Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson became the youngest player in NFL history to win two MVP Awards. He won one unanimously—just the second-ever occurrence—and then nearly did it again. But he still doesn’t have his Super Bowl ring. And that’s what is occupying his mind.
“Just to be amongst the greatest of all time, to do stuff like this is incredible”, he said about winning the award, via the team’s website. “I never thought I’d be a two-time MVP. If anything I thought I would’ve been a Super-Bowl-winning quarterback by now”.
For the first time, Jackson reached the conference finals during the 2023 season. The Ravens came up short, however, against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes secured a key piece of his legacy last night with his third ring. Jackson remains confident his is coming. And he doesn’t care who has something to say about it.
“The sky’s the limit. I feel like I still have work to improve on and stuff to prove to the naysayers”, he said. “But I need the naysayers to keep going, keep adding fuel to that fire for me to keep being Lamar Jackson…I need them. I just need them. Bad”.
Jackson is quite familiar with doubters. Several teams asked him to work out at positions other than quarterback when he came out of school. They and many analysts doubted if he could sustain his game in the NFL without changing positions.
For most, he has proven such concerns false long ago. But he knows that for others, the only validation of his game is a Super Bowl title. He intends to use his doubters to continue to fuel him to reach the summit of his profession.
The Ravens have a couple of Super Bowl titles in their history. They last won it all in 2012, which is six years before Jackson came into the picture. Baltimore is still stuck on just playoff wins since drafting Jackson in 2018, finally earning the second win in 2023.
Postseason success has made itself elusive to head coach John Harbaugh and company since his first title, however. He has just three wins since the 2012 Super Bowl win, which is the same number the Pittsburgh Steelers have.
The Steelers are facing a far greater challenge at the quarterback position, however. They don’t even know who their starter is, or even if he is on the roster. They put Kenny Pickett on the bench at the end of the season with Mason Rudolph performing at a higher level.
How much merit do Jackson’s critics have? He is not the greatest pure passer the game has ever seen, but he might possibly be the most dynamic. Unless and until he’s holding a Lombardi Trophy his legs have won him, however, he’ll never be free from naysayers.