Putting up with the Flac-co
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
So Joe Flacco finally got his hands on the Super Bowl and immortalized himself in the minds of Baltimore Ravens fans. He’s definitely an “elite” quarterback now; MVP of the big game, it can’t possibly get any better, right?
Hold your horses.
Getting a Super Bowl win under your belt is all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t automatically make a QB elite. And if you think it does, I’d like to mention the names of Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, and, though I’m sure there’s more debate on these two, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. A ring doesn’t instantly make anyone a great spouse, so why should it be that way for football?
Flacco, if nothing else, has been consistent throughout his career. His stats this year are roughly the average of what he’s done for the last four: 3,817 yards passing, 22 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 59.7 completion percentage. Good stats, yes, but great? Elite? Definitely not. For added measure, the pivots closest to him (passing yards, and touchdown to interception ratio being the key factors) are Sam Bradford (3,702 yards passing, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions), Matt Schaub (4,008 yards passing, 22 touchdowns, 12 interceptions), and Carson Palmer (4,018 yard passing, 22 touchdowns, 14 interceptions). Schaub’s completion percentage (64.3), however, is almost 4 per cent higher than Flacco’s so he will be dismissed. Now, much as I love my Rams, Bradford is far from an elite quarterback. He may get there one day, but he sure hasn’t gotten there yet. Palmer, on the other hand, is a washed up has-been. His Pro Bowl days in Cincy are long gone, and I’m sure Raiders fans grimace every time they think about the king’s ransom they paid to get him. With a young, struggling signal caller and an old man past his prime as company, do you really think Flacco deserves to be counted among the top dogs?
Supporters of Flacco will be quick to bring up the fact that the game isn’t played on paper and stats don’t tell the whole story. I completely agree. If one were to judge how good Flacco is based purely on how he played in the playoffs, I would say he’s definitely one of the best in the league. He got hot at the right time. But the best are the best for a reason; they show up for every single game. Flacco, however, has a tendency to disappear at times. Taking the season finale out of the equation, he lost three of his last four games. The Ravens went from being a sure-fire first round bye to a wildcard spot. One could argue that Flacco didn’t play badly in those games/he didn’t lose the games, but the flipside of that is that he sure didn’t win them. The top pivots will find a way to win, or at least keep their team in the game. Drew Brees was playing out of his skin when the Saints got off to a rough start this year. His defense was non-existent, but Brees made sure his opponents looked just as bad.
Flacco, this year’s run aside, has never truly looked like a QB who can just take over a game. He doesn’t have that poise, that confidence, that winning aura that the Tom Bradys and Aaron Rodgers give off. Flacco is nothing more than a glorified game manager. He’s good not great. Until Flacco learns how to take that next step, he’ll just be another average Joe.