completed 22-of-33 for 287 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 124.2.

Despite the partial power outage in the Superdome that suspended play for 34 minutes (that’s why it’s been dubbed ‘The Blackout Bowl’), Flacco kept his team ahead the whole game and became the fourth quarterback in a row to be named Super Bowl MVP.

When did Baltimore start doubting Flacco?

Some blame Flacco’s lack of supporting characters, other blame injuries and moments of inexplicably bad play, but for three straight seasons from 2015 thru 2017 the Ravens struggled to just break even and never saw the postseason and that’s when doubt in Flacco began to fester.

At one point in 2017, Flacco ranked 26th or worse in six of seven major passing categories, including 32nd in yards per attempt (5.3) and 30th in total QBR (30.0).

From the start of the 2013 season, only Eli Manning threw more interceptions than Flacco, whose passer rating was ranked 36th in a league of 32 teams.

When did Baltimore give up on Flacco?

In 2018, Flacco injured his hip during a Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and started just 9 games all season, throwing for just 2,465 yards and 12 touchdowns with 6 interceptions.

Once Flacco was injured, rookie Lamar Jackson took over as the Ravens starting quarterback and went 6-1, essentially forcing head coach John Harbaugh to bench Flacco after returning from his injury.

The Ravens went to the playoffs with Jackson under center but lost to the Los Angeles Chargers 17-23 in the Wild Card Round.

During that game, many fans were heard shouting for Flacco, but when he never got a chance it was obvious that a changing of the guards had taken place in Baltimore.

How has Flacco handled competing with Lamar Jackson?

Like the champ he is, classy the entire way, doing things like complimenting Jackson to the media despite having just been demoted and refusing to speculate whether he could have made a difference had he replaced Jackson when he struggled.

“Joe Cool,” as Flacco is known because of his unshakably calm demeanor, is a true professional and the multi-millionaire never seemed to take the team’s shift towards Jackson personally.

At one point, when Jackson was playing horribly (with a zero passer rating) and with the crowd chanting for Flacco, Joe Cool said this to the rookie:

“Listen, finish strong. At some point you’re going to be proud of how you finished no matter what happens. This is all part of it. You know, dealing with the situation right now. It’s still a game, so go out there and do what you can to get us back in it. Handle yourself the way you would like to see yourself handle the situation.”

Is Lamar Jackson better than Flacco?

It’s obviously way too early to tell.

Jackson, the rookie, threw three interceptions in two games, his inaccuracy an issue he also faced in college, but he’s also shown flashes of brilliance and because he has legs, he is unpredictable in the backfield.

Flacco is far less mobile and therefore far more predictable than Jackson, so NFL defenses have adjusted to him and as a result the Ravens under his leadership these last couple of seasons haven’t seemed like a playoff-bound team.

What will the Ravens get for Flacco?

According to Schefter, the trade to Denver cannot be processed until the new NFL league year begins next month on Wednesday, March 13.

In the meantime, teams are prohibited from commenting on the deal or the terms surrounding it, although that hasn’t prevented some football experts from speculating.

Some suspect Flacco will be worth a midround pick in the upcoming NFL draft (fourth round?), which is a great deal for the Ravens, who might have had to simply release Flacco if they hadn’t found a willing trade partner in Denver.

Don’t the Broncos already have a quarterback?

Yes, Case Keenum, who didn’t live up to his hype in 2018 but who still has $7 million of his $18 million base salary guaranteed in addition to $3 million of his prorated signing bonus.

In other words, good luck trading him.

Now with Flacco on their roster, the Broncos will have $28.5 million on its 2019 salary cap, and given the somewhat advanced age of these two players (Flacco is 31, Keenum is 30), Denver will still have to consider drafting a young quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft. 

Will Flacco start in Denver?

It looks that way, especially given that the Broncos are reportedly already shopping Keenum around.

The only way Keenum could stay is if he took a pay cut (not likely), but if Denver releases him they’ll have to pay him $7 million in cash for the 2019 season, since that money was guaranteed in his contract.

Flacco will have his first chance in a decade to start for a different NFL team than the Ravens, but whether that will lead to familiar success or similar frustrations remains to be seen, a gamble Denver’s general manager John Elway was apparently willing to take after his team’s disappointing 6-10, AFC West 3rd place 2018 season.

How has the Flacco trade affected Broncos’ Super Bowl odds?

According to this Tweet from OddsShark, there has been some significant movement on the Super Bowl 54 odds since yesterday’s Joe Flacco trade to Denver.

The Baltimore Ravens’ chances of playing in the Big Game next season has increased as a result, moving from +3000 to +2800.

Unfortunately for the Denver Broncos, though, adding Flacco to their mix lowered their odds of appearing in the Super Bowl from +10000 all the way to +12500.

Flacco’s trade had no effect on the Bronco’s Super Bowl odds in Vegas, which stayed at 60-1 despite the news.

Could be a bad sign for the Broncos, or it could be just the kind of motivation Joe Cool has been needing for the last few seasons.

A risky bet either way.