Scoot Blog: What lack of respect for Ravens QB Joe Flacco says about America
by Scoot,posted Jan 29 2013 8:03PM
The media treatment of the two quarterbacks in Super Bowl 47 reveals a lot about America. San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick is a hot new phenomenon in the NFL with sex appeal, an outgoing personality and tattoos! Ravens QB Joe Flacco, who has led the Ravens to last three AFC Championship games, is dull (according to Flacco’s dad), but quietly and precisely wins games. Yet the media give the newcomer, Kaepernick, what might be considered a disproportionate amount of attention.
As I watched what I would describe as a somewhat ‘uncomfortable’ Joe Flacco answering questions from his perch on the podium at Super Bowl Media Day in the Superdome today, I was again reminded that with all the criticism there is of the “bad boys” of sports, we love them!
As the 49ers continued to win and became one of the teams that could make it to the Super Bowl this year, the media focus on their young, unorthodox QB Colin Kaepernick intensified. There was criticism of Kaepernick’s tattoos, which cover both arms. For many, it is inappropriate and detrimental to the game to have a QB with visible tattoos. Younger generations of players continue to define the NFL. There was a time when long hair flowing out of helmets would have been considered heresy in a league where players wore crew cuts and reflected a clean-cut generation. This is not your grandfather’s NFL! “The times they are a changing’” - and so is the NFL.
I have been paying attention Joe Flacco’s performance this season and the obvious lack of media attention. In many ways, Flacco’s personality reminds me of Drew Brees. But Brees is not only one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, but his rise to NFL stardom coincided with a beloved American city’s incredible comeback story after the devastation of Katrina. Locally, and also nationally, fans developed an emotional bond with Brees. I am not directly comparing Flacco to Brees on the field, but Flacco has been one of the top performing QBs in the NFL and has the top passer rating in post-season play this year. Last year, Drew Brees was #1.
I often talk about the reality that news is entertainment. If that’s the case, then sports is certainly entertainment. Bizarre behavior, an edgy look, a flamboyant dance in the end zone are all the things that propel athletes into a brighter media spotlight.
Dennis Rodman, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and in his day, Bears QB Jim McMahon were all examples of the “bad boys” of sports. While all were very talented in the game, it was clearly their persona off the field that made them all media giants. I am not suggesting that we don’t recognize athletes who are gifted, but the difference in the media spotlight on Flacco and Kaepernick at Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans exemplifies America’s infatuation with flamboyant athletes.
Today at Media Day, Joe Flacco said he doesn’t care if people “like me or don’t like me.” If we win the Super Bowl we’ll have the trophy to hold up. We may pay more attention to the bizarre individuals in our society, but we should always pay attention and respect those in sports, and in life, who quietly do their jobs with great precision.