On Nov. 20, the Cleveland Browns signed Joe Flacco, 38, to help provide depth after Deshaun Watson went down with a season-ending injury. Flacco was born on Jan. 16, 1985, and will be celebrating his 39th birthday the week after Wild Card Weekend.
The Browns are Flacco’s fifth NFL team since the Baltimore Ravens selected him out of Delaware in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He hasn’t taken a snap in a game, however, since playing five games with the New York Jets last season.
Joe Flacco’s Path to the NFL
Flacco, who grew up in New Jersey, played football, basketball, and baseball in high school. He was the 39th-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2003 high school class, according to Rivals.com. Some of the quarterbacks ranked higher than him in his class were Kyle Wright, Chris Leak, JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, and Matt Ryan.
Flacco spent two seasons at Pittsburgh and transferred to Delaware after only playing three games with the Panthers. In two seasons, he passed for 7,046 yards and 41 touchdowns with the Blue Hens. Flacco set 20 school records at Delaware and led the school to the FCS National Championship game in 2007.
Flacco Leads the Baltimore Ravens to a Title
After being selected 18th overall in the 2008 draft, Flacco started 163 games in 11 seasons for the Ravens from 2008 to 2018. He passed for 38,245 yards with a 61.7 completion percentage, 212 touchdowns, and 136 interceptions. In his first five seasons, the Ravens were 54-26 and made the playoffs each season.
The highlight of Flacco’s career was the postseason run Baltimore made after the 2012 regular season.
After a Wild Card win against the Indianapolis Colts, Flacco’s 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter tied the Denver Broncos and forced overtime. Baltimore went on to win in double overtime to advance to the AFC Championship Game — where the Ravens upset the New England Patriots to clinch a spot in Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Ravens, behind Flacco’s three touchdown passes, jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead. After a second-half power outage, Baltimore withstood a furious San Francisco rally to hold on for a 34-31 win. Flacco completed 22 of his 33 passes for 287 yards and was named Super Bowl MVP.
Finding a New Home in Denver
After winning the Super Bowl, Flacco remained the Ravens’ starter for five seasons, but the team only won 34 of his 67 starts. During the 2018 season, Flacco lost his starting job to rookie Lamar Jackson and was later traded to the Broncos for a fourth-round pick.
Flacco only started eight games with Denver in 2019, passing for 1,822 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions before being placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. With a failed physical designation, the Broncos released him in March 2020.
Flacco signed with the Jets in May 2020 and started four games that season. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2021 season but never played in a regular-season game and was traded back to the Jets in October 2021. In 12 total games from 2020-2022, Flacco had 14 touchdowns and six interceptions with New York.
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