Flacco gives Delaware 2nd Super Bowl QB
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Maybe Delaware is the new Quarterback U.
When Joe Flacco takes the field with the Ravens against San Francisco, he'll be the second former Blue Hens quarterback to start a Super Bowl. Rich Gannon was the first with Oakland 10 years ago.
That's more than powerhouses USC, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida combined. It's one more than Miami, Michigan, Tennessee, Penn State, Florida State, Syracuse, Nebraska and Pitt.
Stanford, UCLA, BYU, Maryland and Washington State also have two. Only Notre Dame, Alabama, Purdue and California have three.
Quite an impressive feat for a second-tier football college in the second-smallest state in the U.S.
It's a good thing Flacco didn't turn to baseball.
The story goes like this: After his junior season at Delaware, Flacco went to then-coach K.C. Keeler and told him he'd like to pitch for the Blue Hens' baseball team in the spring. Keeler and other coaches persuaded him to concentrate on football.
Over the years, the context of that conversation has been reported different ways. Flacco set the record straight this week.
“K.C. misrepresents that,” Flacco said. “I just wanted to play baseball because I liked baseball. I never was giving up on football.”
Flacco had an outstanding senior year and led Delaware to the FCS championship game. He wowed Baltimore's scouting department in a long workout before the draft and was selected by the Ravens with the No. 18 overall pick in 2008.
Since then, Flacco has done things no other quarterback has accomplished during the Super Bowl era.
Flacco is the first quarterback to lead his team to a playoff victory in each of his first five seasons. His six postseason wins on the road rank first, and he leads the league with 62 victories since 2008.
“I'm really happy for him, and as a former Blue Hen, I'm really proud,” said Gannon, the NFL MVP in 2002 when he led the Raiders to the Super Bowl, a loss to Tampa Bay.
In three playoff games this season, he's thrown eight TD passes and no interceptions. His biggest achievement, though, is beating Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the road in consecutive games to help the Ravens win their second AFC championship.
Flacco, 28, grew up in South Jersey and starred at Audubon High School. He went to Pitt at first, but transferred to Delaware after redshirting his freshman year and playing in just three games in 2004. Flacco didn't get a transfer exception from then-Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt so he had to pay his way to Delaware.