What gives quarterback Joe Flacco his powerful, beautiful throwing ability? For starters, in college he won the distance throwing competition in ESPN’s State Farm College Football All-Star Challenge with a 74-yard toss. This pass October, he was tied in the NFL for number of deep passes thrown 20 yards or more.
During the game in January when the Ravens played the Denver Broncos, Flacco threw a 70 yard pass through the bitter-cold Denver air. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones caught that pass; 20 yards from the end zone and 55 yards from where Flacco released it. “That ball dropped out of the sky,” said ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, who played quarterback in the NFL for 15 years. That football literally floated through the air, like a powerful eagle. It was a pretty sight to see. Denver fans were shocked! I was amazed!
The forward football toss has been called “the most complex motor skill in all of sports.” Every part of the body gets used in one chain of events. You can see that Flacco has above-average arm strength just by the way he throws the football while focusing on just his arm. When you look at him, he is does not have big muscles. Some might consider him a little on the thin side. Arm strength works by the entire body working in sync.
At 6’6″, he has a disadvantage when launching that football but his refined technique has allowed him to have success despite being the NFL’s tallest starting quarterback.
Flacco can float that pigskin to the moon but sometimes it costs as far as accuracy. He has attempted more deep passes than almost anyone else, but as of this past October, his accuracy for those passes ranked 20th in the NFL, which is not good. Practice makes perfect, Mr. Flacco!
Flacco’s ability to throw the ball fast and far is more than just arm strength. A football player’s throwing power originates from the ground. That means that all muscles are used; from the toes to the fingertips, like swimming. If anything is off, the throw can be off. For example, Flacco’s former quarterback coach, offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell worked with him to improve his knee flexion last season. Bending his knees more benefited Flacco, particularly in the playoffs.
According to John Brenkus, the host of ESPN’s “Sport Science,” Flacco’s release time takes roughly .37 of a second, which is about .03 of a second faster than the NFL average. And when the ball leaves his hand, it can travel 18 yards in about two-thirds of a second. He has been clocked throwing a football at more than 60mph. Wow!!!
The throw also reinforced what many players, coaches and analysts have been saying since 2008: Flacco has one of the most powerful arms in the NFL.