Joe Flacco’s story is pretty amazing.
Flacco was out of football since the end of last season until mid-November. When the Cleveland Browns had a season-ending injury to Deshaun Watson and inept play from his backups, they called Flacco. Flacco got a commercial flight and signed with the Browns. A few weeks later, he’s one of the NFL’s hottest quarterbacks and the Browns have clinched a playoff spot.
That story is finally challenging Damar Hamlin’s hold on the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
Flacco is making a hard charge up the odds list for the award at BetMGM. His odds had another shift after the Browns won on Thursday night. It’s not an even race yet, but Flacco has all the momentum.
Damar Hamlin still is favored
Hamlin is still the favorite for the award, but Flacco suddenly isn’t far behind.
Hamlin is the favorite at -155 odds, meaning a bettor would need to wager $155 to win $100. Flacco is +115 (bet $100 to win $115) and Baker Mayfield is way back in third at +1000. Nobody else is shorter than 30-to-1.
Flacco and Hamlin have much different stories, of course, and the award could come down to what voters are looking for. The ballot says the award is for the player who “shows perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, a severe injury, or simply poor performance.”
Hamlin has been the huge favorite for months. Hamlin collapsed during a game at the Cincinnati Bengals last season and had to be resuscitated on the field. He hasn’t played much this season for the Bills as a backup safety, but that hasn’t mattered to the odds.
Hamlin looked like a lock to win until Flacco started having his hot streak.
Joe Flacco’s case for the award
Flacco’s actual comeback story can’t match Hamlin. Flacco was just not good enough to be signed until November after a poor 2022 season. Even compared to someone like Tua Tagovailoa, who considered retirement after a series of concussions last season but came back to play at a near-MVP level, has a more compelling comeback case.
But Flacco is going to win the recency bias votes. He has been exceptional for the Browns lately. Cleveland was in some trouble after it lost Watson, but they’re 4-1 in Flacco’s start. Flacco has 1,616 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Given the criteria, Flacco should be considered. He was almost out of the NFL and even though many teams had huge problems at quarterback, he didn’t get back in the league until a little more than a month ago. Then he looks like he could potentially take the Browns on a deep playoff run.
Flacco has been one of the better stories of the NFL season. Maybe it will result in a major award.