Watch LIVE

Whitlock: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is the fearless hero football needs

Op-ed
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson is unvaxxed and unashamed, and last night he was unbelievably good. He was better than Patrick Mahomes, and now the Ravens might have to give Jackson more money than the Kansas City quarterback.

Jackson secured the signature victory of his career last night. He overcame an 11-point deficit, a depleted roster, two first-quarter interceptions, and his archnemesis, Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Baltimore's 36-35 victory on Sunday Night Football is the most impressive result of Jackson's four-year career. It's more impressive than his 2019 MVP season. More impressive than his January playoff victory over the Tennessee Titans.

The knock on Jackson is that he can't play from behind. You put him in a hole and he can't dig himself out the way Mahomes can, Tom Brady can, Aaron Rodgers can. In the NFL, Jackson had never overcome a double-digit deficit. He's allegedly not a good enough passer.

Well, last night, with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calling the action, Jackson debunked the myths about his shortcomings. He rallied from a poor start, leading two fourth-quarter touchdown drives and finishing with 239 passing yards and 107 on the ground. He snapped a three-game losing streak against the Chiefs.

I was an original Lamar Jackson skeptic. When he came out of Louisville, I agreed with the scouts who thought he should consider playing wide receiver. I didn't like the fact that his mother worked as his agent.

Here's what I underestimated about Lamar: the importance of football in his life. I also underestimated the force and strength of his personality. Lamar is fearless. His fearless attitude is infectious. It makes him a natural leader. Men like to follow Lamar. The courage of his conviction inspires men to do more.

Last night the Ravens beat Kansas City, arguably the best team in football, without their best offensive lineman, their two best running backs, or their rookie wide receiver. Missing critical pieces of their offense, the Ravens outscored Mahomes and Andy Reid, the Joe Montana and Bill Walsh of the modern era.

The Ravens opened the night paying a tribute to deceased actor Michael K. Williams and his iconic character Omar Little from "The Wire." They played Omar whistling "The Farmer in the Dell." The stadium went nuts.

Omar Little was the baddest man in Baltimore. Omar shared that title with linebacker Ray Lewis. Lamar Jackson now wears the crown.

Lamar coming! He's coming for a half-billion contract. Right now, Mahomes' 10-year, $450 million deal is the most lucrative in NFL history. Jackson is still on his rookie contract. Baltimore is likely trying to reach a new agreement with Jackson sometime between right now and the start of next season.

He's going to get more money than Mahomes. Baltimore has no choice. Its entire team is built in Lamar's image. The coaching staff and the personnel are all constructed to fit the most unique quarterback in the league. Baltimore is all in on Lamar. The Ravens will have to go all in on a contract.

Is Lamar's fearless style of play sustainable? That's irrelevant now. His fearless style is what makes Baltimore successful. That fearlessness includes his vaccination status.

The new knock on Lamar is that he's unvaxxed. The vaccination army believes Lamar is being irresponsible by not getting the vax and refusing to talk about his vax status. I love Lamar's defiance. He's 24 years old. He's had COVID. The virus can't harm Jackson. He's doing what makes sense for Lamar Jackson and most of the young men in the NFL.

It would be an absolute disaster for the NFL, the Ravens, and the players' union if the Ravens had to forfeit games because Lamar Jackson stood against the league's stupid COVID protocols.

Would the blue-check Twitter army vilify Lamar Jackson? Would they call him a coon and an Uncle Tom because he chose his body and his choice? Would MSNBC host Joy Reid, aka Racial Maddow, attack Jackson the way she's attacked Nicki Minaj?

Lamar Jackson is my new favorite player. I want him to lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl while refusing to participate in the vaccination game the government and the NFL are foisting on the American people.

Lamar coming, y'all!
Most recent
All Articles