Flacco was born on January 16, 1985 in Audubon, New Jersey. The son of Karen (née Madden) and Steve Flacco, Joe is the oldest of five boys. The Flacco family is originally from Haddon Township, New Jersey.
Joseph Vincent Flacco (born January 16, 1985) is an American football quarterback for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Delaware after transferring from Pittsburgh, and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
On January 20, 2013, Flacco and the Ravens avenged the previous year's AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots with a 28–13 win, securing their spot in the 2013 Super Bowl. Flacco threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns, notching his third straight game with a passer rating over 100. With this win, Flacco became the second NFL quarterback to defeat both Peyton Manning (with the Broncos) and Tom Brady in the same postseason since both became starting quarterbacks in 2001 (the first to do so was Mark Sanchez in 2010).
In 2003, as part of the Pittsburgh Panthers football team, Flacco was redshirted as a freshman for a team that went 8–5.
In 2004, Flacco was the backup quarterback behind starter Tyler Palko, who lead the team to an 8–4 record. He saw action in three games against Ohio University, University of Nebraska, and the University of South Florida. Flacco threw only four passes and finished the season with one completion for 11 yards and a 25-yard punt.
Flacco transferred to the University of Delaware in 2005, but was not eligible to play that season. He saw his first full-time action during the 2006 season, throwing for 2,783 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Delaware's Fightin' Blue Hens ultimately struggled to a 5–6 record and failed to qualify for the FCS playoffs.
Flacco signed a three-year contract with Reebok as a rookie in 2008. In 2009–2010, Flacco was a spokesperson for Pizza Hut, which sold a product called "Flacco's Favorites". Flacco has also endorsed Nike and 1st Mariner Bank, as well as Haribo since January 2013. Also in 2013, Flacco signed an endorsement deal with McDonald's to promote their new menu item, the Mighty Wings. Flacco has also teamed up with opendorse to promote a Zynga mobile application called "NFL Showdown: Football Manager" as well as a line of women's apparel for Spirit Football Jersey.
On July 16, 2008, he signed a five-year contract with a maximum value of around $30 million, and $8.75 million guaranteed.
Flacco was named the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year in January 2009.
Flacco set 20 school records during his career at Delaware. In early September 2009, a 20- by 30-foot poster of Flacco was added to the facade of Delaware Stadium.
On December 26, 2010, with a win against the Cleveland Browns, Flacco became one of only four NFL quarterbacks to lead his team to the playoffs in all three of his first three seasons. During this game, Flacco reached 10,000 career passing yards. Ending the season, Flacco set season highs in passing yards (3,622), passing touchdowns (25), passer rating (93.6), and a season low in interceptions (10), yet set a career-high with four lost fumbles.
Joe Flacco married his wife Dana in 2011. Together they have five children; their first child Stephen Flacco was born in June 2012, Daniel Flacco was born September 15, 2013, about an hour before the start of the Ravens' home opener. Francis Flacco was born in January 2015 and Thomas Flacco was born in April 2018. The Flaccos' only daughter, Evelyn Flacco, was born in September 2016.
On the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2012 list, Flacco was ranked 74th by his fellow players. Despite Flacco's success—the Ravens were in the playoffs each of his first four seasons —few saw him as among the NFL's best quarterbacks. Before January 2015, he had never been selected for the Pro Bowl. In April 2012 Flacco was, as The New York Times later stated, "almost universally mocked" when he stated that he was the best quarterback in the NFL, superior to Brady, Peyton Manning, or Aaron Rodgers. "I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way", Flacco said. In July, he turned down the Raven's offer of a new contract, reportedly for $16 million a year, telling his agent that he believed he could improve and earn more.
