Entering Super Bowl weekend there was a ton of speculation about Joe Flacco. If he wins the Super Bowl will he be considered elite? My answer is simple, absolutely not! In my eyes there are only 4 elite quarterbacks in the NFL, they are Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Some consider Eli Manning elite, but as I see it he is a great quarterback, especially in the clutch, but is not at that elite level. So why is it that everyone is calling Flacco elite? He had a great postseason this year, but honestly his regular season was mediocre at best.
Joe Flacco’s 2012 season had positives and negatives. He had a career high in passing yards (3,817) and a career best 1.9% interception but also had the second lowest passing percentage of his career (59.7%) and just an 87.7 rating. To put things in perspective, the 2012 rookie class consisted of 5 quarterbacks, in those same 4 statistics Andrew Luck had 4,374 passing yards, 2.9% interceptions, 54.1% completion and 76.5 rating. Robert Griffin III had 3,200 yards passing, 1.3% interceptions, 65.6% completion and a 102.4 rating. Russell Wilson rounds out the top 3 of the quarterbacking rookie class with 3,118 yards passing, 2.5% interceptions, 64.1% completion, and a 100.0 rating. These are 3 rookies that had seasons that were close to (and even better than) Flacco’s 2012 campaign.
Of the 4 mentioned elite quarterbacks, Flacco was at a minimum 500 yards behind the lowest in passing yardage (Rodgers’ 4,295 yards to Flacco’s 3,817). Drew Brees had an off year and the lowest rating of the elite’s at 96.7 and that is still 9 points above Flacco’s. Interception wise Flacco was tied with Manning at 1.9% and Brees was at a 2.8%. Completion percentage wise, which I believe is a big time factor in quarterbacking numbers, Brees and Brady were the lowest at 63% and still had Flacco beat pretty handly. Flacco ranked 14th in passing yardage, 12th in rating (depending on if you count Smith and/or Kapernick in the ranking which I did not) and 19th in passing percentage (once again lower if you include Smith and/or Kapernick). Those are not elite numbers. Flacco didn’t finish top 10 in any major category. He was top 10 in interceptions thrown (10), but that also depends on if you include Smith, Kapernick and Hassleback, which I did not. So how does this put Joe Flacco in an elite class?
Flacco had one of the best postseason performances in history. He had 1,140 yards passing, 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions a 117.2 rating but still only a 57.9% completion. Flacco’s wide receivers helped him out with bad throws in many cases, Torrey Smith and Anquin Boldin each had a catch saving Flacco in the Super Bowl, but that 57.9% still sticks out. Flacco is a free agent, from what I have read it sounds like his agent wants “elite quarterback” money. I would never pay him anywhere near a contract that Rodgers, Brady, Brees or Manning gets.
Flacco is a solid quarterback, might even now be close to a top 10 quarterback, but let’s not forget Trent Dilfer also won a Super Bowl in Baltimore. While the last 8 years, before Super Bowl 47, big named quarterbacks were the winners (both Manning’s, Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Roethlisberger) but it doesn’t just make you elite to win a quarterback. Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Kurt Warner (was elite but too small a sample size in my opinion), have all won super bowls. Those three quarterbacks, plus Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger show you that good-great quarterbacks also win. Roethlisberger got a hefty contract after winning two Super Bowls. Eli Manning has had top notch seasons since winning his first Super Bowl. Joe Flacco has had one great post season and zero great regular seasons. The word elite is thrown out there too often these days. Players have one good run and are considered elite or legendary. Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Brett Favre, those are elite quarterbacks. They did it year after year and even in their down years were still feared. Until Joe Flacco can prove himself for all 16 games and a playoff run for several years running, I don’t believe you can ever consider him more than a good to great quarterback in the NFL.
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