NEW ORLEANS — — Joe Flacco spent much of the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVII answering questions about his even-keel personality.
The Ravens quarterback may slide into the background on a team with such outspoken personalities as Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, but on Sunday, Flacco's play spoke volumes.
Flacco completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns to be selected the Most Valuable Player of the 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome.
Flacco ended this postseason run as the only quarterback to ever pass for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in the postseason without an interception. He also ended Sunday's game sharing an NFL record with Joe Montana (1989) and Kurt Warner (2008) with 11 touchdown passes in a single postseason.
"I don't think it's going to settle in for a while," Flacco said. "We don't make anything easy. It was a hard-fought game on both sides. I think we gave the country a pretty good game to watch. Not to our liking, necessarily, but that's the way it goes sometimes and that's the way we do things."
Flacco was consistent in his production in these playoffs, leading the Ravens to victories against the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and the 49ers. The results were impressive for Flacco, who struggled at times during the regular season and couldn't find consistency.
The offense was in such turmoil that Ravens coach John Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after a 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins on Dec. 9. Quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell was promoted to offensive coordinator, and with each game, Flacco seemed to find a more consistent rhythm.
The coordinator switch, along with better protection from the Ravens' offensive line, seemed to be just enough for Flacco to emerge in the postseason a stronger, more confident passer.
In the no-huddle to start the Super Bowl, Flacco led the Ravens 51 yards on their first possession, capping the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead with 10:36 left in the first quarter.
In the first half, Flacco showed his arm strength, running in one direction and throwing across his body for a completion. He scrambled out of the grasp of 49ers defenders to avoid sacks.
"It's well-deserved," Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta said. "He's taken a lot of criticism over his career for whatever reason, but we've always believed in him. We've known the kind of player that he is. He's showed up on the biggest stage and performed. It's unbelievable. He deserves everything."
The Ravens have had their share of close calls in the playoffs the past few seasons and ended up short of the Super Bowl each time, but Flacco said those moments helped the Ravens on Sunday.
"It really makes and forms a team — a Super Bowl champion team," Flacco said. "We've been put through those situations, so when they come up, we don't know if we are going to be successful in them, but the bottom line is, the moment doesn't get too big. We are comfortable. We've been there before. We've failed before. We succeeded before. We are not worried about the outcome.
"We just go out there and play football, execute, and we believe that if we do that, and do that to our ability, then eventually it is going to work out."
Flacco just finished the final year of his rookie contract, and a future deal is something all sides have said publicly they expect to be resolved. On the biggest of stages Sunday night, Flacco once again showed his value. Now the Ravens will have to determine his worth.