Things in sports rarely go 100 percent according to plan, but every now and then they work out for the best anyway. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco wasn't supposed to be the starter from the very beginning of his NFL career, but now the team's fans and collectors are glad he got his early chance.
Flacco took a somewhat unorthodox route to the NFL, transferring from Pittsburgh to smaller Delaware when he found himself stuck behind Tyler Palko. He ended up playing two seasons for the Fighting Blue Hens, impressing scouts with his accuracy as he led them to the 2007 Football Championship Series title game.
That performance and Flacco's 6-foot-6 frame made him the object of desire for some NFL teams, while others questioned his level of college competition. The Ravens fell into the first category, so they traded up to the 18th overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft to grab Flacco, making him the second quarterback taken after Atlanta's Matt Ryan.
Players from small schools usually need extra time to break in, but injuries to Kyle Boller and Troy Smith left Flacco the 2008 Week One starter by default. Though he wasn't perfect, he led the Ravens to a 6-3 record through nine weeks. Even better, the team opened up the offense more and more as the season progressed, allowing him to make more throws and take more chances.
The Ravens have been quarterback-challenged for years, so if Flacco turns out to be the right man to end the cycle of futility, that will mean a bright future for his 2008 rookie cards. His higher end first-year cards should come cheaper than Ryan's to start, but that could change quickly depending on the fates of their respective teams.
2008 Joe Flacco Rookie Cards
- Absolute Memorabilia # 170 - autographed jersey card #'d to 299
- Bowman # 170
- Bowman Chrome # BC61
- Bowman Sterling # 148A - jersey card #'d to 569
- Donruss Classics # 219 - autographed, #'d to 399
- Donruss Elite # 105 - autographed, #'d to 299
- Donruss Gridiron Gear # 220 - autographed jersey card #'d to 100
- Donruss Threads # 271 - autographed, #'d to 120
- Finest # 105 - #'d to 699
- Leaf Certified Materials # 220 - jersey card #'d to 599
- Leaf Limited # 321 - jersey card #'d to 99
- Leaf Rookies and Stars # 230 - autographed, #'d to 99
- Leaf Rookies and Stars Longevity # 230 - autographed, #'d to 10
- Playoff Prestige # 151
- Score # 344
- Select # 344 - #'d to 999
- SP Rookie Edition # 127
- SP Rookie Threads # JF53 - autographed w/ announced print run of 252
- SPx # 162 - autographed jersey card #'d to 599
- Stadium Club # 104 - #'d to 1799
- Topps # 335
- Topps Chrome # TC170
- Topps Kickoff # 170
- Topps Letterman # 54 - #'d to 419
- UD Masterpieces # 32
- Upper Deck Draft Edition # 50
- Upper Deck First Edition # 170
- Upper Deck Heroes # 157
- Upper Deck Heroes # 158
- Upper Deck Icons # 145 - #'d to 750
- Upper Deck Premier # 118 - autographed jersey card #'d to 275