On January 6, 2013, in the Wild Card Playoffs round against the Indianapolis Colts, Flacco finished the game 12 of 23 for 282 yards, two touchdowns, and a career postseason high 125.6 passer rating. The 24–9 win at home set up a Divisional round rematch with the Broncos, who entered the game as nine-point favorites after their regular season win over the Ravens, which included a 98-yard interception touchdown return by Broncos' cornerback Chris Harris that marked the lowest point of Flacco's season. Continuing his postseason success, Flacco played one of the best games in his career, throwing for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens were down 35–28 and had one last chance to tie the game. After an incomplete pass and a 7-yard scramble, on 3rd down and 3, Flacco heaved a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, sending the game into overtime. The pass has been called the "Mile High Miracle", and "one of the greatest plays in NFL history" and drew comparisons to Roger Staubach's "Hail Mary", Terry Bradshaw's "Immaculate Reception", and Joe Montana's "The Catch". The Ravens would go on to win the game in double overtime 38–35 after an interception by Corey Graham from Peyton Manning and a 47-yard field goal from Justin Tucker, sending the Ravens to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship for a second straight year.
In a 34–31 win over the favored San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, played on February 3, 2013, Flacco completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and another three touchdowns, tying him for first place on the list of most consecutive playoff games with at least three touchdown passes (3 games). With a record fourth playoff game with a 100+ passer rating in a single postseason, Flacco was named the game's Most Valuable Player. For winning the award, he was given a then-brand-new red Chevrolet Corvette.
On March 4, 2013, Flacco became the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history when he signed a six-year contract worth $120.6 million. However, within months, he was surpassed by the Packers' Aaron Rodgers and the Falcons' Matt Ryan.
He is the oldest out of the five boys in his family. His brothers are named Mike, John, Brian, and Tom; He also has a sister named Stephanie. His brother Mike was selected in the 31st round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles, and was the starting first baseman for the Frederick Keys, who won the 2011 Carolina League championship. He hit for a .250 average, with 5 HRs and 22 RBIs in 50 games with the Keys. The Orioles traded him to the Boston Red Sox on March 15, 2013, and rather than accepting the assignment, Flacco decided to retire from baseball. He then enrolled at the University of New Haven to play football as a tight end, and declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. Another brother, John, was a walk-on receiver with the Stanford Cardinal football team and played against the Army Black Knights football team at the 2013 Stanford vs. Army football game. Joe's youngest brother, Tom Flacco, enrolled in 2015 at Western Michigan University, where he played quarterback for two seasons before transferring to Rutgers in 2017 and then Towson in 2018.
On March 2, 2016, Flacco agreed to a three-year extension to remain with the team. After their Week 3 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Flacco and the Ravens had accrued a 3–0 record, their best record after three games since 2009, but the Ravens would struggle down the stretch, finishing with an 8–8 record and missing the playoffs for the second straight season, the first consecutive playoff misses for the franchise since 2004–2005. Flacco posted a career-high and franchise record 4,317 passing yards, the first time he reached at least 4,000 yards, but only threw 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, the second highest of his career. Flacco posted a 6.4 average per attempt, tying his career worst. Flacco also completed a career-high and franchise best 436 completions, and a career-high and franchise best 672 attempts. The 672 pass attempts currently rank fifth most in a single season in league history.
In a survey by Fanatics in January 2017, Flacco was elected as the most attractive player in the NFL.
On July 26, 2017, it was revealed that Flacco was diagnosed with a back injury, ruling him out for 3–6 weeks of training camp. During Thursday Night Football against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, Flacco suffered a concussion after a hit from Kiko Alonso. Flacco left the game, and was relieved by Ryan Mallett for the rest. The Ravens nevertheless won 40–0. The Ravens finished the season with a 9–7 record and just missed the playoffs after losing 31–27 to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, allowing the Buffalo Bills to qualify for the postseason. Flacco finished the season starting all 16 games, throwing for 3,141 yards and 18 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
On September 9, 2018, Flacco threw for three touchdowns and had a passer rating of 121.7 in the season-opening blowout against the Buffalo Bills 47–3. The next week, on Thursday Night Football, he recorded 376 yards and two touchdowns along with two interceptions against the Cincinnati Bengals, losing his seventh game in Cincinnati. He fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter, ending the chance for a comeback.
On February 13, 2019, the Ravens agreed to trade Flacco to the Denver Broncos in exchange for their fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The deal became official on March 13, 2019.
On March 19, 2020, the Broncos released Flacco with a failed physical designation. He underwent neck surgery in April 2020.
On May 27, 2020, Flacco signed with the New York Jets.