Today's question: Joe Flacco isn't the flashiest quarterback in the NFL, but he's come up big in the biggest games and is considered a "superstar" by Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh. However, some people still believe he's overrated and overpaid. We take a look at whether he belongs in the top 10 among NFL quarterbacks.
Jeremy Fowler, Pittsburgh Steelers: Yes, yes and yes. Make a case for six to eight quarterbacks better than Flacco and I will listen. But I'm not buying 10, particularly arguments involving fringe guys Tony Romo and Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford. The strength of Flacco’s argument lies with the playoffs. Four active starters have quarterbacked at least 15 playoff games: Flacco, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Flacco’s 88.6 QB rating in the playoffs is higher than Manning’s 88.5 and Roethlisberger’s 83.3. His 2.5 touchdown-to-interception ratio (25-to-10) is higher than all three by a wide margin, though Flacco’s 215 yards per game in the postseason is the lowest of the four. Oh, and Flacco is 10-5 in those games. He doesn’t always light up the regular season, but he spends that time figuring out what works in the playoffs. If I needed 10 quarterbacks to win 10 games, Flacco would make the list.
Coley Harvey, Cincinnati Bengals: Let’s see, you’ve got (in no particular order): Peyton Manning, Brady, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer and maybe Philip Rivers in the top-10 mix. Hmmm. Yeah, I’d say Flacco is part of that company, too. Maybe he’s in the lower portion of the top 10, but he’s up there. I mean, the guy has won a Super Bowl, after all. Since he was drafted in 2008, Flacco ranks exactly 10th in the league in passing yards with 25,531. Yes, Jay Cutler is right behind him at 11th, and Cutler hasn’t been on the types of teams Flacco has been. Which leads to the big rebuttal about Flacco’s top-10 status: that he has benefited from a great defense. True, having Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs helped. But weren’t the Ravens ranked 17th in total defense in the 2012 season when they won the Super Bowl? An elite quarterback was needed to help overcome those defensive woes and still win the Lombardi Trophy.
Pat McManamon, Cleveland Browns: Flacco was 16th in quarterback rating last season but eighth in Total QBR. That sums up his status as right near the top 10 but not quite there. The best way to answer is to go down the list. Brady, Peyton Manning, Luck and Rodgers are in a class of their own. Roethlisberger is close, and Romo has been outstanding. There’s the top six. The next four come from a large group that includes Brees, Rivers, Wilson, Ryan, Cam Newton and Flacco. I put Rivers, Wilson, Newton and Brees as the seven through 10. Which puts Flacco 11th, just out of the top 10.