You know those absurd rumors you hear sometimes from friends of friends? Once, in about 2007 — give or take before he was in the NFL — I heard that a girlfriend of mine once had sex with Joe Flacco. It was conceivable that it was true, because she went to the University of Delaware, where he went. The funny thing is, at the time — when my friends and I heard that? All of us were like, “Eh, that’s a good, funny rumor, but that guy isn’t going to become anything!” We dismissed it.
But about seven years later, you can make a case that he’s maybe the best QB in the NFL. For real.
On face, this seems absurd. Here are the names we’re used to seeing in that discussion:
- Roethlisberger (2 rings)
- Manning, Eli (ditto)
You’d probably get into the next tier and hit Flacco, although it might even be a few down — Russell Wilson has a ring now, for example, and someone might even toss a Romo or Stafford or Alex Smith into the discourse. (Philip Rivers?)
Here’s a case for Flacco, give or take:
- He has one Super Bowl ring: This would seem a prerequisite to the discussion. Most people view that ring as “The Ray Lewis Retirement Tour,” but Flacco was the QB for all the wins.
- He’s won seven (7) road playoff games: Since the AFL-NFL merger, that’s the most by a QB. Winning in a major setting — i.e. a playoff game — on the road is a big deal. Many people can’t do that. For flip side, consider this: Aaron Rodgers, who always makes that top-4 list, has lost major playoff games at home a few times — Divisional Round to the Giants a few years ago, and last year to the 49ers in the wild-card round.
- He’s third among active QBs, and ninth all-time, in playoff wins: Here’s that data. He’s only been playing about six years.
- His playoff TD-INT ratio since 2012 (the SB run) is 12-0: Manning’s in the same span is 8-5. Brady’s is 5-2.
- He’s only missed the playoffs once in six pro seasons: That’s a testament to John Harbaugh too, yes.
- The NFL is a team sport: It’s much easier to evaluate individual greatness at something like tennis. The NFL is a complicated team environment. Flacco’s losses, where they’ve happened, haven’t necessarily all been on him. That’s true for a lot of QBs.
- … but playoffs mean more than the regular season: The purpose of the regular season is, quite simply, to get into the playoffs. Everything else is sheer vanity. People consistently knock Flacco because his regular-season numbers aren’t video-game esque; he’s not a 4K yards and 36 TD guy. But look at everything else above. The goal is to win in January.
- Look at this here:
- And now remember this here:
- The last time Brady (the best postseason QB ever?) and Flacco went head-to-head…
A second ring would no doubt help, and it’ll be hard to get that — two more road games for sure before the Super Bowl. But after everything above, would you 100 percent bet against Flacco?