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Joe Flacco will cash in after Super Bowl success

Updated: April 20, 2013 1:37AM

NEW ORLEANS — Have you ever seen money being printed? Ink flowing, paper being cut?


Yes, you have. You saw it Sunday night. I don’t mean to be so crass as to inject cold, hard cash into something as virtuous and noncommercial as the Super Bowl, but when Joe Flacco came out for the second half, his jersey number had changed to his PIN number.

Flacco led the Ravens to a 34-31 victory over the 49ers and was named the game’s most valuable player. The only thing he didn’t do was win this thing by candlelight, but that’s only because he wasn’t given the chance. A 34-minute power outage in the third quarter seemed to energize the 49ers, turning a potential blowout into an incredibly entertaining game.

Flacco is up for a new contract, and what he did Sunday will force the Ravens to fire up the mint. The talk is of a contract worth about $20 million a year. That talk is not cheap. But, Lord, he looked deserving of whatever he wants. He completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns, and even that doesn’t do justice to what he did for his team. His 11 playoff touchdown passes this season tied an NFL record.

This should put an end to the talk that Flacco was born with a tragic shortage of charisma and that he’s a lesser quarterback than Tom Brady or either Manning. But he showed that there’s something beating inside his rib cage and that, given the chance, he’s as good as anyone.

“I have never cared,’’ he said afterward of the naysayers. “I don’t ever want to feel like I’m in a position to defend myself because it’s just not right. I don’t have to do that. But we’ll have this forever.’’

There were two plays that defined Flacco on Sunday. The first came in the first quarter, when the Ravens were facing third-and-seven. He was under heavy pressure from the 49ers, and every page in the Quarterback Handbook said the same thing: Throw the ball out of bounds and live to fight another drive.

But then he did something that I didn’t think possible. While being forced backward and toward the sideline, he wound up and threw a pass. Not just any pass. A pass that had zip, purpose and some sort of navigation system. It landed in the hands of Anquan Boldin, who beat Chris Culliver for a 30-yard gain. The Ravens didn’t get a point on the drive, but the bigger point was made: Whoa, what an arm.

The second play was another athletic play, this one just before halftime. Flacco stepped up into the pocket to avoid pressure and threw a pass going forward to Jacoby Jones that very few quarterbacks could make. Jones had to wait for it, but all the best things are worth waiting for, right? Jones fell down untouched, got up, spun, avoided a tackler and then juked and outran Culliver to the end zone. That was a 56-yard connection, and it led to a 21-3 Ravens lead.

When Jones ran back the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, the game seemed over. But then the 49ers came charging back, thanks to momentum, turnovers, dumb penalties and Colin Kaepernick.

Did the power outage allow the 49ers to regroup, and did it take away the Ravens’ momentum? When it started, the Ravens led ­28-6. Then all hell broke loose. But the Ravens can’t use that as an excuse. When the power finally went back on, the football was the same size. So was the field.

Who do you blame anyway for the outage? Bud Selig?

With the Ravens on their heels on a third down in the third quarter, Flacco hit Boldin with a short pass that ended up going for 30 yards. It was the kind of play detractors wondered whether he could make in the clutch.

“He’s got the guts of a burglar,’’ Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

Add it all up, and you’re talking scads of money.

“[Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti] did let me know that if the day came, I could go beat on his desk and really put it to him,’’ Flacco said. “So that’s exactly what I’m going to do.’’

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