Joe Flacco ends ridiculous debate over Comeback Player of the Year

Despite being named a Comeback Player of the Year finalist, Joe Flacco thinks one candidate stands out compared to the rest.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans / Tim Warner/GettyImages
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Following the tragic and terrifying event of Damar Hamlin suffering a cardiac arrest during the game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, 2023, the idea of him returning to NFL action was unfathomable. So, when he recovered fully and suited up during the preseason, the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Award became his to lose.

Then, Joe Flacco entered the picture.

Following Cleveland Browns presumed franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson requiring season-ending shoulder surgery on Nov. 15, the team turned to rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to fill the void. After two starts in Weeks 11 and 12, the Browns saw all they needed to see before deciding to call veteran Joe Flacco to step in as the starter.

At 39 years old, Flacco took over a ready-made roster with a 7-4 record in hopes of guiding them to the postseason in a competitive AFC. The Super Bowl XLVII MVP did just that, posting a 4-1 record in five starts, leading the NFL in passing yards per game (323.2) and ranking second in total passing yards (1,616).

After leading the Browns to an 11-6 finish and a trip to the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend, Flacco has been listed as a finalist for the Comeback Player of the Year alongside Hamlin, Baker Mayfield (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams), Tua and Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins), with many people vouching for him to win the award. 

However, Flacco himself disagreed during a recent appearance on CBS Sports Radio’s Zach Gelb Show:

Joe Flacco says Damar Hamlin deserves Comeback Player of the Year

“For sure,” Flacco said when asked if he thinks Hamlin should win Comeback Player of the Year.

“I’m just coming back from being old and not being on a team for a couple months,” Flacco said, putting an end to the ridiculous debate over an award that Hamlin all but locked up by making his miraculous comeback. 

While Hamlin has played five percent of the team’s defensive snaps, he’s contributed as a special teams player, logging 65 percent of Buffalo’s special teams snaps.

His improbable story of not only playing football again but also surviving after needing to have his heartbeat restored is more than enough to merit him receiving the honor of being the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year.

As the doctors at the UC Medical Center told Hamlin when Hamlin became alert enough to ask them if the Bills wound up winning the game following his cardiac arrest (the game got canceled): “You won the game of life.”

As of Jan. 23, Hamlin is the consensus favorite to win this year’s Comeback Player of the Year Award.

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