NEW ORLEANS — With only an hour and a half of sleep, Joe Flacco was still sharp enough the morning following his brilliant performance in Super Bowl XLVII to realize that the Ravens' victory over the 49ers Sunday night changed his life dramatically.
It started almost immediately after the 34-31 win when Flacco was named Super Bowl most valuable player. It culminated later that night when he met Beyonce and Jay-Z at a postgame party.
"I don't think that would happen if we would have lost the game," Flacco said of meeting the first couple of hip-hop.
A few hours later, the enormity of his accomplishment hit the 28-year-old quarterback who had taken an underdog's path to NFL stardom through the University of Delaware.
"Just laying in bed, I was exhausted and couldn't wait to put my head down on that pillow. And for some reason, when I was laying there I couldn't quite fall asleep and just kind of had my eyes open in disbelief a little bit," Flacco said Monday.
He visited with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and was paraded through Disney World, and later Monday appeared with David Letterman as a guest on The Late Show. The whirlwind will last for months and include a new baby — he announced that his wife, Dana, was expecting their second child — and likely a new contract.
"He's a guy that no matter what happens, no matter what criticism he felt in front of him, no matter what disappointments he might have, he steps up and he bounces back, and he comes back and goes to work," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I think he'll be the same with this success."
Flacco ended contract extension talks before the season and stands to earn millions of dollars more because of the gamble. His five-year deal expires in March. The Ravens could place their franchise tag on Flacco, but his Super Bowl victory all but guarantees that his team will give him a new deal in line with other elite quarterbacks.
"I'm pretty optimistic, but who knows?" Flacco said. "There's all kinds of crazy things that can happen with these contracts that we've all seen before. But this is a great organization. I love being (in Baltimore) … so I don't really anticipate any problems."
Flacco became only the second quarterback to throw as many as 11 touchdowns in one postseason without tossing an interception, joining Joe Montana. Told of the select company he was in, Flacco was elated, he said, because Montana was his favorite quarterback growing up.
The Ravens led 28-6 early in the second half Sunday, but after a 34-minute delay because of a power failure the 49ers scored 17 straight points and eventually trimmed Baltimore's lead to two.
But Flacco was unflappable.
"Joe impressed me as a guy that was really was determined to be good and had a lot to prove," Harbaugh said. "I just felt like he was a guy that was going to do whatever it took to be the best he could be, and that's proved to be true."
Flacco now will have to deal with being famous on another level.
"If you say there's going to be some kind of celebrity with it, I'm cool with that. But I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable with it," Flacco said. "I kind of like to go about my business. The people in Baltimore have always been great, so it'll be cool to go back there and just kind of see their reaction that our whole team gets when we get back there."