How Joe Flacco Has Already Proven His Critics Wrong

Mike Fast@@michaelfast1Contributor IAugust 6, 2013

May 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is interviewed after organized team activities at the Under Armour Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Silly me. I thought winning a Super Bowl and the Super Bowl MVP award would earn you instant respect throughout the football world.

Apparently not for Joe Flacco.

I've heard too many times he hasn't thrown for 4,000 yards and he hasn't made the Pro Bowl.

So, if Flacco would throw for 4,000 yards this year and make the Pro Bowl he would be elite in your eyes? Give me a break.

Here are the quarterbacks that threw for 4,000 yards and/or made the Pro Bowl last season:

 Passing Yards in 2012Pro Bowl Selection?Win/Loss RecordPlayoff Record (if applicable)
Drew Brees5,177Yes7-9N/A
Matthew Stafford4,967No4-12N/A
Tony Romo4,903No8-8 N/A
Tom Brady4,827Yes12-4 1-1
Matt Ryan4,719Yes13-3 1-1
Peyton Manning4,659Yes (starter)13-3 0-1
Andrew Luck4,374Yes11-5 0-1
Aaron Rodgers4,295Yes11-5 1-1
Josh Freeman4,065No7-9N/A
Carson Palmer4,018No4-11N/A
Matt Schaub4,008Yes12-4N/A

When looking at the top three passers in this group, one of them made the Pro Bowl and none of them made the playoffs.

Last year, in seven games versus the quarterbacks on this list, Flacco went 5-2. Flacco also had more playoff wins last year (4) than all of the quarterbacks on this list combined (3).

In 2012, Flacco threw for a career-high 3,817 passing yards, good for 14th in the league. Sure that's not spectacular, but did it ever dawn on you that this guy named Ray Rice needs to touch the ball too?

Of all the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, how many of them have a running back the quality of Rice? Only Schaub does in Arian Foster.

In terms of total yardage gained last season, Foster and Schaub combined for 5,640 yards while Rice and Flacco combined for 5,460 yards. This is not to say Flacco is on par with Schaub, because Flacco has thoroughly proven he's better than Schaub.

This is to say that when you have a back like Rice or Foster who, besides their rookie year, routinely gains an average of over 1,800 scrimmage yards, you cannot have the passing stats that other quarterbacks do. It's simple math.

In no way am I saying Flacco is the best quarterback in the game right now. I am saying I believe he's the fourth-best quarterback, behind Rodgers, Brady and Brees. ESPN's Ron Jaworski recently ranked Flacco in the same spot.

Pro Football Hall of Fame nominations and inductions aren't unanimous, and neither are quarterback rankings. But you can agree that someone belongs in a select group. You can clearly see (if you choose to be objective) that a particular player has done enough to be in the conversation.

Flacco deserves to be in the conversation when talking about the best quarterback in football. His regular season stats aren't as good as Brees', but Flacco's stats are consistently getting better if not staying the same. The man also averages just 11 interceptions per seasonthat's pretty good.

If you still don't think Flacco has command of the Ravens offense, check this out. In the biggest situation in the biggest game he's ever played, Flacco picked the perfect play of the possible three plays he could've ran and delivered a strike to Anquan Boldin for the first down.

In all seriousness, what more do you want from him?


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