OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Joe Cool showed a little fire just days before Sunday's playoff game against the Houston Texans.
The Ravens' Joe Flacco, who is the first starting quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons, made the point that he doesn't get as much credit as other quarterbacks for the team's success.
“I’m sure if we win [the Super Bowl], I’ll have nothing to do with why we won, according to you guys," Flacco said Wednesday.
Flacco has received criticism, especially for his play in the postseason. In seven playoff games, he's averaged 150 yards passing per game, throwing four touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The difference with Flacco entering these playoffs is that chip he's carrying around on his shoulder. He's no longer the mild-mannered guy who just takes the criticism.
He lashed back at LaMarr Woodley after the Steelers linebacker said Flacco wouldn't win a Super Bowl in his lifetime. Flacco also publicly complained about the national media's fixation with Tim Tebow.
So, Flacco didn't take kindly Wednesday to being labeled a game manager like Trent Dilfer, who led the Ravens to the 2000 Super Bowl title.
“I don’t care if people look at it that way. I don’t necessarily see it that way," Flacco said. "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? If we try to do that, the criticism that we’d take around here would be ridiculous."
Flacco added, "We could win eight games like that and we could lose one, and you guys would be like, ‘Oh man, what are you guys doing?’ This is what you guys said you wanted, and if you lose one game, oh my God. You guys got to remember that. 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 other difference with Flacco has been the Fu Manchu mustache instead of his usual playoff beard. He is 5-1 since sporting the new facial hair.
"It's not really my personality to have something like this on my face," Flacco said, "but you just have a little fun and see how people take it."