Do not question Joe Flacco’s elite level. The 5th year quarterback just had one of the best post seasons in history. We are talking about Joe Montana and Tom Brady like numbers.
This marks the second straight season that the Super Bowl MVP had a training camp in which they proclaimed themselves as elite. The funniest thing is that Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have so many parallels, it is staggering.
Both players have that propensity to dazzle you as well as drive you nuts. They both can easily post 300 yard, 4 td games and conversely complete 45% of their passes with 4 picks the next. However, they save their inconsistencies for the regular season. I saw a stat last nigh on NFL Network that stated Joe Flacco had 30 games in his (regular season) career with a QB rating below 80. I was intrigued by this stat and did some further research. I went ahead and looked at Eli’s first 5 seasons and I counted 38 of them. So after that, I went with whom I would consider the best QB in the league and a guy who has won a title in the last 5 years in Aaron Rodgers. That would give me a good idea on what they compare to. For Rodgers in his first 5 seasons (as a starter), he had 10 games where he had a QB rating below 80. A pretty big gap to say the least. What this also tells us is that Eli and Flacco are eerily similar and they also can be average regular season QBs. What they lack in regular season consistency, they make up as being clutch performers in the playoffs. Eli being 8-3 in 11 career playoff games with 2 rings and whereas Flacco is 9-4 and just had a playoff to remember playing in 4 games averaging a QB rating of at least 106 in all 4. Add to that, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. From their stats in the playoffs, to the way they perform in the clutch, to their quiet laid-back and boring demeanors, Eli and Flacco show us how you can be elite, despite being daftly inconsistent in the regular season while and also not having the best numbers in the league. Lets stop looking at the stats of QBs who throw way too much and assuming that they are elite simply because they have pretty stats. Time to put more credence on clutch play, making big throws and winning when it counts in the playoffs. Eli and Flacco both do it and like it or not, they are both elite.
The best argument to make with regards to Joe is looking at who the other elite QB’s are. After the big four in Rodgers, Manning, Brees and Brady, you have many candidates who have good stats, but simply do not win in the clutch or waver under pressure (we are looking at you, Tony, Philip and Matt Schaub). Elite QB’s are the ones you have no problem given them the ball in a big game because you know they can get it done. Guys like Eli and Joe and even Big Ben are in that same class as the big four and have proven to be more than capable in the clutch.