Super Bowl Hero Flacco Did Not Fare So Well At Chattanooga 5 Years Ago

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - by John Shearer

Except for being caught on TV excitedly cursing after the Super Bowl victory, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was almost flawless Sunday in being named the MVP and getting a trip to Disney World.

A little more than five years earlier, he did not have quite as good a game in the Football Championship Subdivision title game loss to Appalachian State at Chattanooga’s Finley Stadium, however.

But he did get to visit the Tennessee Aquarium on the Wednesday before the game for a team dinner and gathering!

When the University of Pittsburgh transfer and Delaware Blue Hen senior quarterback played against the Mountaineers from Boone, N.C., on Friday night, Dec. 14, 2007, on ESPN2, he was much better known by the NFL scouts than by the average football fan in Chattanooga.

In fact, several scouts were on hand to watch him.

However, players such as ASU running back Kevin Richardson, running Mountaineer quarterback Armanti Edwards and Delaware running back Omar Cuff were flashier fan and media favorites, according to articles in the Chattanooga Times Free Press at the time.

And Mr. Flacco did not do a whole lot in the game to change that perspective. Unlike fellow small college quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw of Louisiana Tech and Steve McNair of Alcorn State when they played UTC at Chamberlain Field in 1969 and 1994, respectively, he did not necessarily look like a can’t-miss pro prospect.

In the game, which was the 11th FCS national title game to be played at Finley Stadium and the third since artificial turf was installed, Appalachian State easily defeated the Blue Hens, 49-21, to claim its third title in a row.

The Mountaineers, who had upset Michigan earlier in the year, had 556 yards of total offense in the victory in front of 23,010 fans.

Although Mr. Flacco’s completion percentage was not great – 23 out of 48 passes – he still managed to throw for 334 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

And one so-so night in Chattanooga did not derail him. With his 6-foot-6 frame and natural and accurate arm, he has since gone on to a very successful NFL career, which culminated with the Super Bowl win over San Francisco.

Among the other well-known personalities who also took part in the national title game when it was in Chattanooga from 1997-2009 were future Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who won in 1997 with Youngstown State; future Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, who won with Georgia Southern in 1999 and 2000; and Jack Harbaugh, who won with Western Kentucky in 2002.

Of course, Coach Harbaugh became more famous as the father of this year’s Super Bowl coaches, John and Jim Harbaugh. Jim had actually been on his father’s staff the year before the Hilltoppers won it all in Chattanooga.

Jcshearer2@comcast.net


Randy Smith: A 7-Year Labor of Love

Several people down through the years have told me, "You should write a book." They were focusing on my career as a sports broadcaster and all the interesting people I've met and interviewed. Well, I finally wrote a book but it had nothing at all to do with me. It took seven years to write "Seasons of Change," a book about my Uncle's girls basketball team in middle Tennessee in ... (click for more)

Moc Wrestlers Host Virginia On Sunday

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team's marquee non-conference match is Sunday, Dec. 4, against Virginia.  The 24th-ranked Mocs (2-1, 1-0 SoCon) welcome the Cavaliers (2-2, 0-0 ACC) to Maclellan Gym for a 2:00 p.m. contest.    This is a rematch of one of the most exciting comebacks in Chattanooga wrestling history.  Virginia held a No. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Officer Shot 3 Times In East Chattanooga; Later Is Released From Hospital; Manhunt On For Shooter

A Chattanooga Police officer was shot three times on Thursday morning in East Chattanooga. The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. on Mission Avenue near Glenwood Drive. He was able to drive himself to the hospital and later was treated and released. Chattanooga Police Department Chief Fred Fletcher said the identity of the officer would not be released until the investigation ... (click for more)

CSAS Students Have Long Day At School Due To Concern Shooting Suspect Might Be On Campus

Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences students had a long day at school on Thursday after there was concern that a man who shot a police officer not far away had slipped onto the campus. Amy Katcher of the county schools said, " On Thursday, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences was evacuated around 3 p.m. as a precaution after a shooting incident in Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Tennessee River Gorge Trust Trail Warriors Make You Want To Take A Hike

Trail warriors of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust make you want to take a hike.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust staff and volunteers make a huge difference in the Chattanooga community and have been making the outdoor areas around the River Gorge clean and protected for more than 30 years.  They deserve to be recognized and praised for all of the hard work they have ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Bible In Gatlinburg

The day after fire rained and reigned in Gatlinburg, Isaac McCord, 24 and from Tullahoma, was picking up debris at the popular Dollywood attraction. The theme park had minimal damage compared to the hundreds of structure either lost or severely damaged in Sevier County. He picked up a piece of paper that was in a puddle of water, beneath a bench. “It was one of the most surreal ... (click for more)