Zach Wilson has some fun with a New York Jets Twitter caption
The New York Jets have not had a starting quarterback play a full season since 2015. That trend continued in 2021, as Zach Wilson, Mike White, and Joe Flacco started games for Gang Green due to injuries sustained by Wilson and White.
Flacco, nearing the end of his career, has put together quite the resume since entering the league in 2008. He has played 14 seasons in the NFL, the first 11 of which coming with the Baltimore Ravens. As a member of the Ravens, Flacco won Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers – a game that featured an unforgettable incident.
With 13:22 remaining in the third quarter and Baltimore leading 28-6, there was a power outage in the then-named Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The outage lasted over half an hour, and it arguably almost cost Baltimore the game because of the ensuing change in momentum. San Francisco scored 17 unanswered points following the delay.
Fortunately for Flacco and his Ravens, they would hold on to win 34-31 with Flacco taking home Super Bowl MVP.
Nearly nine years later, Flacco’s Jets teammate Zach Wilson cracked a joke about the incident, captioning a photo shared by the Jets’ Twitter account that featured the team’s three passers.
— Zachary Wilson (@ZachWilson) January 6, 2022
“No seriously the superdome [sic] had a power outage and then we won the Super Bowl. Look it up,” Wilson tweeted as his caption for Flacco in the image.
Flacco started eight or more games in each of his first 12 seasons in the NFL. Prior to the 2020 season, it became clear that he was out of options in terms of being a starter for another franchise in the league, so he decided to sign a one-year deal with the Jets to back up Sam Darnold. He would start four games, but his new role was clear.
Backing up a young quarterback as a veteran often entails being labeled a mentor. For Flacco, it has never been an attractive option, especially because of his long history as a starter.
While in Denver in 2019, Flacco made it clear that mentorship was not his job. On then-rookie quarterback Drew Lock, Flacco said, “I hope he does develop. But I don’t look at that as my job. My job is to win football games for this football team.”
Three years later, Flacco is backing up his fourth young quarterback in Zach Wilson (having also backed up Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia prior to being traded to the Jets this year).
It seems Flacco has opened up to the idea a little bit, even if he doesn’t exactly like it. In a press conference in October after being traded back to New York, Flacco was asked about his role in the quarterback room with Wilson.
“I will embrace that [mentor] role, but at the same time I think I’m here, in the short-term, to help out as much as I can on the field,” said Flacco.
Though it’s not the clearest answer, Flacco has certainly changed a good bit off the field since his first season as a backup. His main focus is on playing football, of course, but his role in the quarterback room is something he’s open to embracing.
Ultimately, something as little as Flacco walking around with Wilson and White cracking jokes on the practice field is still important in the grand scheme of things. It represents an openness to helping the younger guys, and clearly, Zach is loving it.