FLACCO WINS ROOKIE OF YEAR AWARD, WANTS CARDINALS TO WIN SUPER BOWL
As previously reported by Scout.com’s Adam Caplan, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has been named the 2008 Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year. Flacco and the other finalists attended a press conference at the Tampa Convention Center on Thursday afternoon, where the award was presented. The winner was determined exclusively by fan voting via NFL.com and Sprint wireless service from January 2 through January 27. Specifically, fans cast more than 1,002,500 votes, more than double the 2007 total of 440,000. Flacco, the first rookie quarterback in league history to win two playoff games, recognized that the three January games in which he played helped his cause. “The playoff run helped,” Flacco told a group of reporters after the press conference. “It shows what getting playoff experience can do for you.” He acknowledged that his football career likely wouldn’t have unfolded in the manner that it has if he hadn’t transferred from Pitt to Delaware. “That’s why I did what I did,” he said of the transfer. But as to rumors we’ve heard in the past that Pitt wanted to move him to tight end, Flacco said that the school never made such a request of him. Flacco also said he had an inkling he might win, based on the extent to which the league was encouraging his agent, Joe Linta, to ensure that Flacco attended the event. In a general question-and-answer session after Flacco received the award, he and the other finalists gave their picks for the Super Bowl. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan picked the Steelers. Texans running back Steve Slaton agreed, as did Titans running back Chris Johnson. Bears running back Matt Forte also picked the Steelers. Flacco, the last guy to make a pick, agreed -- but for a different reason. Flacco said he heard Warren Sapp of NFLN pick the Steelers because he wants the Cardinals to win. So Flacco chose the Steelers for the same reason; he said he wants the Cardinals to win.