Back in 2019, the Denver Broncos were moving away from Case Keenum as the team's starting quarterback and starting fresh. Just about everybody in Broncos Country was scared that the team might pursue Joe Flacco in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens, and their worst fears were realized when the Broncos not only traded for Flacco, but they got that deal done in February and forced Broncos Country to come to terms with it very early in the offseason.
At Flacco's introductory press conference, John Elway welcomed Flacco and his wife, Dana, to "Bronco Land" which has become a running joke ever since, but the much more famous line from the introductory presser was when Elway stated that he felt Flacco was "just entering his prime".
"Joe's a perfect fit for us...He's a winner, he's played in a lot of big games, he has a lot of good football left in him. At 34 years old, feel like he's just really coming into his prime."- John Elway
It felt like a hilarious comment at the time for Elway to make, certainly more hyperbole than actual substance. But was Elway simply ahead of his time? Joe Flacco has been on an absolute heater with the Cleveland Browns, now more than four years later, and you could say John Elway is looking a bit prophetic at the moment.
In five starts with the Browns after being added to the practice squad, Flacco has thrown for over 1,600 yards and has 13 touchdown passes. His touchdown percentage of 6.4 percent -- if it held up -- would be the best of his entire NFL career. The same could be said of his 13.1 yards per completion and 323 yards per game. Flacco is also not taking sacks. His 3.8 sack percentage is the lowest of his NFL career no matter the sample size of games.
The Browns have won their last four games in a row. They are looking like one of the best teams in the entire AFC, and have guaranteed themselves a playoff spot.
It's pretty insane when you think about other teams out there this season that needed quarterback help, and Flacco didn't even get a call. The connection Flacco has in Cleveland is a little game of "three degrees of separation" and I think you get another intriguing Broncos connection here.
Prior to coming to Denver, the best Flacco looked in Baltimore during the regular season was in 2014 when Gary Kubiak was his offensive coordinator. Kubiak is obviously a legend in Broncos Country at this point, and crossed paths with Kevin Stefanski when the two were on staff with the Minnesota Vikings.
Do you think Kubiak perhaps called up Stefanski at any point this season and told him to give Flacco a look when the Browns were going through quarterbacks like a starting pitching rotation in baseball?
It might be a bit of a stretch, but it wouldn't be surprising either, especially since Stefanski utilizes so many similar concepts in his offense as Kubiak.
One way or another, Flacco is absolutely balling right now. If you extrapolated his passing stats over the course of an entire season, he'd be on pace for 43 touchdown passes and nearly 5,500 yards. Even when you consider the fact that this isn't happening over a two or three game stretch but a five game stretch, you can't help but be impressed.
And good for Joe Flacco. He was not embraced by Broncos Country, to say the very least. Flacco's resurrection in 2023 is one of the most shocking stories of the entire year.