In the past few months, especially since both Ray Lewis and Ed Reed left, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has become a magnet for quotes.
Today is no different as the Ravens signal caller told Matt Zenitz that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is quickly becoming his favorite player in college football.
As for Flacco, he brought up Manziel while answering a question Sunday that had to do with the negative reaction fans in Denver had to a banner with his picture on it being put on the Broncos' stadium by the NFL in an attempt to advertise the upcoming regular season opener between Baltimore and Denver.
First of all, Flacco jokingly emphasized that he had nothing to do with the banner being put on the stadium, but he then went on to say with a smile, "But hey, it's cool. Being hated is not a bad thing."
"I don't know if I'll be too popular for this," Flacco added. "But I don't know how I really felt about Johnny Manziel, but I feel like now everyone hates him. He's quickly becoming my favorite player in college football."
Baltimore Ravens jerseys cheap quarterback Joe Flacco was as surprised as anyone that a large banner with his image was hanging from Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and he says he can understand why Denver Broncos fans are miffed.
"I can't believe it," Flacco said on a conference call Sunday. "I can't imagine people in our city would be too happy if somebody from another team was hanging from our stadium. I didn't have anything to do with it."
The banner is part of the promotion for the cheap baltimore ravens jerseys NFL opener, and the controversy has rivaled the buzz about the game.
Fans have gone so far as to organize a petition drive to have the artwork at the stadium and around downtown removed.
"I figure I'm getting some heat for it," Flacco told reporters. "But like I said, I didn't go post it up there myself."
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said the NFL marketing plan including Flacco's image on the stadium "doesn't seem like it makes sense."
It was an eventful interview for Flacco. He also managed to mention that Johnny Manziel is fast becoming his favorite quarterback "now that everybody hates him."
On that unforgettable January night in Denver, the cheap ravens jerseys walked into Sports Authority Field at Mile High as heavy underdogs — a team that few outside their locker room believed had a realistic chance to defeat quarterback Peyton Manning and the top-seeded Broncos — and left victorious four hours and 11 minutes later.
The Ravens survived frigid temperatures, a seven-point deficit in the game's final minute and a pair of overtime periods to beat the Broncos, 38-35, on their way to a second Super Bowl title.
Nearly eight months later, the ravens jerseys cheap will return to Denver on Thursday night, when they and the Broncos will kick off the NFL's regular season. As they prepare for the season opener, both teams are trying to repress their recollections from that night and focus on the task at hand.
Of course, the Ravens' memories are much fonder — Corey Graham's two interceptions, Joe Flacco's game-tying touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, Justin Tucker's long game-winning field goal — but coach John Harbaugh said Sunday there will be no time for reminiscing Thursday night.
"No chance of that. Won't happen," he said. "I've got a pretty good feeling that the Broncos fans are going to make us remember. … We know the environment we're going into. It will be the same environment — or even tougher — than the one we faced in January. And we're excited about that."
Meanwhile, Manning was short with Denver reporters who asked him if that AFC divisional round game gave the Broncos additional motivation.
"I don't feel like there is," Manning told them. "I feel like this is a new season for us. We're playing an excellent team. We're opening up the NFL season with a home game. So if people need that for an extra incentive that's fine, but I think there's plenty just with the schedule and the timing of when we're playing."
The Pro Bowl quarterback carried that momentum into his conference call with Baltimore media, dismissing a question about moving on from the loss to the Ravens.
"I covered that just about all offseason," Manning said. "I know I'm talking to you guys for the first time, but I guess you just have to probably check some old clips for quotes."
Asked if he likes that the Broncos will get to play the Ravens in Week 1, Manning said, "The schedule is what it is," before eventually saying, "We're playing an awesome team and starting off the NFL season, and I think both teams will be excited."
Broncos coach John Fox had a similar answer but was a little more verbose.
"Last year is last year," said Fox, whose late-game decision-making was scrutinized after the loss to the Ravens. "One of the exciting things about opening the season is you've got to open the day of a whole new season. Everybody is 0-0, and you start fresh. I guess you'd say that's water under the bridge."
The Ravens' win on Jan. 12 was one of the most thrilling games in franchise history, and NFL Network ranked it as the most exciting game of the 2012 season.
In the final minute of regulation, with the Ravens trailing, 35-28, Flacco launched a throw down the sideline to Jones, who got behind the Broncos secondary for a 70-yard touchdown. Flacco acknowledged that he ran the play through his mind immediately after the game, but in typical Flacco fashion said he hadn't "really thought about it too many times" — even this week.
"You just think about what we can do to play a better game," Flacco said. "If anything, I hope we don't put ourselves in that situation again so that we have to win like that."
Manning said that a revamped Ravens defensive front that includes former teammate Elvis Dumervil will be "a tough challenge" for the Broncos offensive line. He also praised the secondary, name-dropping Graham, whose interception late in the first overtime set up Tucker's game-winning field goal, and fellow cornerback Lardarius Webb.
"I think their entire defense is good," he said. "I know they've got some new players this year, but from what I've seen on film, they've replaced them with more good players."
But neither he nor his coach seemed to be in the mood to talk publicly about exacting revenge.
And the Ravens — not even the biggest talker on the team — did not spend much time Sunday savoring the victory.
"Once the ball is kicked off — once the game has started — that last game is gone," rush linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We'll see what happens in this one."
If the Ravens' defense looks a little different this season, that's because it'll be the first time since 1996 Ray Lewis won't be on the team and the first time since 2002 Ed Reed won't be patrolling the secondary. The Ravens lost 21 Pro Bowl appearances between the two, not to mention a mountain of locker-room leadership. Baltimore still has quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice and linebacker Terrell Suggs, but it'll be difficult to replace the intangibles Lewis and Reed brought to the table.
Quarterback Andy Dalton is 2-for-2 when it comes to making the playoffs during his NFL career, now it's time to get over the hump. With weapons such as running back running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and wide receiver A.J. Green, who quickly is becoming one of the best wideouts in the league, the Bengals have the potential to continue their postseason streak. Coach Marvin Lewis' name has bounced around a few "hot seat" lists, but the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL is coming off a surprising season.
The Steelers' defense isn't what it used to be. Pittsburgh lost linebacker James Harrison (Bengals) and cornerback Keenan Lewis (Saints), plus safety Troy Polamalu is 32 years old and appears to have lost a step. Pittsburgh did pick up one of the best pass-rushing linebackers in the draft this year in Jarvis Jones of Georgia. Offensively, the Steelers lost wide receiver Mike Wallace to Miami, but drafted Markus Wheaton out of Oregon State to fill Wallace's role.
The biggest addition to the Browns' offense this season was offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Turner has a history of grooming quarterbacks and should help second-year pro Brandon Weeden develop. Cleveland will likely rely heavily on the run game, though, with Trent Richardson.