Success can change a person, but it probably won't change Joe Flacco.
Only a few hours after the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII and the quarterback was named the game's MVP, Flacco appeared at a news conference where he was presented the keys to a new 2014 Corvette Stingray.
Flacco seemed bashful when he posed for pictures, almost embarrassed.
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"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. "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."
That's vintage Joe, and that's what is remarkable and charming about him.
Flacco won't care about the hype or the praise. He has never sweated the criticism. About an hour before the news conference, Flacco was seen in the parking lot with his child and wife pushing a stroller.
That's why he has persevered. Flash is not part of his game.
At some time during his five years in Baltimore, we've all criticized Flacco. "He didn't show enough emotion." "He didn't look at enough photos on the sidelines." "He doesn't have pocket awareness."
And we were all right.
But while the complaints kept coming, Flacco kept working and getting better. Once the Ravens replaced offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with Jim Caldwell, everything seemed to come together for him.
He was unflappable during the postseason, completing 73 of 126 passes for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. The passing yards are third most by any quarterback in a postseason and the touchdown passes tied Joe Montana (1989) and Kurt Warner (2008) for the most by any player in a single postseason.
Super Bowl night ended in redemption for the much-maligned Flacco, who completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
Sunday night would have been the perfect time for Flacco to take a shot at Cameron. But nope. Not a word.
"I don't think we ever lost faith that this was where we were going to be," Flacco said. "This has been a long journey, and I don't think it would be quite as enjoyable as it would be if we hadn't gone through all this stuff that we've been through in the last couple years, this year. So, I think we kept the faith all along, and this is where we envisioned ourselves and I think that's why we're here."
The Ravens will soon enter negotiations with Flacco about a long-term contract, and that can be a scary prospect if you have a player with a poor attitude, work ethic issues or a criminal history.
Some players also get lazy once they sign the big contract, but that's not Flacco.
"I think the same Joe you have seen work hard during the previous offseasons will be the same Joe that shows up for offseason workouts and attends the first minicamp," said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. "He'll be the same Joe with the same work ethic because success or failure doesn't change him one way or the other."
He is simply Joe, a well-grounded kid from Audubon, N.J., who married his high school sweetheart. Is he boring?
No. He's just Joe.
"That's what it's all about. I haven't seen my son in a couple days, so it was just cool to see him," Flacco said about meeting with his family Monday morning. "It's great to enjoy this with the family. Without those guys, this wouldn't mean near as much as it does."