By Chris Schisler
Marquise Brown made the jersey swap heard around the state of Maryland. He’s number five now, and it’s nothing to freak out about. If you need to freak out, do so. I’m here to talk you down.
While the emotional reasoning of fans to retire or reserve Joe Flacco‘s number is understandable, Brown’s switch shouldn’t bother you as a Ravens fan. Flacco isn’t being taken down a peg because Hollywood Brown has his collegiate number once again.
The Ravens are a young franchise. While the Ravens don’t really play along with the whole retired numbers thing, there’s already numbers off the table. You’re never going to see a Ravens player in 52 or 20. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed wore those numbers and were once in a lifetime talents.
If it doesn’t feel right to you to see the number 5 on Brown, let me ask you two questions. First, where’s the line for retiring a number or doing so in practice, unofficially?
If you say “Well Joe Flacco won a Super Bowl,” that is true. Being the quarterback of a Super Bowl winning team doesn’t make you number retired material automatically. Trent Dilfer didn’t prevent Kyle Boller from wearing number 8 before he stunk more in number 7.
If you tell me “Flacco was the best quarterback in franchise history” I’m not going to argue with you. I think it’s obvious that the bar wasn’t that high. It also seems like a safe bet that Lamar Jackson will have a greater career than Flacco. He already has an MVP award.
Secondly, let me ask you, is Flacco on the same level as Lewis and Reed? Emotionally, maybe. Pragmatically, not a chance.
Lewis and Reed, we’re both Hall of Fame inductees. They both have an argument for being the best to play their respective positions. Flacco isn’t a Hall of Fame quarterback. He was a franchise quarterback. He had a good run.
If you’re going to get into the retired numbers game then the Hall of Fame has to be a requirement. That’s the only way to make it fair and responsible.
The ring of honor is waiting for Flacco when he retires. Put him in now if you want. He was one of the most important Ravens ever. He was a great teammate and a Ravens’ era-defining player. That’s what the ring of honor is there for.
There are plenty of members of the Ravens Flock who are legitimately upset that the Ravens would allow Brown to wear the number 5.
This is hilarious because many of them probably didn’t have enough appreciation for Flacco during his tenure in Baltimore. As a guy who defended Flacco all the time, I can tell you that it’s okay to move on.
The Bottom Line:
When Flacco was traded to the Denver Broncos the Ravens made a touching goodbye video to Joe Flacco. I cried like a baby. I cried like a baby who never thought he’d be whole again because his dad went into the other room for a second. If you asked me about a player wearing Flacco’s number then, I would have bitten your head off.
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Here’s the thing. Our promise to you was that we’re for Baltimore, by Baltimore. No matter how you feel about Brown’s swap, I have processed the emotion. Logic is a good friend of mine. He told me to tell you that you’re getting upset about nothing, and you won’t care about this in the future. We all move on at different stages. It’s not like we want Joe back, so let’s just be okay with it.