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What USA TODAY is hearing in New Orleans (Joe Flacco edition)

8:39 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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NEW ORLEANS (USA TODAY) - A flock of Flaccos will be descending on this place soon.

Steve Flacco, the father of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, said the family had organized about 50 friends and relatives to make the trip to The Big Easy. The South Jersey-based Flaccos have 15 tickets, though, and between parents, siblings, in-laws and grandparents, 14 are taken. The rest of the crew will watch the game from a nearby bar and grill.

Organizing this trip is enough for Steve Flacco to call this season a success. Win or lose Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers, the Flaccos will go home happy.

"We're going to try to treat this one a little bit like gravy," Steve Flacco said, referring to his son's first win in three conference championship games. "Just getting to this thing was the biggest thing. Getting over the hump of winning that AFC championship was just huge. Obviously, every week it's like, 'It's just so nice to win this game,' but when the next week comes around you want to win that one, too.

"And look, all the players feel that way. But from our standpoint, we'll be disappointed if they don't win, but it was nice to get to this point."

It's nice because it's a validation for a quarterback who has taken a lot of Flacc, er, flak. He proclaimed himself elite last spring, and, like Eli Manning one year earlier, he has backed it up. Flacco has a lot of passionate relatives who feel vindicated after years of defending him. And they're going to proclaim as much in the French Quarter this week.

"We just don't love a lot of the media coverage is what it is," Steve Flacco said. "(Joe's brother) Mike and some of my other relatives really feel Joe gets beat up. It's almost like an us vs. the world mentality. They feel that way more than Joe. Joe doesn't worry about it. He's out there fighting the battles instead of sitting around at home. But it gets a little hot sometimes."

Mike Garafolo, USA TODAY Sports

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