NEW ORLEANS -- With his muscles and speed and tattoos, Colin Kaepernick has plenty of sizzle to go with his steak.
Joe Flacco, meanwhile, has about all the personality of bread pudding. That’s not a slight. He admits it.
“I don’t know if I would say I’m dull, but I’m probably close to it,” the Ravens’ fifth-year quarterback said recently.
“[Even] my dad was quoted as calling me that,” Flacco said. “I think the bottom line is I think he takes it as a compliment because I believe that it probably means I’m going out there and carrying myself in a good manner and not giving anybody a reason to maybe like me or dislike me.”
Making a difference
While Flacco and Kaepernick might come in different packages, they’re similar in a critical way: Each has made the difference for their respective teams this postseason.
Flacco has thrown eight touchdown passes without a pick in the playoffs.
Kaepernick has accounted for 73 percent of his team’s total offense.
But the raw numbers don’t do their impact service.
Rather, focus instead on their “can-you-believe-this?” playoff moments, which have inarguably shown their value.
Kaepernick’s came against the Packers, when he took a designed run 56 yards to the house, running away from not only linemen and linebackers, but defensive backs as well.
The play came out of pistol — think of it as the shotgun, except with the quarterback a step or two closer to the center — and came on a read-option play, key parts of an offense that is revolutionizing the NFL.
“You can call it a gimmick, you can call it a ‘trick-em’ offense, you can call it whatever you want,” Kaepernick said. “If it is putting points on the board it is effective.”
But that breathtaking display of athleticism wasn’t even the most impressive play of the day. Hours earlier, Flacco uncorked a throw will be an NFL Films staple for decades to come.
The Ravens trailed in Denver by a touchdown with less than a minute to play. The ball was on the Baltimore 30. According to ESPN, the Broncos had a 99 percent chance of winning the game. Yet somehow, they lost.
Jacoby Jones got open behind the Denver secondary, and Flacco lofted a perfect throw. The result: a 70-yard touchdown pass that silenced the Mile High crowd. Baltimore went on to win in overtime.
Flacco continued his near-flawless play by dissecting the Patriots in the conference championship game. A pending free agent, he is making himself money by the snap. One report had him looking for a contract paying $20 million a year.
“Hopefully, as long as I’m the general manager in Baltimore, he’s the quarterback in Baltimore,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said last week.
If a deal can’t be reached before free agency, it’s a foregone conclusion that Flacco will get the franchise tag. Either way, he’ll be paid like he has played, at least in the playoffs: as an elite quarterback.
Many around the nation are loathe to anoint him as such. Too inconsistent, they say (and they have a point. Flacco’s quarterback rating has been over 90 just once in his first five seasons).
He doesn’t ‘care’
For Flacco, the subject manages to do something little else can: It generates some actual emotion.
“I don’t really care,” Flacco said. “To be honest with you it’s kind of a crazy question, it’s weird to answer. I’m just going to let my play speak for itself.
“I don’t know if it’s answered it or not, it’s really not my job to concern myself with that,” Flacco said. “You guys can all talk about that. If we come out here and play the game the way we should and the way we can then I don’t care and I don’t think anyone else is going to care. We’re going to be feeling pretty good about ourselves and what we accomplished.”