Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 1/29/13
Quarterback wins don't exist. Team wins do. Quarterbacks wins don't.  I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here but the equine just won't die no matter how hard those of us with a proper knowledge of the game of football smack away. Poor guy. The point is that I don't care how many playoff games the Baltimore Ravens have won with Joe Flacco at quarterback. I'm sick and tired of people turning football into boxing. This isn't an individual sport. It's a sport involving 53 men per team, with 22 starters and 11 on the field at all times. The quarterback is one of them. He's the most important one. But broadly attaching a quarterback's success to the success of his team (while rarely if ever doing so with the other 52 players on each team) is lazy and disrespectful to the game of football.  Flacco's Baltimore Ravens might win Sunday's Super Bowl. And if that happens, the Ravens will have won as many playoff games with Flacco as the Bill did with Jim Kelly, as many as the Colts did with Peyton Manning and more than the Dolphins did with Dan Marino.  But that will not mean Flacco is in Manning's or Marino's range. Not even close.  Yes, all that matters is winning and losing, but that doesn't mean wins and losses are the only metric we can use in order to determine how successful or how talented an individual athlete is or has been. If that were the case, than the 53rd best man on the Ravens would have to be better than the best man on, say, the Lions. We live in a world dominated by false equivalencies, where people want black and white with no gray. In that world, it's easiest to conclude that Flacco is better than, say, Matt Ryan because he's won more playoff games and might have a Super Bowl ring in a few days.  But in the real world, those who properly utilize their frontal lobes know that there's so much more to it. Is your defense good? That means you require fewer points to win. What about your running game? How often do your receivers drop passes? How good is your offensive line in pass protection? What types of plays are being called? Good coach? Bad coach? All of it factors in, which is why it's best to use all available metrics in order to draw conclusions on quarterbacks, or players at any other position in any other team sport, for that matter. I hate to bury the newsworthy lede, but it's with that diatribe out of the way that I want to pass on the latest from Flacco's "camp," which I'm guessing is led by agent Joe Linta, who less than a year ago claimed Flacco was a top-five quarterback because he had "more wins than any other quarterback" during his first four years in the league.  Now, ESPN's John Clayton says Flacco's "camp" is looking for $20 million a year, while NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that said "camp" believes Flacco is "playing better than Peyton Manning," who just so happens to make just under $20 million a year. Of course, every single metric except playoff wins and losses (and not even Super Bowls, yet) reveals that Manning and Flacco aren't even in the same football universe. Since the day he came into the league, Flacco has been the 15th-highest-rated quarterback in football, just ahead of Donovan McNabb, David Garrard, Jason Campbell, Shaun Hill and Kyle Orton. He ranks ninth in touchdowns, ninth in (most) interceptions and 17th in yards per attempt. That includes all of his playoff performances. This past year, he ranked 12th in passer rating, 15th in touchdowns and 14th in yards per attempt. He's an average to above-average quarterback playing on a well-above-average team with a legendary defense and superb running game. He's bad under pressure and inaccurate on deep throws, but he survives. That's been the case since he came into the NFL. He's good enough to help the team more than hurt it on the majority of occasions, and that's it.  The Ravens surely know that, and that's why these contract negotiations have lingered for such a long period of time. The numbers and the eyeball test both reveal that Flacco and Linta and the rest of his "camp" are delusional. 

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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