At this point, we've made it through almost four full seasons with Joe Flacco as the Ravens' quarterback.
In that time, Flacco has gotten the brunt of a ton of criticism from the media and fans; some of it warranted, some of it perhaps not.
Today, in the midst of a week of preparation for a divisional round game against the Texans, the normally reserved quarterback playfully fought back against his naysayers, turning some heads with surprisingly attention-grabbing sound bytes.
Asked about the recent trend of big-name quarterbacks leading their team to Super Bowl championships, Flacco said he feels people put a lot of attention toward title teams' signal callers because the media plays up that angle.
"If you look at the teams that won, yeah you can look at the quarterbacks but that's just because you guys, ESPN, everybody wants to pump them up as being the best quarterback that year," Flacco said. "It's really going to come down to what team is the best.
"I'm sure if we win, I'll have nothing to do with why we won according to you guys. It is what it is. We're going to do our best to try to win it and it doesn't really matter what the reason is."
While his comments were spoken with a light-hearted tone, Flacco seemed to take particular issue with the way he's criticized for not being an "elite quarterback" while also being singled out if the Ravens throw the ball too frequently and fail to give running back Ray Rice enough touches.
"You guys want everybody to be Aaron Rodgers and be Tom Brady, but you guys do realize, those (teams) don't run the ball," Flacco said. "If we try to do that, the criticism that we'd take around here would be ridiculous. We could win eight games like that and we could lose one and you guys would be like, 'Oh man, what are you guys doing?'
"This is what you guys said you wanted and if you lose one game, oh my god. You guys got to remember that. You guys want an elite quarterback. You have to stop complaining when we go out there and throw the ball 60 times a game, because that's what elite quarterbacks do."
Flacco got a brief respite from the seemingly constant stream of negative attention in the middle of this season following his dramatic game-winning touchdown pass to beat the Steelers up at Heinz Field. The criticism returned just a week later, however, when Flacco threw the ball 52 times and Ray Rice got just five carries in a frustrating loss to the Seahawks.
The Ravens quarterback said he doesn't particularly care whether fans or media members doubt his abilities, and that he's strictly focused on racking up the wins and taking his team on a title run.
"We've won a lot of games around here," Flacco said. "This is the second year in a row we've won 12 games. I could care less. At the end of the day, do you see the criticism sometimes and say what the hell are they talking about? Yeah. But who cares, you know. It all comes down to three games now: win this one, win the next one and win the Super Bowl. What are they going to say? That's what we got to do, that's what I got to do. I'm not really thinking about anything else."