Working on 90 minutes of sleep, Joe Flacco wore a day-old beard and a weary smile that wouldn’t go away.
Super Bowl tradition deems that the game’s MVP appear at a ceremony the following morning to shake hands with the commissioner of the NFL, accept the shiny trophy, pose for pictures and receive the keys to a new car.
And so, after celebrating the Baltimore Ravens’ 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers into the early hours of Monday morning, Flacco dutifully fulfilled his obligation.
The quarterback’s immediate reward for throwing three touchdown passes on Sunday night was a 2014 Corvette.
In the months ahead, Flacco is almost assured of receiving a lucrative, long-term contract befitting his incredible performance during Baltimore’s run to the NFL championship.
In the playoffs, Flacco had 11 TD passes and no interceptions, a feat NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called “extraordinary.”
“He was unflappable and brought his team to a Super Bowl level,” Goodell said. “His play represented that all the way through.”
Less than 12 hours after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy over his head amid a shower of purple confetti, Flacco still couldn’t come to grips with what he and the Ravens had accomplished.
After throwing for three scores in the first half to stake the Ravens to a 21-6 lead, Flacco directed two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to help fend off a 49ers comeback. He was 22 for 33 for 287 yards.
“I’m pretty tired right now, and it hasn’t sunken in,” he said. “It’s just a surreal moment.”
With a parade scheduled for the team on Tuesday, Flacco then visited Disney World in Florida before heading home.