(WUSA9) -- This year's Joe Flacco isn't playing the role of "Mr. Nice Guy." Not anymore. Not this season. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are no longer Ravens. The two longtime fixtures in Baltimore were the ones who did most, if not all of the leading.
But in 2013 it's Flacco's turn. And he's wasted no time in stepping up and speaking out to the media.
"I think if we didn't win [the Super Bowl] you all would still be saying we suck, and we did win and you all still say the same," said Flacco.
Wait, Flacco said that? Well without Baltimore's outspoken leader Lewis, someone has to.
And why wouldn't it be Flacco?
He has a right to after the monster season he had in 2012, consisting of 4,957 passing yards on the year. In the postseason he was even better, completing 57.9% of his passes and throwing zero interceptions. Not to mention against San Francisco he threw three touchdown passes and averaged 8.7 yards per throw en route to being named Super Bowl MVP.
The Ravens saw what he did last season and were certainly more than pleased. So pleased that they gave him a six-year $120.6 million contract-making Flacco, at the time, the highest paid player in NFL history.
Flacco feels pretty good about his current situation.
"I can't really complain right now. We won last year, I have a lot of money, or I'm gonna get a lot of money, and we're gonna win football games," said Flacco. "That's the way it is around here."
This is the confident, cocky Flacco Ravens fans have been waiting for.
After three years of watching a growing, still developing franchise quarterback, 2012 had some of the Baltimore fan base a little impatient. When would the real Joe Flacco show up?
In the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons Flacco couldn't manage to lead his team to an AFC Championship victory. His first trip to one in 2011 resulted in throwing two picks and a 20-23 loss to the Patriots. In 2010 he could only lead his team to a the divisional round, where the Ravens lost 31-24 to arch-rival Steelers. In 2009, an injured Flacco lost to the Patriots in the wild card round.
In 2012, Ravens fans were getting anxious. Media members were beginning to question Flacco's ability to pull his team through in the post season.
He silenced all of that and lead his team into a hostile Mile High stadium, and beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the divisional round, boasting one of the best games of his season throwing for 331 yards and throwing three touchdowns.
Let's not forget the magic he created there, with 31 seconds left in regulation on 3rd down and 30, he hit Jacoby Jones riding down the right sideline for a touchdown to tie the game up at 35 and force overtime.
A scoreless second overtime allowed Ray Rice to set up Justin Tuck for a game-winning 47 yard field goal.
The 28-year-old didn't look back.
He went on the road to Foxborough to do what he had never done, win an AFC Championship.
Flacco made it look too easy, throwing for 240 yards and three touchdowns.
Then came his Super Bowl MVP performance and six-year contract, and Flacco has some swagger in his step.
"We're not going to apologize for acting like we're a good football team, and our expectations are high and we don't care if that comes with pressure. It's not pressure; whatever it is we expect to win," said Flacco.
The Ravens have a new fearless leader, and he goes by the name Joe Flacco.