The ‘most exciting quarterback in the NFL’: Why Lamar Jackson is in a class by himself

Receiving accolades from fellow members of any sporting alumni always carries a special weight, especially when it comes from one of the all-time greats.

In a recent social media post, NBA sensation LeBron James took a moment to laud Lamar Jackson for his exceptional Week 17 performance, where he effortlessly delivered five touchdowns, further solidifying his claim to the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award this season. This public recognition from a basketball icon added a distinct touch to the narrative of the 27-year-old quarterback.

Jackson’s prowess in passing, coupled with his unmatched elusiveness and speed, conjures up reminiscences of Michael Vick’s groundbreaking entry into the league. What he has achieved has reshaped the dynamics of the game, nearly singlehandedly influencing a shift in the approach to quarterback play – with a noticeable surge in the number of running quarterbacks making the transition from college to the NFL.

When Jackson initially entered the NFL, doubts loomed over his future as a quarterback. However, he swiftly silenced the skeptics, clinching the MVP title in only his second season and leaving an indelible mark by setting numerous records.

Though he faced fluctuating fortunes in subsequent years due to injuries and offensive challenges, this season has seen Jackson make a triumphant return to top form. Leading the Baltimore Ravens to clinch the coveted No. 1 seed and securing a playoff berth, he is now poised to potentially clinch his second MVP award.

In essence, Lamar Jackson’s journey from a quarterback under scrutiny to a celebrated MVP contender is not only a testament to his resilience but also a testament to his transformative impact on the game. As he continues to redefine the quarterback archetype, Jackson’s story stands as a beacon of inspiration in the ever-evolving landscape of the NFL.

“I’m strictly a quarterback” – this assertion by Lamar Jackson encapsulates not only his personal stance but also serves as a fascinating entry point into his journey in the NFL. Whether it’s the media restrictions imposed by his mother during his college days or his distinct playing style, Jackson’s narrative has captivated the attention of both NFL enthusiasts and coaches alike.

From the early days at Boynton Beach High School in Florida, where clips of a youthful Jackson effortlessly juking past defenders circulated widely, to his present status as a seasoned quarterback in the NFL, his trajectory has been nothing short of extraordinary. The combination of his innate athletic prowess and a unique playing style catapulted him into the realm of viral internet sports stardom.

What sets Jackson apart is not just his proficiency as a quarterback but also the intrigue surrounding the circumstances that shaped him. His mother’s media restriction during his college years hints at a deliberate effort to shield and focus him on his quarterback journey. This narrative element adds layers to his story, making it more than just a tale of on-field accomplishments.

In essence, Lamar Jackson’s declaration, “I’m strictly a quarterback,” serves as a touchstone for exploring the distinctive factors that have contributed to his allure. From viral high school highlights to his evolution into an established NFL quarterback, Jackson’s journey is a testament to the blend of natural talent, unique playing style, and the formative influences that have shaped his football narrative.

“I wanna stick with the Ravens.” Lamar Jackson threw in a trade request back in March when the Ravens slapped the non-exclusive franchise tag on him, not managing to hammer out a long-term contract over the past two years.

The rumor grapevine was buzzing with talks of other teams sniffing around for Jackson, and the quarterback didn’t hold back in expressing his annoyance about the whole situation.

But, after months of speculation, Jackson signed a fat five-year, $260 million deal to stay put in Maryland. That contract averages out to a whopping $52 million per year, making it the biggest paycheck in NFL history at that time.

“To be real with you, I didn’t really care about other teams much,” Jackson spilled the beans during his signing shindig with the reporters. “I just really wanted to lock something in here.

“I was like, ‘Look, other teams are cool, but I wanna be a Raven.’ … I genuinely wanted to sort this out before anything else, before I pack my bags and head somewhere else.”

Armed with a spruced-up wide receiver crew and a fresh offensive coordinator dialing up the plays, Jackson has been throwing down standout performances left and right. That helped the Ravens snag the top spot in the AFC and claim the best record in the entire NFL.

Whether it’s the Week 16 takeover against the high-flying San Francisco 49ers or the jaw-dropping five-touchdown show against the Miami Dolphins a week later, Jackson has taken the quarterback game to a whole new level.

His chances of grabbing the MVP title have shot up, with those back-to-back stellar performances likely sealing the deal for his second award.

NFL wordsmith Nick Shook tags Jackson as the “most annoying player to try to stop and the most thrilling quarterback in the NFL” in his weekly quarterback rankings. He crowned the Baltimore star as numero uno in the league by the end of the 2023 season. Now, Jackson’s got one last hurdle to jump: the playoffs.

“I’m carrying that chip on my shoulder,” Jackson spilled the beans on the “Let’s Go!” podcast with Tom Brady and Jim Gray, pointing to his 1-3 record in his six years in the NFL playoffs. “I haven’t hit my goals yet, so that’s why I’m still carrying that chip. I’m hungry for that Super Bowl. That’s the prize I’m craving so bad.”

And now, with a second NFL MVP almost certainly locked in, don’t put your money against Jackson hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy come February 11.

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