Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco unflappable amid all the attention

Posted: February 06, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - The morning after, someone asked Joe Flacco whether he'd been shocked to be named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVII.

Flacco might be the most unpretentious MVP ever, but at this suggestion, he arched an eyebrow.

"I don't know if I was shocked," said the Baltimore Ravens quarterback, who completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 124.2 passer rating - a higher rating than ever achieved in a Super Bowl by Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Eli or Peyton Manning, Brett Favre or Terry Bradshaw.

"It's just kind of one of those things where they come up to you and tell you pretty quickly. I was shocked that I got a car."

He still seemed pretty shocked when they showed him that car Monday, a red Corvette Stingray that the Chevy representative announced would go from zero to 60 in 4 seconds. For Flacco, with a 7 1/2-month-old son and another child on the way, as he just discovered a few weeks back, a two-seat sports car might not be the top priority right now, but, hey, to the victor go the spoils. There are enough Flacco kin in South Jersey who will want to take a quick spin that your chances of not seeing that Corvette cruising the White Horse Pike on a given day this summer seem slim.

Maybe Joe will drive it at least a little; he said Monday he generally just drives dealer loaners, hasn't ever really owned a car except for an old, white Volvo that got passed down from other family members.

Flacco, 28, from tiny Audubon, N.J., still seemed in a pleasant haze Monday, having slept about 90 minutes sometime in the wee hours of the morning, after the confetti and the interviews and the postgame party where he was thrilled to meet Beyonce and Jay-Z.

"I was exhausted and couldn't wait to put my head down on that pillow, and for some reason, when I was lying there, I couldn't quite fall asleep, and just kind of had my eyes open in disbelief a little bit," Flacco said.

He was asked about adjusting to the demands of celebrity.

"Hey, if you say there's going to be some kind of celebrity with it, I'm cool with that, but I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable with it," Flacco said, as his wife, Dana, looked on. "I kind of like to go about my business. The people in Baltimore have always been great, so it'll be cool to go back there and just kind of see their reaction that our whole team gets when we get back there."

Ravens fans seem to take him on his terms. They lined up to take photos when he showed up at the Café Du Monde Saturday afternoon, but didn't mob him and stood aside and applauded when Flacco moved on.

"I didn't want to just stay pent-up in the hotel, basically, so me and my wife took a cab over there. I really just wanted to try those beignets, or however you say it, which were unbelievable, by the way," Flacco said. "It took us about a half-hour. They were great. They got our order right away and we got out of there and took one of those [bicycle cart taxis] home . . . The preparation was kind of all over at that point, and I just wanted to relax the mind before the game."

He said he didn't know of Audubon's plans to celebrate his feat. But he did know he had David Letterman and Mickey Mouse to meet, before getting any real rest.

"I'm pretty tired right now. No, it hasn't sunk in yet," he said. "It's just a surreal moment, and hopefully in about a week we can wind down and start to enjoy it a little bit."

Asked to pinpoint an important throw, he came up with the same one Ravens coach John Harbaugh mentioned right after the game - a 15-yard fade to Anquan Boldin on third-and-1 with the 49ers rolling in the fourth quarter that helped set up the field goal that proved to be the final margin. What Flacco didn't say, but Harbaugh did, was that Flacco had three options on the play, and that the fade was the toughest and gutsiest.

Monday, Harbaugh was asked when he knew Flacco was the QB the Ravens should take in the 2008 draft.

"It was a dinner that we had at a place called Tark's in Baltimore. We sat down, and for a couple hours, sat and talked. Joe impressed me as a guy that was really determined to be really good. It felt he had a lot to prove," Harbaugh said. "Joe came up the hard way. Joe is not a guy that had everything laid out there perfectly before him in college. He dealt with the adversity [of having to transfer from Pitt to Delaware to get a chance to start].

"I just felt like he was a guy that would do whatever it took to overcome whatever, to be the best that he was going to be. That's proven to be true. He's a guy that, no matter what happens, no matter what criticism he felt in front of him, no matter what disappointments he might have, he steps up and he bounces back and he comes back and goes to work. I think he'll be the same with this success. I think he'll be right back there in OTAs and minicamps. He'll be going to work just like, maybe, we had lost this game. He'll be just as motivated and just as determined. That's one of the things that makes him great."


On Twitter: @LesBowen

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