A certain amount of overconfidence is necessary for success in professional sports. It is no coincidence that the most dominant figures in every league (NFL, NBA, MLB, EPL, etc.) all seem to have shockingly little self-awareness and egos the size of Brooklyn.
That being said, there is a fine line between being confident and being delusional, and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw an interception over that line during a recent interview. Here is what he told WNST 1570 in Baltimore on Tuesday (via ESPN) on the topic of his standing among current NFL quarterbacks:
"I assume everybody thinks they're a top-five quarterback," Flacco said. "I mean, I think I'm the best. I don't think I'm top five, I think I'm the best. I don't think I'd be very successful at my job if I didn't feel that way. I mean, c'mon? That's not really too tough of a question.
"That doesn't mean that things are going to work out that way. It just means that's the way it is -- that's the way I feel that it is and that's the way I feel it should be."
In 2011, Flacco threw for 20 touchdowns, 3,610 yards and 12 interceptions. In each of those catagories, he performed worse last year than he had in the year prior. That means Flacco circa 2011 wasn’t even the best Flacco we’ve seen over the course of his career, much less the best quarterback in the NFL.
Some have taken to comparing Flacco’s statement to what New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning said last year in regards to being in Tom Brady’s elite class of NFL players. After saying that, he went out and won another championship.
"I consider myself in that class," he told 1050 ESPN in August of 2011 (via CNN). "Tom Brady is a great quarterback, he's a great player and what you've seen with him is he's gotten better every year. He started off winning championships and I think he's a better quarterback now than what he was, in all honesty, when he was winning those championships.
"I think now he's grown up and gotten better every year and that's what I'm trying to do," he said. "I kind of hope these next seven years of my quarterback days are my best."
Of course, the obvious caveat with Manning’s proclamation of his eliteness is that he said what he said while already being in possession of one Super Bowl trophy and one Super Bowl MVP trophy.
The high point of Flacco’s career leading up to his boast? We can’t think of it at this very moment. Which should tell you everything you need to know.
(Note: Tune in today to the Bottom Line Sports Show as they talk all things NFL, and have one lucky NFL Draft prospect on to discuss what the future holds.)